Monday, August 15, 2011

Giambi delivers walk-off blast in Colorado Rockies win

That was different.

A wild ninth inning, highlighted by Dexter Fowler nearly running into an out, followed by Carlos Gonzalez hitting the ball as hard as humanly possibly, followed by an intentional walk to Troy Tulowitzki, led the Colorado Rockies to Jason Giambi's turn in the lineup.

After fouling off two pitches, Giambi launched a no-doubter to right field, giving the Rockies their first walk-off home run of the season.

The team surrounded Giambi at home plate, celebrating the win. It was a relieving sight to see in a year full of failures and misery. Finally, things went right for the Rockies. Finally, the team didn't simply fade into the night. They fought back and found a way to win, even when they weren't getting it done all night long.

Up until the ninth inning, it was more of the same for the Rockies. Get a few guys on base, fail to get them across the plate. Take a few good at-bats, then take a bunch of bad ones. Make the starting pitcher look terrible, then let him wiggle off of the hook.

The Rockies ended the night 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position. That number is acceptable, but consider that before Gonzalez's shot and Giambi's blast, the team was a mere 2-for-14.

In the fifth inning, the Rockies had a chance to tie the game. Fowler had just lashed a triple into the gap and was poised to score the game-tying run with just one out and Gonzalez and Tulowitzki coming to the plate. With the infield draw in, and Gonzalez simply needing to hit something in the air, the lefty fouled out to the catcher for the second out. Immediately after Gonzalez, Tulowitzki seemed to swing as hard as he could, looking for his second home run of the night instead of looping a ball into the outfield for an RBI single to tie up the game.

However, maturity started to show through. In the bottom half of the eighth inning, Tulowitzki, worked an eight-pitch at-bat into a walk. Walking never seems to be part of the Tulo agenda at the plate, but on this particular at-bat, the shortstop exhibited patience, didn't expand his zone and found a way to get on base.

At some point, the talent of the leaders of this team is going to show through. There are flashes of brilliance. Gonzalez's game-tying double showed his calm demeanor at the plate. He jumped on the first pitch, knowing that he could do damage with that pitch and found a way to tie the game. Tulowitzki's walk in the eighth inning was another sign. Those two guys are eventually going to have to relax at the plate and be themselves, rather than trying to put the team on their shoulders and carry them.

Monday night's game could be a big step for both of those guys.

While the two future heroes of the Rockies showed maturity on the field, a former hero, a guy not unfamiliar with the spotlight, showed that the tank isn't empty quite yet. Giambi's maturity and patience at the plate could go a long way to help the younger stars on this team figure out how to refine their game.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps walkoff win adrenalin rush will restore team poise.