Saturday, May 28, 2011

Juan Nicasio impressive in Colorado Rockies debut

The excitement of the Colorado Rockies finally breaking out and putting up a big number against a good pitcher was great to see. The team needed it, the fans needed it.

However, the offensive output might not be the thing that Rockies fans should be the most excited about.

Juan Nicasio, one of the Rockies top prospects, was called up from Double-A Tulsa to make his Major League debut in the wake of Jorge De La Rosa's arm injury. All he did was throw seven innings without giving up an earned run. He gave up just six hits to the same Cardinal lineup that rocked Ubaldo Jimenez for 12 hits the night before.

Nicasio showed poise in a time when the Rockies were the most vulnerable. Despite the fact that it is still May, the club was in the midst of a free fall that could have had long lasting effects, had the club dropped a fifth straight game at Coors Field, a place where they generally get a reprieve from the lonely road.

One game is far too early to crown a young pitcher as a quality Major League pitcher. However, if Nicasio can live up to his billing, and do a formidable job of filling in for De La Rosa, it could go a long way for the Rockies.

With a lineup that has been stuck in first gear for the majority of the season, an ace who is winless heading into June, and the club's only left-handed starter hoping to make his next start sometime around the All-Star break in 2012, the Rockies were a club looking for someone to step up and help the team win.

With the team in trouble, Nicasio answered the call and showed that the talent coming up through the farm system is as deep as it ever was. There certainly is still going to be some growing up to do for Nicasio, and at the Major League level, sometimes that means some tough outings, but the 25-year old, equipped with an upper-90's fastball looks like he has the talent to stick around on the big league roster and give this Colorado Rockies team a chance.

As for the game, Chris Iannetta showed what he is capable of at the plate. He blasted two no-doubt home runs to left field, and another two-RBI single to center. If Iannetta can continue to be a threat at the plate consistently driving in runs, he might be the key to igniting a lackluster offense.

In addition to Iannetta's offensive firepower, Eric Young Jr.'s contributions should not be left out. His first inning base hit, a routine grounder that was bobbled by Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot, was a big moment in a 15-run game. Had EY's speed not caused a rush transfer, the first inning easily could have been a different story. With Young on first, Jaime Garcia had to be a little more careful with Dexter Fowler, which created a walk, and the Rockies were off to the races.

Had Young been out at first, Fowler's at-bat could have been completely different, and the Rockies six-run inning could have been much different. Young's speed could bring a whole different dimension to the Rockies offense.

The Rockies look to win their first series in almost two weeks on Sunday. Jhoulys Chacin takes the mound against Kyle Lohse. The matchup favors the Rockies, and they may be able to build some momentum heading into a west coast road trip.

1 comment:

  1. Well put Dave. I thought the kid looked great and mature beyond his years for a first start. Many before him have failed due to butterflies in their debut. I am curious to know from you if this kid was going to come up this year anyways or did Jorges injury force their hand? Is there more arms like his in the minors that can honestly come in and help without just throwing a guy in to see what he can do?