ARLINGTON, Texas — There was plenty to keep track of in the late innings of the 6-4 win by the Colorado Rockies over the Texas Rangers on Monday afternoon/evening. The ebbs and flows of a game that really picked up speed late in the contest, however, threw relief pitcher Ashton Goudeau into the spotlight in a completely new role.
Charged with earning his first-ever career save, the 29-year-old Goudeau did just that, striking out Corey Seager for the first out and then ending the game with a review-assisted double play as the Colorado Rockies grabbed their first road win of the season in their first road outing.
After Goudeau walked the next batter, Mitch Garver, Adolis Garcia hit a grounder to third. Ryan McMahon threw to Brendan Rodgers at second to get Garver, but the throw to first was off target, allowing Garcia to, at first appearance, be safe. However, after a challenge by the Rockies, Garver was tagged with slide interference, causing Garcia to be out at first.
You can read the ruling on the game-ending play here.
“I wasn’t really expecting to be put in that situation, but I was able to get ready,” Goudeau said. “It was really me or (Jhoulys) Chacín that was left (Colorado had already used five other relievers) so I started moving around just in case it was me. They called down and said it was going to be me and it kind of caught me off guard. I had just gotten up to start warming up just in case and the call came.”
Colorado scored in each of the final four innings, including a C.J. Cron home run in the ninth inning to temporarily give the Rockies the lead and a blast off the bat of Connor Joe in the 10th that would help pad Colorado’s final margin of victory.
So that’s a lot going on late in the game, right?
But let’s not overlook what Ashton Goudeau did with his 17 pitches in the bottom of the 10th for the Colorado Rockies, especially having never pitched in a save situation.
“I knew I had to lock in with the runner at second,” Goudeau explained after the game. “You have to be mentally ready in that situation right out of the gate.”
It was not only the first time in his MLB career that Goudeau had been in a save situation, but also the first time he had pitched with the “ghost runner” rule in place, automatically putting a runner at second in the extra innings.
“I just try to look at it as pitching,” Goudeau shrugged. “When they give you the ball, it’s your job to get outs and I try to keep that mentality, no matter what role I’m in.”
Manager Bud Black said after the game that, no matter the situation in the game, there is a level of trust with putting Goudeau on the mound.
“He’s throwing strikes. He has a sneaky fastball with that big overhand curve and a great feel for the change,” Black said of his right-hander. “To his credit, he’s pitched well enough to earn a place on this pitching staff. He’s a guy that we trust, and he’s proven it. He’s determining his own fate through performance. It’s great to see a guy get an opportunity and take advantage of it by performing. He’s doing great.”
Goudeau has now pitched 3.1 innings this season for the Rockies, striking out three and allowing just one hit. It’s certainly a small sample size, but it’s an early positive sign for a team that was looking for anything positive on the road last season.