Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seth Smith knocks the Colorado Rockies to victory

Seth Smith might not say anything about being used as a platoon player, but his bat is doing some talking.

On Tuesday night, Smith gave the Rockies a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning on a no-doubt two-run homer down the right field line. Then, in the top of the ninth inning, when the Rockies bullpen had allowed the Indians to tie the game up, Smith drilled a slider to right-center field for his second home run of the night.

Two nights in a row, the Rockies may have surprised their fan base by winning games that they had made a habit of losing just a few weeks ago. Instead of finding new ways to lose, the Rockies are finding ways to win, much like they were throughout the first three weeks of the season.

Smith's home run in the ninth inning may have been the most surprising, coming off of Indians closer Chris Perez, who hadn't given up a long-ball all season long.

These Rockies are so interesting to watch. One or two guys don't get hot or cold at once, they collectively find ways to either be ice cold, or white hot. There seems to be no middle ground with this group of players that certainly has the talent on paper to play in October.

Colorado has earned the title of streaky, but maybe they just needed to figure out who they really were. With their 11-2 start, it almost seems like they didn't believe that they were that good. The streak may have gotten into their heads, making them wonder if they could duplicate it. Once they realized that they didn't have to win every single night that they took the field, it seemed like things slowed down for them.

Another reason the Rockies seem to be turning the corner is due to Tuesday night's starter Jhoulys Chacin. The righty pitched 6-2/3 innings, giving up just one run on two hits. He struck out seven and walked six. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning on Tuesday night. However, his command was lacking, as he got himself into trouble twice with walks.

It is easy to forget that Chacin is only 23-years old. When he takes the mound for the Rockies, wins are expected. His stuff is so good that opposing hitters can't find the ball. Often working behind in the count, Chacin still had good enough stuff to keep the Cleveland hitters off balance. He may have stayed in the game longer had his pitch count been lower.

Seth Smith will steal the headlines on Wednesday morning, but Jason Giambi is showing that he isn't quite done yet. On Tuesday he went 3-for-4 with two doubles, consistently putting his teammates in a position to drive him in. His value as a DH is incredible. If he can find a way to translate the at-bats that he takes when he gets four at-bats a night to his late-inning pinch hitting chances, the Rockies would be in a great place.

As many fingernails as he causes to be chewed to the cuticle, Huston Street still found a way to get another save. He always seems to make it interesting, but his 22 saves his the most in the National League. He tests the nerves, but the reality is, most of the time he gets the job done.

The Rockies go for the sweep on Wednesday afternoon. The Rockies send Jason Hammel to the hill to take on Josh Tomlin. Tomlin should present a bigger issue for the Rockies than the previous two starters the Tribe has sent out against them.

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