On Tuesday at Coors Field, Jhoulys Chacin, in the rotation because of Jorge De La Rosa's injury, showed that the Rockies have more than five capable starters. The 22 year-old Venezuelan led the Rockies to a 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks, extending the Rockies winning streak to three games.
Chacin pitched six strong innings. He gave up two runs on four hits, while striking out five and walking two. A sign of maturity happened early in the game. After walking Diamondbacks leadoff hitter Kelly Johnson, it looked like Chacin might fall into the one trap that has plagued his young career, failing to throw strikes.
Instead, Chacin did not allow the inning to snowball on him. He retired the next three batters, leaving Johnson on first base. From then on it was as close to smooth sailing as can be expected for a 22 year-old making his sixth career start. Chacin faltered in the 6th inning, giving up two runs, but was able to strike out Mark Reynolds with the tying run at second base to preserve the lead, and ultimately the victory.
The game featured another home run off of the bat of Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies shortstop is starting to heat up. It was his third home run in as many days. Tulowitzki is in one of those grooves where even when he makes an out it seems as if he just happened to hit it right at someone.
Todd Helton, criticized in the Denver Post on Monday for his early struggles at the plate, showed why he is, and should be, starting every day. As he showed signs of during the seven game road trip, Helton broke out of his slump on Tuesday, gathering three hits. All three of his hits were vintage Todd Helton, meaning he fouled off several good pitches before getting a pitch that he could line into the outfield.
Ian Stewart also has been showing signs of life at the plate. On Tuesday he went 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and a walk. What is most encouraging about Stewart at the plate has been that he is hitting the ball to the opposite field. When the third baseman struggles, he looks as if he is trying to pull every pitch, regardless of location. This causes him to roll over outside pitches, grounding out weakly to the right side.
After 45 games and a 23-22 record, the Rockies finally start to look like they are turning the corner. Despite only scoring three runs on Tuesday, the feeling from the team was entirely different. Simply watching the game it looked as if the Rockies were in control of the game. During last week's road trip, the feeling was quite opposite. Even when the Rockies held a lead, it almost seemed as if they were waiting for someone to blow it.
As May comes to an end, the Rockies may be picking a good time to get hot. They sit just four games out of first place in the National League West and play a three game series against the Dodgers starting on Friday.
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