Saturday, April 28, 2012

Colorado Rockies explodes for eleven runs in fifth inning

Carlos Gonzalez is heating up for the Rockies.
Put this one in the file next to "pre-humidor days."

The Colorado Rockies used an 11 run 5th inning to blow passed the New York Mets who couldn't have had any idea what hit them. The Rockies went on to defeat the Mets 18-9 in a game that looked like one played on the local little league fields.

Carlos Gonzalez did the bulk of the damage, hitting a three run home run in the 5th, then stepping back to the plate and lacing a double that scored two more runs in the same inning. In all, he drove in six runs on the night, two-thirds of his run production for the season coming into the game.

It's a crazy night at the ballpark when a player can hit for the cycle, as the Mets Scott Hairston did, and not make the first four minutes of the highlight reel.

The scoring came due to the Rockies bats getting hot at the same time. However, the Mets helped the Rockies feel like they couldn't get out. New York combined for six errors on the night. They threw the ball all over the place, on pick-offs, on ground balls. They reached for new ways to commit errors, including being called for catcher's interference when Jonathan Herrera magically kept his feet in the batter's box and hit Josh Thole's glove on a pitch-out.

This was the Rockies offense that everyone was waiting to break out in Pittsburgh. Ironically, it was the same offense that scored just three runs in 18 innings worth of baseball just two days prior.

The big inning came at the perfect time. Esmil Rogers had just replaced Drew Pomeranz, who came out due to a stiff forearm. Rogers didn't seem ready, which resulted in a four-run frame for the Mets. Heading to the bottom half of the fifth, New York looked like they might be able to put it in cruise control, leading 6-2.

Point to a hero for the night and it is easy to see that Gonzalez led the way. His big night came at the perfect time. He showed how much talent he has and how he can turn a game around with his bat. However, momentum is something that is highly underrated in baseball. It is something that can shift a team from a losing mindset to a winning mindset. The Rockies got that shift from a guy who is proving how valuable he is.

Eric Young, Jr. might not like his role. He may not like that he is only getting one at-bat a night, if he is lucky. However, what he brings to the table in a pinch hit role is exactly what the Rockies need.

Young pinch hit for Rogers to lead off the 5th inning and promptly grounded back to the pitcher. His hustle and speed caused the throw from Chris Schwinden to be offline and Young was at first base. He promptly did what everyone in the stadium knew what Young would be doing and stole second base, then advanced to third on the errant throw from catcher Mike Nickeas. After Marco Scutaro walked, Jonathan Herrera knocked Young home on a single. From there, the Rockies were off to the races.

It would have been easy for the Rockies to lay down. They had lost their starting pitcher and were down by four runs. After the series in Pittsburgh, four runs seemed like 10. Instead, Young got on base and made things happen. His speed on the base paths has caused so much trouble for the opposition that it has become a very powerful weapon for the Rockies.

The Rockies capped the scoring with their first grand slam of the year. It came off the bat of catcher Ramon Hernandez, an opposite field shot that landed in the first section nearest to the bullpen in right field. As crazy of a game as it was, the bomb put the Rockies up by nine runs and finished off all doubt.

The hope for the Rockies is that they can build off of this game at the plate. Particularly Gonzalez, who has quietly struggled all season long. His 3-for-6 performance boosted his average to .269, and the home run gave him three for the season, but all three have come since Wednesday.

If he can find a way to continue swinging at good pitches and driving the ball, the Rockies offense may find itself turning the corner. Gonzalez on base more means that Troy Tulowitzki will see better pitches and have more opportunities to drive in runs, which is always a good thing.

If nothing else, the offensive outpouring showed how dynamic this Rockies team can be. If the offense comes together and hits on all cylinders, they have a chance to do some serious damage, no matter who is on the mound or what the other team does at the plate.

The Rockies will attempt to keep the momentum going on Saturday as they take on the Mets once again. This time, Guillermo Moscoso will take the mound in place of Jeremy Guthrie, who sprained his ankle riding his bike to the ballpark.

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