Monday, September 10, 2012

Colorado Rockies return home with end in sight

***For my regular audience (all three of you), I took a few days off from Rockies Review as I traveled to Minneapolis with friends to check out Target Field over the weekend. I always strive to cover every single game, and have come close to that in the four years that this blog has been in existence, but without the time or ability to watch the games live, or after the fact, I felt that it would be better to take the weekend off. If you ever get a chance to see Target Field, take it. The park is phenomenal. Thank you for your patience and understanding***

Alex White hit his first career home run on Monday night.
For Colorado Rockies fans, it doesn't matter if the team is 25 games under .500. It doesn't matter if the season is the worst in franchise history. When the Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants, it is a good day.

That is what happened on Monday night after the Rockies returned home from a disappointing weekend in Philadelphia, and a bad road trip in which they went just 1-6. On Monday they squeaked out a 6-5 victory over the National League West leaders.

The Rockies rode a great performance from one of their young pitchers that will be have heavy pressure set on his shoulders heading in to 2013. Alex White answered that call on Monday. Of course, with the team's pitching rules, the righty was only able to go four innings, but in those innings, he showed what he is capable of.

In the four innings, White gave up six hits, struck out two and didn't walk a man, leaving the game with a 4-1 lead. The only mistake that White made was a 2nd inning home run that came off the bat of Hunter Pence. However, White made up for his mistake on the mound when he came to the plate. Much to the surprise of everyone, White launched a long foul ball that had home run distance. For a quick second, it looked like the pitcher may have drilled his first home run. Then, he did.

White came back from his long foul ball and belted a high fastball deep into the left-center field bleachers. Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong thought he could sneak a high fastball passed the Rockies pitcher, but White proved him wrong, belting a no-doubt home run that landed well over the fence. It was White's first career home run.

As good as White was, he couldn't pick up the win, as he was done after four innings. However, his start set the precedent for the game.

The Rockies, who are on record as saying that they will continue their 75-pitch limit heading in to 2013, might be in for a huge surprise when they unfurl the plan for an entire season. The effects are very clear at this point. The bullpen is starting to get worn out. Matt Belisle, the most steady reliever that the Rockies have had for the past three seasons, has not been sharp of late.

On Monday, Belisle showed how talented he is by getting out of a situation that saw the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run at second base with just one out. After a hard hit ground ball to first base and a long fly ball to left, Belisle crawled out of the bleak situation, however, he simply isn't as sharp as he has been. He was behind in counts, missing his spots by a few inches and simply not himself.

The Rockies were able to pull out the victory, a one that dropped the magic win total required to six games to avoid 100 losses. However, their theory and the success of their bullpen might be what does them in heading in to 2013.

The reality is, the young core of this team might be more talented than the group that started making its big league assent in 2005. Chris Nelson is showing confidence and ability at the big league level, DJ LeMahieu makes plays all over the field, Wilin Rosario is hitting for power, Jordan Pacheco is getting better defensively as well as hitting over .300 and Josh Rutledge has shown his ability. This team has the physical talent to be successful. However, with a bullpen that might not be as solid, and a pitching plan that really doesn't make much sense, the Rockies could easily dig themselves yet another hole early, which would spell disaster for the Rockies if they are hoping to win back some of their lost fans.

The Rockies look to take the series from the Giants on Tuesday night. Each victory at this point gives Rockies fans a better feeling about avoiding the dreaded 100 loss mark.

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