|Jhoulys Chacin was phenomenal on Sunday for the Rockies.|
Chacin made his debut in July of 2009 and showed potential. He had a biting slider and a changeup that dropped off of the table. Chacin struggled with command, but those who watched him knew what his potential was.
After showing signs of brilliance, while being overshadowed by the success of Ubaldo Jimenez, Chacin somehow managed to slip off of the radar for most baseball fans. He showed up to spring training in 2012 with a chance to be the ace. However, those chances were deflated when general manager Dan O'Dowd made comments that Chacin had gained too much weight in the offseason and didn't work hard enough. Eager to prove O'Dowd wrong, Chacin tried to pitch through a hurt arm. After struggling early, the Rockies discovered nerve damage in Chacin's right pectoral muscle. His season was basically shot.
Chacin showed up to spring training in 2013 all but forgotten. The national media, the local media, and Rockies fans alike were excited for baseball, but gave the Rockies little chance to contend. The biggest criticism was the starting pitching.
Judging by Chacin's first two starts, he was offended by the lack of respect. On Sunday, with the Rockies rolling, Chacin delivered an incredible outing. He went 6-2/3 innings, giving up just one run on six hits. He struck out two and walked no one.
The fact that Chacin attacked the strike zone and didn't walk a batter was encouraging, however, an even better sign was the latest example of pitchers using the formula for success at Coors Field. Chacin delivered 14 outs via the ground ball and only two fly ball outs.
Two starts in for Chacin, and six total games for the Rockies is definitely the time where getting excited can come with consequences. However, if the Rockies pitching staff can continue to deliver at this rate for even one month, many of the experts who predicted 100 or more losses for this team may be regretting their words.
What might be more impressive is that the Rockies haven't even needed the brilliant starts that they have been getting from their rotation. The offense, which everyone knew was good, has been white-hot. Dexter Fowler, suddenly a power hitter, is hitting with a scary confidence. Since 2009, Fowler has shown flashes of his talent. Everyone knew the abilities were there. Suddenly, he stands at the plate and looks like he is hitting with supreme confidence. All four of his home runs have been no-doubters. On Sunday, his home run one-hopped the back wall of the Rockies bullpen. With all of his talent, no one was saying that Fowler would be a 25 home run-type of guy. Fowler adds power to an already powerful lineup. If he can continue doing what he is doing, the Rockies lineup is scary.
Fowler wasn't the only one who continued swinging a hot bat. All nine Rockies starters recorded at least one hit. Catcher Wilin Rosario launched a three-run homer in the 7th inning that essentially finished off the Padres. Jonathan Herrera, starting in order to give Troy Tulowitzki a day off, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Newcomer Reid Brignac contributed a big double. In the 1st inning the Rockies had scored two runs with no one out. However, with Carlos Gonzalez at second base, Rosario grounded out to third, then Jordan Pacheco immediately followed him with the same result. Suddenly what could have been a huge inning looked like it would only produce two runs. However, Brignac stepped to the plate and delivered a double that scored Gonzalez and gave the Rockies a big cushion.
The sweep gave the Rockies plenty to be excited about. Their starting pitchers are showing the critics that they might be better than what they expected. With the offensive output shown, the Rockies are proving that they can be dangerous if they get decent starting pitching.
A big test for the Rockies offense comes on Monday, as they start a three game series in San Francisco, a place known for snuffing out the hottest of bats.
Follow me on Twitter @RockiesReview. Like me on Facebook, search "Rockies Review"