Sunday, June 14, 2009

Streaking Rockies Take 10th In A Row

At the end of Spring Training one of the biggest concerns for the Rockies was Jason Marquis. He had just completed a spring in which his ERA was in double figures and it seemed that he could not get a Double-A batter out.
No one thought that Marquis would be entering June 13th leading the National League in wins and looking for his ninth victory. That was the case on Saturday as Marquis put himself and the Rockies in position to win their 10th straight ball game.

After finding yet another way to win on Saturday night, it is difficult to find new adjectives to describe how hot this team is. During the streak they have managed to find a new way to win almost every night. They have used teamwork, good starting pitching, good relief pitching, timely hitting and good defense to win, but Saturday's win may be more of a case of dumb luck.

In the top of the eighth, reliever Manny Corpas gave up Marquis' chance at nine wins by allowing Jose Lopez to blast a home run to left, scoring Ken Griffey Jr., who Corpas had walked on four pitches.

The momentum seemed as if it had shifted to the visiting dugout and that nine in a row is where the Rockies would see their streak stop.

Mariner's reliever Mark Lowe had something to say about that, however, as decided to cough the lead back up in the bottom half of the inning.

Troy Tulowitzki led off with a nubber that acted just like a bunt. Lowe fielded the ball and threw wildly to first base, allowing Tulowitzki to scamper to second base. Carlos Gonzalez then attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Lowe fielded the bunt and had an easy play on Tulowitzki at third, but once again, threw wildly to Adrian Beltre who could not apply the tag. It was Lowe's second error in as many tries.

Chris Iannetta then did his job and sacrificed home the run, giving the Rockies a one run cushion. After pinch hitter Ryan Spilborghs and Dexter Fowler walked, Clint Barmes hit a ball just deep enough to center field to allow Carlos Gonzalez to score from third.

After looking a little shaky, Huston Street struck out the final two batters to nail down his 13th save of the season, running the Rockies streak to 10 straight.

While Lowe threw two balls away, it seemed like the Rockies, and their newfound killer mentality, had something to do with Lowe's bad luck. It is as if this Rockies squad forced the errors with the attitude that they would find a way to win.

While Marquis did not pick up his ninth victory, he was the reason that the Rockies came out victorious.

The job of a starting pitcher is to pitch well enough to keep his team in the game. That is exactly what Marquis did, showing an incredible ability to find ways to get outs.

Marquis does not have a single pitch that is dominating. His fastball is in the low 90's and does not have incredible movement. His off speed pitches are good, but far from great. However, his attitude and determination keep him in games. Watching him it almost seems that he wills the opposing batter into grounding out.

Saturday was the typical outing for Marquis. He gave up seven hits and walked four in seven innings, and seemed to be on the brink of a big inning in almost every frame, yet he seemed to be able to wiggle out of it and find a way to get the opposing batter out in every situation that he needed to.

Marquis, it seems, always finds a way to work out of difficult situations and find a way to help his team pick up a win.

That attitude has been contagious in the Rockies clubhouse. This team seems unfazed when trailing, or a big inning from the opposition. It almost seems like the offense takes it as a challenge, ready to prove that they can do one better.

The Rockies now sit just two games under .500 and go for their third consecutive sweep of the season on Sunday at Coors Field. The ironic part for these Rockies is that if they sweep their third consecutive series it will also be just their third sweep of the season, a statistic that is indicative of their early play.

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