Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Colorado Rockies overcome nine run deficit, sweep Braves

Heading into the 4th inning the question was not whether or not the Rockies could come back, it was which position player would end up on the mound.

The Rockies defied the odds, something that they hope is a theme this season, and rallied from nine runs down to defeat the Braves 12-10 at Coors Field on a beautiful summer afternoon.

With Jonathan Herrera on the roster in the place of Randy Flores, the Rockies bullpen was already one man short. With the morning news that Rafael Betancourt was out for the day due to an injured side, and Huston Street only available in an emergency situation, the Rockies headed into Wednesday's contest with just four men in their bullpen.

Things started looking bad when starter Esmil Rogers simply did not have his best stuff. The rookie couldn't get out of the second inning, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits in just 1-1/3 innings. With the game out of reach, Tracy went to Manny Corpas to eat up some innings. Things were going as planned until Corpas grimaced and grabbed his elbow. He was done after just 1-1/3 innings, leaving six innings to spread between three relievers, two of which are essentially situational lefties.

In stepped Matt Reynolds, a kid who was drafted in the 20th round, who made his Major League debut less than a week ago. With the Braves up nine runs, it would have been easy to mail it in. Instead, Reynolds dominated the Braves. He pitched three innings-something he hasn't done since junior college-he didn't give up a run and only gave up one hit.

"It was kind of a tough situation to come into," said Reynolds. "My job is to come in there and throw up a bunch of zeros. That was one of the most incredible wins I have ever been a part of."

Reynolds performance allowed the Rockies offense to chip away at the lead and climb back into the game. The Rockies scored three runs in both the 5th and the 6th innings before putting four on the board in the 8th to take the lead.

Carlos Gonzalez tied the game with a hard single up the middle with the bases loaded, and Troy Tulowitzki plated the go-ahead run with a single in between third and short.

"These players just don't quit," said Jim Tracy. "We've had some come-from-behind wins this year, but this one is the icing on the cake. The job that Matt Reynolds did just an absolutely phenomenal job."

The sweep of the Braves, coupled with a Giants and Cardinals loss, means that the Rockies are five games back of the Wild Card lead. Is five games a lead that is surmountable? Absolutely. Can the Rockies do it? Games like Wednesday's would suggest that they can. The problem for the Rockies, however, is that games like Wednesday's only come at Coors Field. For whatever reason, this club cannot score runs on the road.

It is almost infuriating how much the team struggles on the road. A prime example of how bi-polar this club is comes from Wednesday's game. In one day, against a good pitcher, at Coors Field, the Rockies scored 12 runs. That is four more runs than they scored in their entire six game road trip.

The fact is, this Rockies team is good enough to be in the playoffs. They are good enough to be in the World Series. However, they aren't good enough if they don't figure out how to win on the road. Winning at Coors Field is great, but if they don't win on the road, they may as well reserve their October vacation plans now.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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