Friday, June 22, 2012

Colorado Rockies can't get big hit against Texas Rangers, Roy Oswalt

Christian Friedrich took another step forward on Friday night.
When it rains, it pours. The Rockies got a good performance from Christian Friedrich, but lost 4-1 to the Rangers.

If things seemed like they couldn't get any worse for the Colorado Rockies, the Rangers had to choose this series for Roy Oswalt to make his Texas debut. The righty held out deep into the season before finding a home in Arlington. The righty had been preparing himself for the Rangers rotation in the minor leagues when both he and the club determined that he was ready.

Despite getting hits off of the new Ranger, the Rockies couldn't get them in bunches. In 6-2/3 innings, Oswalt gave up nine hits, but only one runs crossed the plate for Colorado. The beauty of Oswalt is that he possesses the ability to get the strikeout, a valuable weapon with runners on base.

Oswalt K'd six and walked only one, helping to minimize the damage and get the Rockies in a position where they were forced to get hits and couldn't play small ball to scratch runs across the plate.

The reality is, at this point, in the situation that the Rockies are in, very few people expect this team to go into Texas and put up a competitive fight against the two-time defending American League champions. The Rockies are in experiment mode. They are desperately trying to find anything that will help them win even one baseball game.

The Rangers are in the exact opposite boat. They have been playing great baseball for the past three seasons. They expect to win. There are few holes on the team and regardless of who is on the mound, they have a very good chance to win each night, at home or on the road.

It wasn't a game anyone expected the Rockies to win, and simply put, they don't belong in the same conversation as the Rangers at this point.

On the positive side, Friedrich took another step forward. Sure, his line didn't look phenomenal. He gave up four runs in six innings. He walked one while striking out four. Not great, but considering the lefty threw only 73 pitches suggests that he was efficient with his pitches and pounded the strike zone.

The only two mistakes that Friedrich made left the yard. A first inning shot from Adrian Beltre produced two runs, scoring Josh Hamilton, whom Friedrich had walked. In the 4th inning, Friedrich gave up a solo shot to Mike Napoli, giving the Rangers a commanding lead at that point.

Teams with lineups like the Rangers are going to punish pitchers who make mistakes. They did that on Friday night and the Rockies paid for it. With little room for offensive error, the Rockies simply couldn't afford for Friedrich to make even a couple mistakes.

Despite a few bad starts, Friedrich has been surprising in his emergence. This is a pitcher who sported a 5.05 ERA in his second season in Double-A in 2011. He didn't win a game after the month of June at that level. After an offseason full of hard work, suddenly the former No.1 draft pick is living up to his potential. There is still room for improvement, but based on the situation he is in, he gives the Rockies some hope for the future.

At this point it is all about finding little things that are going well. It is about finding ways to stay positive and look to the future. The future is the only positive the Rockies have going for them right now.

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