Saturday, September 21, 2013

Colorado Rockies offense stays hot as Jhoulys Chacin homers in own victory

Corey Dickerson has been a surprising addition for the Rockies.
If you can't do it with your arm, may as well do it with the bat, right?

It wasn't a great night for Jhoulys Chacin on the mound for the Colorado Rockies. He simply didn't have his best stuff. He walked five while striking out none in six innings against the Diamondbacks. However, he limited the damage to just two runs, thanks to timely ground balls.

Chacin was able to get out of most of his jams by inducing three double play ground balls from Arizona batters. It erased some of his location mistakes that clogged up the base paths. In the end, the Diamondbacks scored two runs in the first two batters of the game, then didn't cross the plate against Chacin again.

Apparently Chacin didn't like the fact that he gave up two runs. He wanted to make sure he didn't get saddled with a loss because of wildness and a couple of 1st inning runs, so he promptly stepped to the plate in the 3rd inning and launched a 2-2 hanging curveball into the left field seats for the first home run in his career. With Charlie Culberson aboard, it tied the game up.

The Rockies added four runs in the 6th, two more in the 7th and another in the 8th to deliver a victory over the Diamondbacks, who have been nearly as disappointing as the Rockies down the stretch.

As the Rockies have faded out of most fans minds, something special has started to happen. Charlie Blackmon, who went 2-for-5 on Friday night, Corey Dickerson, who launched a mezzanine-level homer in the four-run 6th, and Charlie Culberson have made their way up from the minor leagues and seem to be turning the corner.

Looking realistically at these guys heading into the season, they weren't thought of as impact big league players. They were guys who could fill roles, but not anyone who would be spending the next 10 years in the big leagues.

Dickerson, in fact, wasn't even listed as one of the Rockies top-30 prospects by Baseball America. Despite phenomenal stats in the minor leagues, Dickerson was thought of as a liability in the field with a bad arm and not a ton of speed.

His defense, to be fair, has been nothing to be impressed by. His arm is lacking, and his range hasn't been impressive. However, he also hasn't done anything in the outfield to suggest that he is a liability. He hasn't been terrible out there either. In fact, he has been decent enough to think that he possesses the physical skill set to be a viable option if necessary.

Blackmon, a 27-year-old who didn't make the Opening Day roster, had two seasons derailed by injury and watched his prospect status go away. At his age, the thought for the future really isn't there anymore for the Rockies, or any team with a 27-year-old Triple-A outfielder. The team has moved on to their new list of prospects with sometimes nine full years of youth on him.

However, both Dickerson and Blackmon has shown the ability to get the job done at the plate. Both of them, frankly, have taken the most professional at-bats of anyone outside of Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer on the entire roster since they have been getting regular at-bats.

Culberson was another guy without a spot. He came over from the Giants for Marco Scutaro and seemed like an odd edition. The Rockies had so many middle infielders it didn't make a ton of sense to pick another one up. After an awkward transition to the outfield, it seems like Culberson is getting comfortable at the plate in the big leagues. He had just six games of big league experience before the trade, so expectations should be that of a rookie, not a second-year guy.

Those three guys, in addition to what DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado have brought to the table on a near-daily basis in 2013 has been something to watch. No one is talking about any of them being the next Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig, or Bryce Harper, but they are going out and getting the job done.

Blackmon and Dickerson specifically seem like they have found the confidence that it takes to hit at the big league level and play with a swagger that suggests they are going to be good players in the big leagues.

In a tough season, it is good to see young players making an impact.

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