Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rolling Rocks: Rockies Making a Statement

Just another day at work for the Rockies.

A 4-2 victory over the NL West leading San Diego Padres at Coors Field on Saturday night. The victory moved the Rockies to within just one game of taking the lead over.

The game was yet another example of just how deep this Rockies organization is.

Jason Hammel, the Rockies fifth starter, continued his dominance. The righty, picked up off of the Tampa Bay trash heap, pitched 6-1/3 strong innings. He gave up just two earned runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked two. After getting into trouble in the fourth, Hammel batted back and got a strikeout of Wade LeBlanc to end the threat.

Melvin Mora, essentially the last man on the Rockies bench for the first half of the season, got the Rockies on the board by leading off the bottom half of the 2nd inning with a solo home run to left field. It was his first home run in a Rockies uniform.

After the Rockies extended the lead to 2-0, Brad Eldred, a career minor leaguer who had a cup of coffee in the big leagues with Jim Tracy's Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007, hammered a home run deep to right-center field. Eldred will strike out his fair share, but he plays a pretty good defense at first base and when he runs into a ball expect the ball to travel a long way.

Since Troy Tulowitzki went down with a broken wrist instead of falling apart like many fans suspected, the club has responded in a positive way. The reason is simple. The Rockies have so much depth in their farm system that guys with the talent to play in the big league level are stuck at Triple-A.

Jonathan Herrera had a quick stint with the club in 2008 and was soon forgotten about. With Tulowitzki out, Herrera finally got his chance to start on a regular basis. He has responded by being a force at the top of the Rockies lineup.

Brad Eldred, a player who has been forgotten about, was playing Triple-A ball as a 30-year old. With Todd Helton out with back injuries, the 290 lbs first baseman is showing that he has what it takes to play in the big leagues.

When pitchers like Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis struggle, most would expect the Rockies to struggle. However, the back end of the rotation has shown the talent and ability to get the job done. When guys like Jason Hammel step up and win seven games before the All-Star break it cannot be ignored how much depth the Rockies have.

The Rockies go for their second straight sweep on Sunday. A win would put them at the top of the National League West for the first time since early April.

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