Great pitching, of course.
On Friday night in San Diego, the Colorado Rockies offense was par for the course in 2011. They had opportunities to drive a nail into the coffin of the Padres, but failed in three separate innings to get a big hit when they needed it most.
The Rockies were bailed out by Kevin Millwood, a signing that had many scratching their heads at the reasoning. However, Millwood has brought the club a big lesson. The pickup has been far more than even the club sold it as. The Rockies said that picking up Millwood would help ease the workload of the bullpen because he was an innings-eater.
If eating innings was all the Rockies were hoping for out of Millwood, they have to be extremely happy with the results. On Friday night, Millwood looked more like the 19-win Millwood than the pitcher who couldn't find a Major League contract before spring training.
The veteran went seven innings, giving up no runs on eight hits. He struck out eight, and most-importantly, walked no one. The win gave the Rockies a good start to a three game series in San Diego to finish a disastrous nine-game road trip that has ended all speculation that this team has any chance of contending.
Millwood could definitely help this Rockies club. If the younger pitchers are paying attention, they might learn that possessing an overpowering fastball, a dominating slider or an incredible change up isn't necessary to getting outs in the big leagues. Not taking anything away from Millwood, but his more talented days are certainly behind him. However, he is showing how the key to pitching isn't just about strikeouts, but just getting outs.
The right-hander isn't able to dominate the same way that he did as a young pitcher, but he has the savvy to get batters out. He pounds the strike zone and challenges the opposition.
Millwood's performance in a Rockies uniform has been interesting in that he has probably pitched his way into an opportunity to win the fifth starter job once February rolls around. At this rate, with the club pitching starved, having a pitcher like Millwood in the clubhouse and on the mound every fifth day might go a long way for the Rockies.