Thursday, June 12, 2014

Passion comes out as Colorado Rockies blow out Braves behind another good outing from Jhoulys Chacin

Walt Weiss showed emotion on Thursday.
Thank you, Walt.

During his first full season, one of the criticisms of Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss was that he never got tossed from a game. In fact, in situations where he needed to show some emotion and kick some dirt, or even get in front of a star player, Weiss was nowhere to be found.

On Thursday afternoon, with the Rockies finally looking good after a miserable homestand, Braves pitcher David Carpenter drilled Corey Dickerson with a 95 MPH fastball. He was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Jordan Baker. The beaning followed Dickerson fouling a pitch off of Braves catcher Gerald Laird's mask, then hit his helmet on the back swing of the next pitch.

Apparently Dickerson wasn't sorry enough for what clearly wasn't done on purpose.

With Dickerson having words with Carpenter, the spotlight suddenly turned to Weiss, who was well on his way out of the dugout and yelling at Carpenter, was stopped by the umpires. However, he definitely didn't appreciate being held back. He shook off the umps defense and earned himself an ejection when he used choice words for the Braves.

The following inning, Rockies reliever Nick Masset made Evan Gattis, in the game for Laird, pay for Carpenter's decision. Masset put one high and tight on Gattis and walked back to the dugout after being ejected himself to high fives from his Rockies teammates.

The extracurricular activity came in a game that the Rockies ended up winning decidedly, 10-3. It was a very important step in the Rockies growth, however.

For years, the Rockies have lacked energy when things go bad. They look like they have no fight in them and they don't play with an edge. Sometimes having a heated moment, one that causes an otherwise passive manager to lose his cool, can ignite a team. It can bring a team together and keep things in-tact when the games haven't exactly been going the way the team has hoped.

The outburst of emotion is something good not only for the players on the Rockies to see from Weiss, but also to inspire fans who have been jumping off of the bandwagon to believe that this team has a chance and that they aren't giving in. It was good for Weiss to finally publicly show that he has his team's back.

The fireworks distracted from a very complete game from the Rockies. Jhoulys Chacin was phenomenal for the second straight outing. It was great to see considering the first four times to the mound in 2014 for Chacin. Finally healthy, it looked like the Rockies right-hander was finally completely confident in all of his pitches. He went seven strong innings, giving up only two hits and no runs.

The outing came on the heels of Tyler Matzek's phenomenal Major League debut, and presented two consecutive games in which the Rockies were given a shot to win by their starting pitcher. If Matzek can continue what he did in his first start, which shouldn't be completely expected, but would be nice, the Rockies will have three consecutive starting pitchers who give them a chance to win. Matzek, Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa, who pitches Friday, provide the club with a good enough starting rotation to allow the offense to swing the bats and be confident that they can score enough runs to win.

The Rockies are in a tough spot. Despite their two consecutive wins, they head out on a six-game road trip to the places where they struggle the most, San Francisco and Los Angeles. They have painted themselves into a corner and cannot afford a terrible trip. They must find a way to win one of the series and return home with a 3-3 trip.

What the latest homestand, coming after a horrible road trip, have done is to make Rockies fans more realistic with their expectations. After two back-to-back miserable seasons, this team wasn't expected to contend. A hot start made fans think that the offeseason changes may have been enough to make the Rockies not just a good team, but a contender. The recent slide brings a slap in the face of reality. This team shouldn't be expected to win 90 games. A realistic sign of progress is a .500 record. The Rockies are talented enough, even with injuries, to make that happen. That should be the goal.

The Rockies win on Thursday puts a bow on a terrible homestand. However, the Rockies can build some confidence and gain some traction if they do well in the next six games in California.

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