Saturday, June 15, 2013

No doubt about Colorado Rockies being resilient, pitching still in question

Wilin Rosario broke out in a big way against the Phillies.
The Colorado Rockies have a message for everyone who has written them off since the Troy Tulowitzki injury.

Stop it.

A night after blowing a 7-2 6th inning lead, the Rockies didn't just come back strong, they came back with a vengeance, dropping six runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 1st inning and giving some wiggle room to starter Tyler Chatwood, who was pitching for the first time in 13 days.

The Rockies came back from a miserable night, one in which the team blew a 7-2 lead, and instead of wallowing in their sorrow, they came out with a point to prove.

With Troy Tulowitzki out with a broken rib, the Rockies are in need of serious leadership to step up in place of the team's lost leader. This offense has plenty of talent, but losing a player like Tulowitzki, an MVP candidate, takes a toll on even the best offensive teams.

The Rockies have several candidates who could help shoulder the load, and both of those guys stepped up on Saturday. Mired in a slump throughout the month of May and the first half of June, Wilin Rosario broke out in a big way on Saturday. The catcher went 3-for-4 with a triple and two doubles. He drove in two runs and added a walk for good measure.

Arenado continued to mature, going 3-for-5 at the plate, driving in two runs of his own. However, the third baseman's performance at the plate was pedestrian compared to what he continues to do with the glove at third base. With one out in the 2nd inning, Chatwood was clearly struggling with command. He had allowed a single from Humberto Quintero with opposing pitcher Jonathan Pettibone coming to the plate in what seemed to be a sacrifice situation.

Instead, Pettibone swung the bat, hitting a hard grounder towards third base. Arenado, pulled in for the bunt, made an amazing play to snag the ball and throw Pettibone out at first base. The base hit would have given the Phillies runners at first and third with one out. Instead, they had two outs and a runner at second. A run eventually scored, but Arenado's play probably saved another run.

The Rockies continued pouring on the runs, scoring a run in the 3rd inning and three more in the 4th, all of which scored with two outs. Those runs came in handy later in the game.

With the game in hand, manager Walt Weiss, with Chatwood's injury in mind, elected to remove his young starter after the 5th inning. It wasn't a bad decision, but it was questionable simply because of the amount of work the bullpen has been asked to take on in recent weeks.

After Adam Ottavino rewarded Weiss' decision with two scoreless innings, the next move put a screeching halt on the party atmosphere and gave flashbacks to the memories less than 24 hours old of blowing a big lead and losing a game that was well within hand. Weiss elected to go with Chris Volstad, a placeholder who most likely won't be on the roster in a week. Volstad was called up when Eric Young, Jr. was designated for assignment as a long man just to give the Rockies some flexibility if they needed someone to eat innings.

Volstad, owner of a 5.31 ERA in Triple-A prior to his call-up, had Rockies fans biting their fingernails. He gave up back-to-back doubles to Laynce Nix and Ryan Howard. After a hard-hit flyball out from Dominic Brown, Volstad allowed a home run to John Mayberry. Suddenly with just one out in the 8th inning, the Phillies were within five runs. Volstad allowed two more runners, leaving the tying run in the hole, before finally getting out of the inning.

The Rockies didn't get their relaxing laugher win that it looked like they would have early in the game. However, there is plenty of positivity to take from Saturday's game.

A year ago, the Rockies loss on Friday night would have set them back for a week. They would have folded on Saturday, especially coming back for a day game after a night game.

This team, as they have shown time and time again in the opening two and a half months, is resilient. They believe that they can win every single game that they play. Their memory is short, something they lacked a year ago. This team is able to turn the page on the events of the previous night and find a way to win the next day.

At some point, the starting pitching is going to have to be able to consistently get past the 5th inning. The bullpen simply won't be able to sustain themselves with that much work on their shoulders. However, this team, even without Tulo and a dependable starting pitching staff, has shown that they are up to the task of winning every day they take the field.

That is a good sign for the Rockies. This is a team that might not be there yet, but they have certainly turned the corner. It might take some time to arrive, but the winning mindset is something that is the first step to being very good.

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  1. I say that Volstad should be released, move Nicasio to the pen and bring up Oswalt and Pomeranz as starters in the rotation. Francis should also be released, he's done.

  2. It's been about a week since EY2 was sent for assignment and not a single team has reached out to acquire him. EY2 is just like Tim Tebow, a great guy but lacks so many skills in playing their game. I would bet that all of the supporters of EY2 supported Tebow as well. I'm glad that EY2 is gone.

    1. EY had a few positives going for him, but at the same time those positives would quickly turn into negatives leaving fans dismayed. About the only thing I will miss of EY is that infectious smile he was always wearing, and that doesn't win you baseball games.