Losing three-out-of-four to the second worst team in the National League seems like it would be horrible. Make no mistake, the losses sting, and frankly, the Rockies are digging themselves a hole that they may not be fortunate enough to climb out of. However, the Thursday matinée at Coors Field provided at least a glimmer of hope.
With the 22-year old Jhoulys Chacin on the mound for the Rockies facing former Cy Young winner Roy Oswalt, the prospect of splitting the series seemed bleak from the first pitch. After the Astros scored two runs early, it looked even worse for the Rockies.
After the Rockies mounted a rally to tie the score at two, Chacin immediately gave up a home run to Humberto Quinterro, who proved to be a Rockie killer in the series, and before the Astros were done batting in the 5th, the lead was up to thee.
At this point, the Rockies of the past two months would have rolled over and hoped for a better fate tomorrow. Instead, benefiting from a questionable move by Houston manager Brad Mills removing Oswalt, the Rockies rallied against the Astros' bullpen and had the tying run on base in the eighth inning before Jason Giambi harmlessly flied out to center field after fouling off several pitches.
In the end, the Rockies fell short, dropping the finale 5-4. The three losses to the Astros consisted of two one-run loss and an extra inning loss.
While there is no doubt that there were questionable moves made by Jim Tracy, poor at bats taken by the offense with the game on the line, bad pitches made by Chacin, and several other mistakes made throughout the game, it is not the time to focus on what is going wrong with the Rockies. That story has written itself since the club arrived in Arizona last Friday.
There were a few positives from the game. First, the Rockies did not roll over and quit. Despite facing Oswalt, the club continued to battle back and found themselves a swing away from winning the game. The fact that they scored in the 8th inning is impressive enough.
The second positive was the way that Todd Helton drove the ball. Hitting in the two-hole for the first time in 2010, the struggling lefty went 2-for-4 and looked like he was finally comfortable at the plate.
The Rockies can do everything in their power to get back into the race, but the fact is, it's not going to happen with Todd Helton hitting below .250. The first baseman needs to get back in the groove and get on base more than he has been throughout the longest struggle of his career.
So while there are plenty of reasons to be frustrated with the way the Rockies are playing, there is a time when fans have to look for the good things that are happening. After Thursday, Rockies fans fall into that category.
The Rockies head into the weekend to face an inter-league opponent in the Blue Jays. The team's biggest bright spot, Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound in hopes of once again putting a stop to a losing streak. With a win, Jimenez will be an astonishing 12-1.
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