On Wednesday at Coors Field, the Rockies were able to hold on--barely--for a 7-5 win over Los Angeles.
The Rockies offense has already begun to impress. The mentality at the plate is clearly different. The biggest difference so far has been that the Rockies don't seem intimidated by big-name pitchers.
In 2010, when the club was facing a tough pitcher, it was as if the team figured they would just go through the motions, and then come back the next day and hope for better results against a pitcher with a smaller resume.
In the short four games of the 2011 season, the Rockies have already shown a different approach with a big-name pitcher on the mound.
On Tuesday night, the Rockies faced Clayton Kershaw, a young up-and-coming lefty who has more wins against the Rockies than any other team. Instead of shrinking into intimidation, the Rockies took advantage of the pitches that they were able to drive, and methodically put runs on the board. They only scored three runs, but, thanks to Jhoulys Chacin, the Rockies were in control of the game the whole time.
On Wednesday, the Rockies starter wasn't pitching as well as Chacin. In fact, Jason Hammel was far from as good as Chacin. He gave up four runs on six hits in five innings. When the Rockies gave him a 2-1 lead, Hammel gave it right up. He was able to get outs, but he clearly didn't have his best stuff.
In 2010, after the Rockies scored two runs off of a good starter like Chad Billingsley, only to have them given right back, the Rockies would have packed it in. On Wednesday, however, the Rockies fired right back. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, right after the Dodgers had put three runs on the board, the Colorado offense immediately got the runs right back. Carlos Gonzalez worked a walk, holding off of pitches that he would have flailed at in the past. After the Gonzalez walk, Troy Tulowitzki knocked a base hit, then Todd Helton belted a three-run blast to put the Rockies back in the lead.
The Rockies are going to face a plethora of good pitchers playing in the National League West. To win the division for the first time in their history, the Rockies are going to have to fight and win games in which big-name starters are on the mound for the opposing club.
The season is young, but so far the Rockies look like a different team at the plate against some of the league's most dominant pitchers.
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