Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rockies Win Despite Ugly Offensive Performance

Good teams win bad games.

In a season that lasts 162 games, there are certainly going to be games where certain aspects of a team do not hit on all cylinders. Wednesday night was that night for the Rockies.

Early on it looked as if the Rockies would be on the fun end of a laugher, as Nationals starter Collin Balester could not find the strike zone. He walked the first three batters, then threw a first pitch fastball to Troy Tulowitzki who drilled it down the left field line for a two run double.

After Brad Hawpe walked, the bases were loaded again with no one out and it looked as if the route was on. Instead Ian Stewart popped out, followed by a Clint Barmes pop out, and a Chris Iannetta weak ground ball. While the Rockies had just put two runs on the board before the Nationals grabbed their bats, it seemed as if momentum had shifted Washington's way.

In the bottom of the first inning Jason Marquis gave up a run on Ryan Zimmerman's triple down the left field line to make the score 2-1. Marquis wiggled out of the one out jam and escaped with the lead.

The Rockies had another opportunity to pour it on in the second inning. Jason Marquis roped the first pitch he saw off the base of the right-center wall for a double. Dexter Fowler then barreled up a pitch that hit the wall and scooted away from right fielder Elijah Dukes. Fowler cruised into third as Marquis scored the Rockies third run.

With one out and Fowler on third base, it looked like the Rockies would get redemption from their failures in the first inning. However, after a walk to Todd Helton and Tulowitzki to load the bases, Brad Hawpe struck out and Ian Stewart grounded out to first base. After having the bases loaded in both the first and second innings, the Rockies had only three runs on the board.

In the fifth inning Clint Barmes, emerging as quite the power hitter, launched a solo home run to left to give the Rockies some breathing room. It helped because Marquis had a hiccup in the bottom half of the inning, giving up two runs to get the Nationals within a run.

The Rockies got another run in the eighth inning when Carlos Gonzalez hit yet another home run, his fourth straight game with a bomb. Gonzalez hit a pitch that looked like it would one-hop the wall, but simply continued carrying and landed three rows in the right field seats.

That run was huge as Huston Street came for the save and on his first pitch gave up a solo home run to Cherry Creek High School product Josh Bard.

Street locked in after that pitch and got the next three hitters out to secure his 31st save of the season.

Overall the Rockies offense left 29 runners on base. Chris Iannetta himself left six on base, while Ian Stewart bested him with seven runners of his own.

There is no doubt about it that the Rockies did not bring their "A" game. They pressed too much when they had a chance to break the game open. They failed to put their foot down when they had a chance to put the Nationals away. Yet, despite their struggles, the Rockies found themselves on the top of the scoreboard for the second straight night.

While the Rockies must find a way to play better and capitalize when they have a chance to hurt the opposition, they are still finding ways to win baseball games. Their struggles are something that every team deals with over the course of a long season.

It may be beneficial that the struggles are coming while they are playing a Nationals team that was once on pace to break the record for the most loses in a season.

The trend must come to an end when the team returns home on Friday to face a Giants team that is nipping at their tails for the Wild Card lead. However, the definition of a good team is a squad that can find a way to win baseball games when they do not have every aspect of their game working for them.

The Rockies go for the sweep on Thursday night with Jason Hammel trying to bounce back from a rough outing in Florida. The Rockies also go for a winning record on the six game road trip, game time is 5:05, broadcast on FSN Rocky Mountain and on the radio on 850 KOA.

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