Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rockies Bullpen Can't Hold Early Lead, Spoil Good Outing By Aaron Cook

The Colorado Rockies came into the season touting the back end of their bullpen as one of the best in the league. With two closers who have had success in the Major Leagues to pitch the eight and ninth innings in Manny Corpas and Huston Street respectively, the Rockies look to be a team feared in the late innings.

That was not the case today however, as both of them were roughed up in a 7-5 loss at the hands of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

After Aaron Cook rebounded from his bad opening day start to pitch six innings, scattering seven hits and three runs, it was the bullpen's job to bring the game home. Cook left staked to a 5-3 lead.

Jason Grilli and Alan Embree worked the seventh inning perfectly, but Corpas could not hold the lead in the eighth. Corpas gave up a sharply hit single up the middle to Shane Victorino, then left a slider over the middle half of the plate to Chase Utley. Utley hit the ball just hard enough to clear the out of town scoreboard in right field at Coors Field.

With the game tied at five, Street came on in the ninth inning to give the Rockies a shot at winning it in the bottom half without having to face Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, who entering the game had saved 49 straight games including the postseason.

Street immediately gave up a double to Rockie killer Pedro Feliz, then Chris Coste laid down a beautiful bunt to advance Feliz to third.

Phillies manager Charlie Manual then pinch hit Matt Stairs in the pitchers spot. Street tried to get a slider down and in on Stairs, but the pitch never got in. Stairs crushed the ball to deep right-center field for a two run home run.

Lidge came in in the 9th and after the Rockies got as close as anyone to breaking Lidge's streak, they failed when Troy Tulowitzki rolled over a pitch and grounded to second base for the final out of the game.

The offense however, did it's fair share of damage. The Rockies came out quickly and scored four runs in the bottom half of the first inning. The highlight was Brad Hawpe's RBI double, followed by Garrett Atkins singling Hawpe home.

Clint Barmes would later plate two runs to close out the scoring in the first inning.

In the second inning, Dexter Fowler showed why he was given a roster spot by blasting a home run from the left hand side. He has been nothing short of impressive in the first week of the season.

The Rockies head to Chicago to play a quick two game series against the Cubs. The first game is Monday at 12:20 Mountain time with and off day Tuesday, then the finale on Wednesday, also at 12:20. Both games will be aired on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain, with radio coverage on 850 KOA in Denver.

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