On Sunday, a day that has produced recurring nightmares for the Rockies all season long, the club broke a club record. They recorded 25 hits, in route to scoring 19 runs to earn a series split with the lowly Astros.
The funny thing about baseball is that for all of the firepower the Rockies have stocked in their lineups throughout the years, from Dante Bichette and Larry Walker, to Todd Helton, Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki, the lineup that produced 19 runs, 25 hits including four home runs, had nothing to do with those powerful lineups.
The lineup that produced a club record for hits in a game was full of minor leaguers and fill-ins. Tommy Field, who nearly missed his big league call-up because he was out of cell phone rang, recorded his first four-hit game. Field had never been above Double-A until three weeks ago. In addition, Jordan Pacheco, who made his Major League debut on September 6th, logged his first career four-hit game as well.
Of the four home runs hit by the Rockies, one came off the bat of Kevin Millwood, a pitcher who had never blasted a home run until this month, where he has hit two. Kevin Kouzmanoff, stuck on the A's Triple-A roster for the majority of the season, hit two home runs for the Rockies, his first two homer game since 2008.
Baseball is a weird game. The Colorado Rockies know that very well after the 2011 season.
After another impressive performance, one thing has become clear for the Rockies. They must offer Kevin Millwood a guaranteed Major League contract. Based on the work that he has done with the Rockies, Millwood is certain to get several teams calling him about joining them in spring training. If the Rockies think that they can get him on a minor league deal, they are going to miss out on him.
Even if the Rockies have to overpay to keep Millwood, it is a move that they should make happen.
The Rockies are in a position where they are going to need a veteran pitcher in the clubhouse. Their rotation, as it stands right now, looks to be extremely young. Two of the guys the Rockies are depending on to make an immediate impact, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, are both under 24 years old. Those guys will need a veteran with big league success on his resume as a guy to look up to.
After Pomeranz's debut in which he went more than five innings and gave up no runs, he immediately credited Millwood with helping him to that success by watching video the night before. That type of leadership is extremely important for the young pitchers as the find their way at the big league level.
The Rockies have made it clear that they are in the market for a guy who can eat innings and be effective in the back end of the rotation. They may not have to look too far, they already seem to have one in their clubhouse, it is just a matter of locking him in.