Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Colorado Rockies pick up win behind strong performance by Jamie Moyer

Jamie Moyer pitched and hit the Rockies to victory.
If the Colorado Rockies have any hope whatsoever, they have to have strong pitching performances from their starting rotation.

They got that from their oldest pitcher on Wednesday night at Coors Field. The Rockies emerged victorious against the Diamondbacks, winning in convincing fashion, 6-1. After a disappointing road trip that has left plenty of elbow room on the Rockies bandwagon, the team was in desperate need of a win to start the homestand.

"We played a very clean ballgame," manager Jim Tracy said. "The pitching, defense and hitting all combined for a very good night."

Jamie Moyer, pitching among the whispers of losing his spot in the rotation, answered the call for the Rockies. The 49-year-old gave the team 6-1/3 innings on the mound. He gave up six hits and only one run. He struck out five batters and walked two.

Moyer rocked the Diamondbacks to sleep with his 78 MPH fastball, mixing in offspeed pitches that barely reached registered 70 MPH of the gun. Moyer flew through the first five innings, but Rockies fans were holding their breath despite the dominance.

The lefty has looked good in nearly all of his starts in the early going. However, the third time through the batting order has been a struggle for him. It seems as if the opposing hitters are finally able to wait on his well-below-average fastball the third time they see it.

On Wednesday though, Moyer was able to buckle down, only giving up a run when pinch hitter Cody Ransom doubled to left field.

"It's all about creating a tempo," said Moyer. "It's about creating early contact and not giving free passes. This team showed a little bit of character tonight. There is still room for improvement, but we are going to strive for excellence in everything that we do."

Moyer didn't just impact the game on the mound. He also became the oldest player to record an RBI. Ironically, he notched two of them on the same play, a dribbler that only made it about 75 feet.

With runners on second and third and two outs, Moyer tapped a pitch up the first base line. Instead of jogging down the line, he ran as hard as possible. Paul Goldschmidt and pitcher Patrick Corbin both got caught in no-mans land and Moyer avoided the tag.

On the play Dexter Fowler screamed all the way from second base to score the Rockies fifth run of the night. From that point on, the wind seemed to come out of Arizona's sails.

"I was hustling from the beginning. I always hustle on the bases," said Fowler. "He (Moyer) was hustling himself."

It was the first time since before the Braves swept the Rockies at Coors Field that it felt like the Rockies played a complete game. Over that weekend the offense was on fire, but the pitching and defense let the team down. On the road trip, the starting pitchers started pulling their weight, but the offense was swallowed up by poor execution and the heavy air that resides in the California ballparks.

Make no mistake, the Rockies have dug a hole that is going to be difficult to get out of. However, the only way that they are going to be able to accomplish that is if they start winning games now. They must begin to play better baseball and climb back towards .500. Any further and they will be too far behind to make a run.

That starts with better play from top-to-bottom. They need consistent pitching, consistent hitting, and most importantly, they need consistent managing. Playing like they did on Wednesday night makes managing easy. When players pitch well and hit well, the manager doesn't have to use too much tact to influence games. As Rockies fans have seen lately, the more they can keep their managers creating mind out of the game, the better off they are.

The Rockies go for the sweep in the two-game mini series on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field. The game will be a good test to see if the team can string together a few wins and get some momentum going in the right direction.

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