|Troy Tulowitzki is playing out of his mind for the Rockies.|
Do you start with the Rockies going Little League style in the 6th inning to turn the lineup over so that Nolan Arenado could get one more shot at extending his hitting streak to 26 games? Does the story begin with Carlos Gonzalez notching a five hit night after struggling for so long? How about Troy Tulowitzki continuing his remarkable run? How about a Rockies team that is making believers out of the skeptics?
What may get lost in the 12-1 victory over a very good Texas Rangers team is the pitching. On the heels of a phenomenal pitching performance from Jordan Lyles, Juan Nicasio delivered an impressive performance. Perhaps the reason it was impressive was because Nicasio's stuff wasn't. When the right-hander is recording outs in the air instead of on the ground, it usually spells doom. Instead, Nicasio worked his way around traffic and got out of trouble.
Nicasio battled through five innings, keeping his team in the game when it actually was a game. He gave up only one run on two hits in those innings, but walked five batters. He was good enough to keep the Rockies in the game long enough for the extremely potent offense to continue doing what they have done for the past three weeks.
Enough with the pitching, there simply is too much offense to talk about to fit it all into one blog post. How about Troy Tulowitzki? The frustrating thing about what he is accomplishing at the plate is that there simply are no words to describe it. For days the search has been on for the appropriate way to describe accurately what Tulo has been doing. There simply aren't words for what he is doing.
Frankly, the level of hot that Tulowitzki is at the plate is hard to understand because the majority of big league players could never get to that level. It takes the extreme talent that he possesses to make something like what he is experiencing actually happen. He is hitting every pitch that he swings at. In the bottom of the 6th inning, Tulowitzki lined a double to the gap in left-center field. The ball was six inches off the ground and the Rockies shortstop didn't even take a full swing at it.
The reality is, when Tulowitzki is healthy he is one of the best players in the game. Couple what he can do with his glove along with what he does with his bat and Tulowitzki is literally a once-in-a-generation type of player. When he gets hot, it isn't the same type of hot that other players experience. It is out of this world.
His 3-for-4 night bumped his batting average to .421 and made everyone think that if it's not impossible to get him out that it is out of complete luck that it actually happens.
Tulowitzki going off again might have been the highlight of the night if the Rockies hadn't turned their lineup over in the 6th inning, ensuring Nolan Arenado would get another at-bat. With a 3-2 count and his hitting streak on the line, Arenado drilled an inside fastball riding in on him down the left field line. When the ball kicked up white paint, the entire stadium let out a collective sigh and every person wearing a Rockies uniform let out a big cheer. Arenado is now a hit on Wednesday night away from tying Michael Cuddyer for the longest hitting streak in team history.
While Arenado had to wait until the 7th inning to keep his streak alive, his defense was on display from very early on. The Rockies third baseman made three plays--two of which robbed Adrian Beltre, his boyhood idol--that were highlight reel plays. He continues to impress with his defense night in and night out. A good third baseman doesn't make the same number of highlight reel plays all season that Arenado makes in a month.
The cautiously optimistic Rockies fans are starting to have a hard time fighting back their excitement over this club. While the past two seasons have produced very similar hot starts, there is a different feel about this team. On Saturday when Charlie Culberson, the consummate 25th man on the roster won the game in walk-off fashion, there was a different feel about it. There is a certain magic that is happening right now with the Rockies.
It is different in 2014. They have already dealt with injuries. Instead of making excuses, they have simply replaced that production. When one guy goes down with injury, another steps in and shows what he can do. When one player slumps, it seems that two others more than make up for the lack of production.
Whether that magic lasts through May or October, this Rockies team is fun to watch. There certainly are issues that need to be addressed and that will cause headaches as the year continues, but for now, the Rockies are winning. They are finding ways to get the job done and it is very fun to watch.
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