Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Francis puts his foot down, Rockies shut out Marlins

Jeff Francis reminded the Rockies of what they had in 2007.

After four mediocre starts in a row, the lefty was on the verge of losing his rotation spot. Instead of giving in to the pressure, Francis put his foot down. He threw seven shutout innings, giving up just three hits. He struck out seven Marlin batters while not giving up any free passes.

The start does not lift Francis from the hot seat. With Jhoulys Chacin waiting in the wings, Francis will have to prove that the poor starts were the fluke, and not this one.

While Francis may still have something to prove to the Rockies, the start goes a long way to show that the club still has talent all the way through their team. It was easy to wonder whether Francis might be on the downside of his career after a shoulder surgery that kept him out the entire 2009 season.

The fact is, Francis will never again be the pitcher that was the ace of a team that found itself in the World Series. No one in the Rockies organization was hoping for that. What everyone associated with the Rockies was hoping for, however, was that Francis would have some resemblance of the pitcher that he once was.

His start on Tuesday night goes a long way to prove that he still has what it takes to be a Major League starter.

Francis' outing was helped by an explosive offense. Melvin Mora, inserted in the starting lineup in left field because the Rockies were facing a lefty in Nate Robertson.

Mora made Jim Tracy look like a genius, 3-for-5 with a double and his second home run of the season. He drove in a season-high five runs.

The win puts the heart breaker from Monday night out of mind. It was a continuation of what the Rockies were doing before the All-Star break. It was another win that showed how deep the Rockies are. Tracy can throw Mora, essentially the 2010 version of Omar Quintanilla, in to the game in left field and get a five RBI performance.

The Rockies are now 2-3 on their season-long 11 game road trip. With six games to go, the Rockies still have to face both Josh Johnson and Roy Halladay. It goes without saying that if the Rockies can manage to take one of those games, and then find a way to win two other games somewhere in the remaining games, they will come home after a successful road trip.

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