Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rosario leads the charge for surging Colorado Rockies against Dodgers

The Rockies young players are fun to watch.
The Colorado Rockies continue their charge. On Tuesday night they soundly defeated the team that has made the most headlines over the past week for the second night in a row, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Rockies won 8-4, soundly defeating Chris Capuano, a pitcher who dominated them less than three months ago. The crazy part of the Rockies sudden resurgence is the fact that they are doing it with players who most fans didn't know would factor in to the 2012 season.

The lineup didn't include anyone with the last name Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, Helton, or Cuddyer. In fact, the lineup only had three people who were on the Opening Day roster. The reality for the Rockies has been the fact that these young players have been more exciting than the veterans who aren't in the lineup.


Josh Rutledge, the future second baseman who is manning shortstop while Tulowitzki rehabs his groin, continued to show that he is for real. In the first inning he nearly hit a home run to straight away center field. The ball hit off of the top of the wall, as centerfielder Matt Kemp ran full speed into the wall for the second consecutive night. Rutledge ended up with a triple, his fourth of the season, and scored the first run of the game.

It almost seems as if everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop for the shortstop. He has been so good that it continues to seem like he is due for his first big league slump. A slump that brings his batting average back to normalcy and gives him a good, solid reminder that hitting in the big leagues is much more difficult than he is making it look.

The slump, however, continues to elude him. While waiting for the slump, it has been easy to forget that the Alabama alumni was playing in Single-A Modesto one year ago. His progression has been nothing short of phenomenal and his emergence is a shining light in a very dark tunnel for the Rockies.

In addition to Rutledge, Wilin Rosario continued to crush the ball. He capped his 3-for-4 night with a no-doubt home run down the left field line and into the first section of seats. The home run was the 23rd of his season, putting him just two home runs shy of the Rockies rookie record for home runs in a season.

The catcher's offensive prowess has been well documented. In any other season he is the hands-down Rookie of the Year in the National League. The issue for his candidacy in 2012 is that he is going to be compared to both Bryce Harper, the biggest hype machine the game may have ever seen, and suddenly dominant Diamondback's rookie Wade Miley, who has come out of nowhere to have a rookie year that will garner him Cy Young votes. The Arizona rookie has 14 wins and an ERA below 3.00 in a park that is widely considered hitter friendly.

Tyler Chatwood was able to pick up a win, using 80 pitches to get through five innings. The outing was by no means a dominant one. He was constantly battling with runners on base. He walked three Dodger batters and gave up five hits. He was able to control the bleeding, however, giving up only two runs.

The impressive inning for Chatwood came in the 4th. Chatwood gave up three consecutive hits to load the bases with no one out. The Rockies were staked to a 4-1 lead, but that was looking like it would be a short-lived lead.

Chatwood, instead of succumbing to the pressure, got Adam Kennedy to ground into a double play, scoring one run, then walked AJ Ellis to put opposing pitcher Chris Capuano at the plate with two outs. Capuano struck out and Chatwood escaped with only giving up a single run in an inning that looked like it would chase him from the game.

The Rockies are looking like they are climbing out of the hole that they dug through the first four months of the season. They are fun to watch again. The young players are looking very good and they play the game the right way.

The fear is that the resurgence will numb the pain that came with the failures of the season. The fact is, this 2012 season has been an absolute disaster and should not come and go without serious consequences. Despite the recent success, the sobering reality is that the team is still 22 games under .500, and six games out of fourth place in the National League West behind the hapless, identity-confused San Diego Padres.

The success is fun to watch, but there must be consequences for a lost season. The excitement of August simply overwrite the disappointment of the first four months. The damage has been done, and action must be taken.

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