Sunday, April 6, 2014

Colorado Rockies can't finish off sweep, but still have some positives from first home series

Brett Anderson was done in by a 3rd inning error.
A sweep would have been nice.

However, the Colorado Rockies head into a three game set with the Chicago White Sox with their pride intact. The Rockies lost to the Diamondbacks on Sunday 5-3 at Coors Field. Despite the loss, the Rockies kicked off the start of baseball at Coors Field with a bang.

Newly acquired Brett Anderson pitched decently for the second straight time. There was nothing that awed anyone, but also nothing that showed his ability to be a top of the rotation starter. He gave up three earned runs over six innings for the second time in as many starts.

Anderson wasn't great, but what did show was his ability to limit damage. He seems to have an idea of what opposing batters are looking for at the plate and can limit the damage in innings. At Coors Field, three runs in six innings should be enough to give the offense a chance to win.

The lefty wasn't helped by his defense. In the third inning, Nolan Arenado booted a fairly routine ground ball with two men on base off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt. There is a chance that he would have been able to turn a double play, but certainly could have recorded one out. Instead, the booted ball led to both runners scoring all the way from first and second base. It changed the course of the 3rd inning and allowed the Diamondbacks some room to breathe.

The problem for the Rockies offense is that they were required to face Wade Miley. The Arizona lefty has been a tough matchup for the Rockies since he made his first start against the club in 2012. On Sunday, he continued the trend, going eight strong innings, giving up just two runs on seven hits. He struck out two and walked two.

Miley dominates the Rockies because he keeps their potent bats smashing the ball into the ground instead of into the outfield. On Sunday, Miley induced the Rockies into four double plays in his eight innings, killing any rally that the Rockies could muster.

For the Rockies, it simply wasn't a great day. However, it underscores the importance of winning baseball games when the opportunity presents itself. The 2013 Rockies would consistently give away games that they had the upper hand in. They would struggle against bottom-tier pitching, and they would fail to scratch out runs in close games. On Friday and Saturday they played fundamental baseball and it paid off. It allowed them to have a bad day on Sunday and still walk away with the series victory.

From the positive side, both Matt Belisle and Wilton Lopez looked good coming out of the bullpen on Sunday. The two relievers have been the biggest question marks for this team. Lopez was unbelievably terrible in his 2013 campaign with the Rockies, and Belisle has seen the effects over overuse since about the middle half of 2013. Both of them came out strong on Sunday and may have given the Rockies and their fans reason to believe that they can be a positive force in the bullpen, instead of the nail-biting, nerve-racking members that they have been in the recent past.

Belisle is in a different boat than Lopez. Everyone has seen Belisle's ability to pitch. He knows how to get outs. It is going to take transition for him to adjust to not having a mid-90's fastball anymore. Lopez, however, has never looked good in a Rockies uniform and will need to have more success before Rockies fans embrace him.

Speaking of pitchers who never earned the trust of the fans, the Rockies will face their old friend, Felipe Paulino on Monday night at Coors Field. The right-hander was with the Rockies in early 2011, but was so terrible that the Rockies traded him to Kansas City for next-to-nothing simply to have him off of the roster. There is a ball that Prince Fielder hit in Milwaukee off of Paulino that is rumored to still be traveling in the air.

It comes as no surprise that Paulino improved after he left Coors Field, but he still isn't someone the Rockies should fear. In his lone start so far he was good. He gave up only one earned run in 5-1/3 innings.

The Rockies send Jordan Lyles to the mound. Lyles is looking to show the Rockies that he deserves to stay in the rotation once Tyler Chatwood returns from injury in about 10 days.

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1 comment:

  1. Lopez has always performed decently if the pressure is off. Yesterday he wasn't asked to maintain a lead so it went fine. This should be his sole role.

    I like Matt but without the velocity, he looks alot like last year. It appears all the innings that Tracy put him though has caught up with him. I hope not, but from what I witnessed this spring plus the Miami fiasco, he might have the same role as Lopez. time will tell.

    The sad part is that these 2 players are 6.5 million of the payroll. That number could have secured a quality arm like JP Howell who was being considered along with Logan this offseason.