Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rockies reunite with offense; shell Greinke and Royals

On a road trip that saw the Colorado Rockies make several mediocre pitchers look like Cy Young winners, the Rockies made the reigning American League Cy Young winner look very mediocre.

The Rockies broke out the bats on Sunday, winning a slugfest 11-7 over the Royals and Zach Greinke.

The club comes home after wrapping up a seven-game road trip that saw them go 3-4. The Rockies took the final two games of the trip in Kansas City to make an otherwise miserable trip look respectable.

Jason Giambi got the offense started, launching a three-run home run 415 feet to center field. It was his fourth career home run off of Greinke, the most of any Major Leaguer.

If the game Sunday went the way most games in May have gone for the Rockies, the home run would have been the extent of the offense. Instead, the club broke out of their slump and took good at bats against the Cy Young winner, waiting for him to make a mistake.

A major key to the offensive turnaround was the production from the bottom of the lineup. Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes and Paul Phillips combined to go 7-for-15, knocking in five runs and scoring five.

For Stewart and Barmes it was much needed.

Barmes had entered Saturday's game with a 2-for-18 mark on the trip. Pitchers were finding success getting the 2nd baseman to wave at sliders off of the plate. Instead of laying off of the pitch, or driving it the opposite way, Barmes was way out in front of the pitch, which resulted in a looping pop up or a weak ground ball.

Stewart's struggles were different. The lefty had several at bats on the trip with runners in scoring position and less than two outs. In Chicago, with the Rockies down by one run in the 7th inning, with the bases loaded and one out, Stewart struck out. He came up again with the same situation in the 8th inning and bounced into a rally-killing double play.

In Houston, Stewart struck out in a one-out, runner at third base situation.

The situation for the power hitting third baseman is frustrating because of the power that Stewart possesses. In those situations, the only thing that Stewart should be trying to do is to lift the ball. If he hits the ball out of the park, great, but if he fails, he has scored a run from third base and given his club a better shot at winning the game.

For both Stewart and Barmes' failures in the first six games of the trip, they looked like they may be turning the corner on Sunday.

With yet another home run off of the bat of Troy Tulowitzki and the production from the bottom half of the lineup, the Rockies showed what many people had been expecting from this team. When they are hitting the ball well they are going to be a team that is feared by the best of pitchers. They have power from top to bottom of the lineup. They have good speed, and they can put up runs in bunches.

For all of their early season struggles, the Rockies sit at 22-22, miles ahead of where they were a year ago, and are just four games out of the race in the National League West.

It would be nice if see the Rockies officially turn the corner and turn a good series in Kansas City into a decent sized winning streak, hopefully giving the club a boost of confidence and jump starting them on a season that has yet to see them play as well as their talent would suggest that they can play.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on InDenverTimes.com

No comments:

Post a Comment