Saturday, June 11, 2011

Colorado Rockies survive scare, win third straight

At this point, a three game winning streak seems like 10 in a row.

Despite nearly blowing a six-run lead in the ninth inning with one out, the Colorado Rockies held on to take game two of a four-game series with the Dodgers Friday night at Coors Field.

For the second straight night, the bats showed up at Coors Field. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, the two hitters who everyone will point to both in the good times and the bad times, combined to go 6-for-9 with a home run as the two have started to heat up at the same time for the first time in the 2011 campaign.

This time, the Rockies bats were backed up by another spectacular performance from emerging-star Jhoulys Chacin. The righty went eight innings, striking out nine batters while walking only three. He also gave up just three hits on the night.

However, Chacin was forced to sweat out his win, watching the Rockies give up run after run after run before Huston Street finally fanned the last batter to seal the victory in a game that he had no business pitching in.

The thing to keep in mind with Chacin is that he is just 23-years old. No one expected him to be this good, this young. The scouts raved about his talent as he progressed through the ranks of the Rockies minor league system, but no one thought that he could be a star in the big leagues this soon.

At his young age, when most pitching prospects are just getting their feet wet in the big leagues, and are intimidated to throw their off speed pitches, Chacin mixes all of his pitches. He has gained a confidence in his change up that has become nearly un-hittable for right handers.

With Jorge De La Rosa out for the year, and presumably the majority of the first half of 2012, the Rockies are in desperate need for someone to step up. So far, Chacin has answered that call brilliantly. He had a great rookie campaign, nearly winning 10 games, but seemed to be missing something. At times he struggled with his command. In 2011, however, Chacin has a confidence about him that allows him to throw all of his pitches for strikes in any count, instead of nibbling around the zone and giving away free passes.

The comeback could have ended in heartbreak for the Rockies. However, holding onto the win should be a benefit to them. It should serve as a reminder that putting runs on the board, and then coasting to the clubhouse is never a good idea. It should remind them that they need to continue to grind out at-bats and find ways to score more runs, especially at Coors Field.

For now though, no Rockies fan is complaining. The team that was advertised all offseason has finally showed back up at the ballpark. If that team continues to put up runs, while also pitching well enough to keep the team in ballgames, this homestand could propel the Rockies into the season that they hoped for early on.

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