On Friday night, the Rockies got the fireworks going before the sun set. Mark Ellis, just acquired by the Rockies on Thursday, made a big bang in his Rockies debut. He went 3-for-5 in his debut with a double and a home run. He had three RBIs. That is never a bad way to start with a new club.
The game by Ellis will overshadow an absolutely phenomenal game by Juan Nicasio on the mound. The right-hander was pitching for his roster spot and could not have done better. He went eight shutout innings, giving up just three hits. He struck out four and walked two.
Nicasio's growth is apparent. There is no doubt about his talent. He throws a fastball in the mid-90's with some run to it, and has very good off-speed stuff. Even against a good Yankees lineup on Sunday, he held his own until New York realized that he was primarily throwing his fastball.
On Friday night, he did a great job of mixing in his changeup and slider, keeping the Royals off balance all night long. The key for Nicasio is going to be having confidence in his ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes. He has the talent to stay, he will need to string together a few good starts to build his confidence and continue to learn how to pitch at the Major League level.
How many times can a guy throw out four hits and be an afterthought? That is exactly what Todd Helton did on Friday. The first baseman is the definition of steady. He has gotten to the point where he was in the height of his career where it is simply expected that he is going to get a couple of hits every time he goes out there. His desire to win a World Series is extremely apparent.
Another afterthought is Troy Tulowitzki, who slammed another home run in the ballgame. This time it was a two-run shot to right field. The key for the home run is that it was hit to right-center field. When Tulowitzki is hitting his best, he is driving the ball to the opposite gap. As seen in the past, when Tulowitzki starts hitting home runs, he goes on streaks that make him a serious threat.
If Helton and Tulowitzki can get hot at the same time, the Rockies offense is more than capable of putting up runs that will make up for what they might be lacking on the mound.
It may have been against the Royals, but the Rockies were in desperate need of a quality game. They needed to get a good start to this series.