Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jason Giambi smashes the Colorado Rockies to victory

With 416 career home runs coming into Thursday, Jason Giambi had never hit three in the same game. That changed in his first three at-bats, as the lefty-slugger knocked three no-doubt bombs to right field, propelling the Colorado Rockies to a 7-1 win over Philadelphia.

Giambi had watched video of some of his past at-bats and realized that he was crouching over more than normal. The adjustments paid off in a huge way, giving the Rockies a win in a place where they had lost 11 of-their-previous 12 games.

The night almost didn't happen, but stiffness in Todd Helton's lower back forced Jim Tracy to make a decision. He could either start Ty Wigginton at first base, or give a struggling Giambi a chance to get a few at-bats.

Credit Tracy for an excellent call. The button he pushed at the last minute gave the Rockies all seven RBIs, and helped Jhoulys Chacin to his fifth win.

Lost in the three homer game from Giambi was yet another step forward from Chacin. The righty was staked to a big lead, but was able to navigate his way through the Phillies potent lineup with ease. The Venezuelan right hander gave up just four hits and one run in seven innings. He struck out nine Phillies, while walking just one.

The 23-year old has an ERA that sits at just 2.70, and is quietly making a case for an All-Star appearance.

Giambi's game was huge for the Rockies. Much of their offseason was spent boasting about their depth. They felt that they were so deep that they could re-sign Giambi, and use him primarily as a late inning pinch hitter. However, the bench for the club has vastly underperformed, prompting questions as to whether Giambi was a fit with the club.

He has struggled in the late-night role. He didn't seem to have the same confidence at the plate when he hadn't seen a pitch in a week. With Ty Wigginton able to spell Helton at first base, there didn't seem to be a need for a struggling 40-year old Giambi.

If Giambi has figured out his swing, and the evidence of that won't come in one night of good swings, then the Rockies will be in good shape. It will give the Rockies another threat to put some runs on the board, especially in close games, where the team hasn't fared extremely well.

After the game, the Rockies traded struggling lefty Franklin Morales to the Red Sox for a player to be named later, or cash. The move was well-overdue, but the move still represents a turning point for the club.

Morales struggled as a reliever. He couldn't seem to find the strike zone, and patience was wearing thin, not only in the stands, but in the front office as well.

It was time for the Rockies to move on, but Morales still represented a huge portion of a memory that Rockies fans will forever be grateful for. WIthout Morales stepping onto the scene in late 2007, the Rockies don't go to the postseason. They don't win 14-out of-15, and they don't win the pennant.

Despite his struggles, Morales should not be remembered by Rockies fans as a failed reliever, but as a pitcher who set the Rockies scoreless innings streak as a 21 year-old just getting his feet wet in the big leagues.

4 comments:

  1. So do you think Giambi is "back?" I'm more inclined to believe he saw three pitches he really liked from three pitchers who had no idea what to throw at him. I don't know if I believe his struggles at the plate are over.

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  2. John R-
    David, you said it right when you said that those dingers were "no-doubt bombs." All three were gone as soon as they left his bat. All you think on those is: Hop they stay fair. On a related note, did anyone else notice the outrageous third "strike" that Giambi was rung up on during his fourth at bat?? It was like the ump was punishing Giambi for having the audacity to go yard three times!
    Cargo's injury has me worried! That didn't look good at all. That was totally a "wet field injury." George and Drew had mentioned that MLB is on a record pace for rainouts this season. You have to wonder if the umpires are on a Selig directive to get in games no matter what. If this were a dry year, I believe that they'd have been in a rain delay at least. On the other hand, if they did go into a rain delay, it is very possible that Giambi doesn't go yard for the third time and Chacin has to come out. It's a double edged sword.
    I noticed that you did give Tracy a plug for putting the Giambino in the lineup. Would you go so far as to say he managed the Rox into a win? :-)
    I have missed it, why is Mortensen up with the club? Did something happen to Rogers?

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  3. Player to be named later. Hell I feel like we should thank the Sox for taking him. He is like that girlfriend who just wouldn't go away and another man steps in and says I will date her and you go thanks man that saves me some time of going to the police station and filling out paperwork for a restraining order. Mr.Morales do you need help moving? I have a truck and can be there in no time. Nice article David, I don't always agree with you but your writing and insight to Rockies baseball is insightful and a refreshing change to most bloggers who fill their page with personal agendas and axes to grind. It is rare today to see a writer fill a page with 90% facts and 10% opinion which is based on factual information to back up your beliefs. Keep writing great articles and continue to not be a cowboy and just shoot from the hip. Those who are not following your blog are missing a quality piece written day in and day out.

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  4. Rogers is on the 15 day? DL.

    Frankie goes to Bean Town:) I'm sure the polite, and patient Boston fans are just what Frankie needs to get him over the hump.

    Loved the Fast Cash Sideline Report last nite featuring the drunk dopey Phillies fans, it was an instant classic.

    Great game Jason, I take back the negative things I've been saying about you. Please don't let this be a last flash before burn out fluke.

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