Friday, August 10, 2012

Colorado Rockies rookies are giving some signs of hope

Tyler Chatwood was phenomenal on Friday night.
The Colorado Rockies 2012 campaign has been nothing short of a train wreck.

Despite shipping out five players who were blamed for contributing to a poor clubhouse culture, the Rockies didn't get better, they got worse. The current bunch of Rockies have made Dan O'Dowd look foolish for blaming those players for a problem that clearly goes well beyond the clubhouse.

However, as the Rockies start to look to the future, there only option in a lost season, there are some signs that they could quickly return to respectability. On Friday night, the club got a huge boost from a guy who they are leaning on heavily for the future success of this team.

Tyler Chatwood led the Rockies to victory on Friday night in San Francisco. The 3-0 win gave Colorado their second shutout on the road trip, something that is a huge accomplishment, even at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Even more impressive, the Giants bats came into the game as hot as any in the league.

Chatwood went five innings, giving up just three hits. He walked two and struck out two. The line looks great, especially considering how bad the 22-year-old looked in the bottom of the first inning. The righty threw seven balls in his first eight pitches. However, he was bailed out when Angel Pagan decided to steal second base. Catcher Wilin Rosario threw a bullet to the bag to nail Pagan, then Marco Scutaro grounded out, suddenly giving Chatwood two outs when he had been on the rocks just two pitches before.

The Giants helping Chatwood out seemed to help him settle down. He was nearly untouchable from then on out.

Chatwood has been a major disappointment for the Rockies. He was supposed to come in and be a major factor in the rotation. However, he has spent the majority of his time in the minors. When he has been with the big league club, he has struggled, seeming to nibble at the strike zone and not attack hitters.

If the Rockies want to bounce back in 2013, Chatwood could be a huge piece of that puzzle.

In addition to the starting pitching, the Rockies also got great performances by a couple of other young players. DJ LaMahieu got the start at second base. He quickly made an impact. He showed his range both to the right and to the left. On two separate plays, LaMahieu turned base hits into outs. In a three run game, those types of plays are extremely important.

Additionally, Wilin Rosario continues to impress at the plate. The catcher laced two doubles off of Tim Lincecum. Ironically, Rosario is hitting far better away from Coors Field than he does at his home park. Heading into Friday's game, the 23-year-old was hitting .209 at home and a very respectable .273 on the road.

Rosario also contributed on the defensive side. He threw out two potential base stealers. Pagan was out in the 1st inning, then, with Lincecum at the plate in the 5th inning, Brandon Crawford took off from first in the attempted hit and run. Lincecum whiffed and Rosario quickly gunned to second base, completing the double play and ending a Giants threat with a runner at third base.

The catcher has had his issues behind the plate, but he is young and finding his way in the big leagues. The jump from Double-A to the Majors is not an easy task mentally. His bat has been far better than what was expected of him.

There is no denying that the Rockies are in the midst of a season that they would prefer to forget. However, the young players are really starting to shine for this team. If they can continue to improve as the season pushes along, the Rockies might be able to make a quick turnaround and be a surprise team in 2013.

Amazingly, the Rockies have ensured themselves of at least a .500 road trip, and if they are able to win one of the next two games, they will head home with a rare winning west coast trip, something that would be extremely encouraging for a team that hasn't had much to get excited about.

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