Friday, April 10, 2009

Colorado Rockies Beat Up Cole Hamels

A fan in left field held up a sign at the beginning of the game that said "Matt Wholliday, Welcome Spilly."

While most fans have not forgotten so quickly about their traded All-Star slugger Matt Holliday, today gave them a few reasons why they may just not miss him as much as they thought.

Most thought that in order for the Rockies to have a fighting chance to win their home opener it would come in a pitcher's duel. After all, the Rockies were facing NLCS and World Series M.V.P. Cole Hamels.

Hamels dealt with elbow issues all spring which required him to delay his 2009 debut until today.

The Rockies offense did not give Hamels the welcome that he was hoping for.

Hamels lasted only 3-2/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs on 11 hits while walking one and striking out one.

Hamels wiggled out of trouble in the first inning, when Dexter Fowler, who had singled and stolen second, ran into an out at third base on Ryan Spilborghs ground ball to Jimmy Rollins. Immediately following the mistake, Spilborghs was caught going on the first move by the lefty.

The lefty could not get out of trouble in the third inning, however, when Garrett Atkins, who entered the game with a .000 batting average and looked like his timing was off in Arizona, launched a 403 foot, 3-run home run to left field.

The route was on.

Every member of the Rockies lineup, minus Chris Iannetta, got in on the action. Even pitcher Jason Marquis recorded two hits, knocking in a run.

Spilborghs had two doubles in the gap, and Todd Helton advanced runners seemingly all day, driving in three runs.

Not to be lost in all of the offense was the performance by Marquis on the mound.

Despite Marquis' track record, he has won at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons, critics were saying that he was washed up and another example of a scrap heap pitcher that the Rockies were attempting to recycle.
Marquis had a terrible spring, but made it clear that he was tinkering with his mechanics, trying to perfect his delivery. Today he looked like a refined veteran pitcher who was worthy of his Opening Day start.

Early on, Marquis looked like he might struggle. He gave up a hit and a walk in the first inning. He was struggling to find the strike zone and the Phillies seemed to be ready to show him the showers early. Marquis got out of the first inning by inducing a ground ball double play ball from Ryan Howard.

Marquis was in trouble again in the second inning, but wiggled out again, giving up only one run and getting a double play ground ball.

In all, Marquis gave up two earned runs on five hits in seven innings. It was a performance that will no doubt inject confidence into the Rockies clubhouse, the front office and the fan base.

Everyone knew that the offense could hit, but the back end of the rotation has been what all of the experts and fans alike suspected of being the team's achilles heal.

After performances like the last two games, by Franklin Morales and Marquis respectively, the Rockies may turn some heads in the National League West.

Tomorrow the Rockies hope that Jorge De La Rosa can continue the trend and prove that he has overcome his composure issues and can be a consistent Major League starter. He will face Brett Myers, who was knocked around on Sunday night in Philadelphia by the Braves his last time out.

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