Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Colorado Rockies win series in Milwaukee by playing home run derby

Wilin Rosario launched his first home run of 2013.
The Root Sports camera panned to Dante Bichette at the perfect time. The brand new Colorado Rockies hitting coach was laughing as he watched Dexter Fowler trot around the bases in the 9th inning.

The Rockies centerfielder had just hit his second home run of the season, both off of Brewers closer John Axford. The solo shot, immediately following Michael Cuddyer's two-run pinch hit bomb, gave the Rockies a four run cushion and secured the series victory.

Fowler's home run was also the eighth home run that the Rockies hit in the series. Had Carlos Gomez not robbed Carlos Gonzalez of a solo shot in the 6th inning, it would have been the club's ninth home run in three days. The Rockies also logged 41 total hits in the first three games.

The prevailing thought heading into the season was that the Rockies offense is solid, but that they would have plenty of work to do to make up for their starting rotation. In the first three games, the Rockies are showing that they are up for the challenge.

Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki continued their tear, combining to go 3-for-8 with two walks. However, they weren't the ones who carried the load on Wednesday night. Wilin Rosario went 3-for-5 with a monster home run. Jordan Pacheco, making his first start of the season, went 2-for-4 with a walk and newcomer Reid Brignac notched two hits, including an RBI double and scored two runs in the victory.

The win was evidence that this team can hit, and they can hit anywhere, not just at Coors Field. It also provides more proof of the dynamic that a healthy Tulowitzki brings to the team. Three games is far too small of a sample size to make any clear conclusions, but the early offensive start at least gives Rockies fans reasons for optimism as the team heads home for the opener on Friday.

The praise will get heaped onto the offense, and it is well deserved. However, one aspect needs to be pointed out in two of the first three games of the 2013 season. Both Jhoulys Chacin on Monday and Juan Nicasio on Wednesday weren't just good enough to keep their team in the game, they were good enough to carry the team on their shoulders.

On Wednesday Nicasio, who had questions swirling around him all spring training long, worked six solid innings. He gave up two runs on seven hits, while striking out two and walking two. He dealt with traffic for much of the night, but was able to wiggle off of the hook in every inning except the 3rd, when he gave up a two-run homer to Rickie Weeks.

Beyond the home run, Nicasio was very good. He used a steady diet of fastballs that rode in on righties to keep the Brewers in check. The effort was good enough to give him his first career victory on the road.

It is easy to forget in Nicasio's case that he is still very much developing. He is being asked to be the third starter in a questionable rotation, but he is still finding his way in the big leagues. The fact that he is still willing to stand on a big league mound after suffering a broken neck in 2011 is enough to suggest that he has the perseverance to mature at the Major League level.

The Rockies head home for the always highly anticipated home opener on Friday. They take on the San Diego Padres, who have old friend Jason Marquis on the mound facing Rockies lefty Jeff Francis.

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  1. Nice to see the haters quiet. If not just for a day. If you asked any manager in the bigs if they could have 2 of 3 on the road to start the season 100% of them would take it. A lot of positives can be taken out of this first road series.

    1. So far at least it looks like the team has adopted a new attitude to go with the new manager. Keep it going.


  2. One thing I love to see is the fire in the team that was sorely missing last season. Baby Bull was fired up behind the plate Wednesday, and Tuesday Yorvit was also fired up after a big K late in the game. Like said in article, it's early to see if it will hold, but things are starting to look up if you ask me.

    1. Definitely early, but the attitude is different. Hard to deny that.