Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Colorado Rockies lose pitching duel in Philadelphia

Don't blame Jorge De La Rosa for the Colorado Rockies loss on Wednesday in Philadelphia.

The lefty pitched perhaps his best game of the season, but came up just short, as Cole Hamels was slightly better on the other side. De La Rosa went eight innings, giving up just five hits and two runs, only one of which was earned.

The offense, which has been listless over the last few weeks, only scored one run on Hamels, but this is truly a time when it's fair to credit the other guy on the mound for having great stuff. The Rockies scored only one run on two doubles in the seventh inning. The first double came from Carlos Gonzalez, who came within a foot of a solo home run. Then, Todd Helton roped a double to left field that scored Gonzalez.

That was all the offense the Rockies could muster off of Hamels, who had his best stuff.

In a pitcher's duel, little things are what win and lose games. Despite Chris Iannetta making huge progress in the offseason both with the bat, and behind the plate, he made two huge mistakes on Wednesday.

Both runs came partially because Iannetta missed pitches. In the fifth inning, Iannetta was charged with a past ball, which put a runners on second and third base. A base hit to left field scored the runner from third, but the ball was hit hard enough for Raul Ibanez, the runner at second, to stay at third base with Gonzalez's arm in left field. Had the runners not moved up, the run most likely stays at third base. Hamels then bounced into a double play that ended the inning, and would have kept the runner at third.

In the eighth, Iannetta failed to block a change up in the dirt from De La Rosa. It went into the books as a wild pitch, but Iannetta failed to drop down to block the ball, he reached for it, and watched it skip away. A shallow fly ball to right scored the run, which ended up being the winner.

To beat team's like the Phillies, especially when their pitcher has his best stuff, the Rockies need to play a near-flawless game. Two small mistakes can cost a game.

The loss hurts the Rockies, but even with just one run, it had the feeling of a team who was fighting. They took good at-bats, and they didn't roll over. That is good to see from the Rockies, especially on the road. Tough pitchers are going to happen. The key is to beat the pitcher's who aren't elite, and try to scratch out enough runs against good pitchers to pick up some wins.

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