© 2024 ALLCITY Network Inc.
All rights reserved.
The defending World Champions are in town for three days. Don’t tell that to the Colorado Rockies though.
For the fourth time in a row, the Rockies defeated the San Francisco Giants. This time it was the offense that got it done. Sprinkle in two more incredible plays from Nolan Arenado and the Rockies came away with a 6-4 win.
Friday night was a game that will be seen many times throughout the 2015 season if the Rockies find themselves taking a step towards contention. It was a night where the Rockies young starter, Eddie Butler, struggled with his command. He allowed way too many base runners and kept allowing the Giants to stay in the game.
However, the Rockies offense kept pouring it on. They found ways to score runs and keep the runs coming. The Giants put up two runs in the 2nd inning and the Rockies matched those runs in their half. The Giants scored another run in the 3rd inning and Charlie Blackmon launched a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning. The Giants scored another run in the 5th to give themselves a 4-3 lead. The Rockies didn’t answer back in the 5th, but in the 6th, they put together a rally, started by slumping Carlos Gonzalez’s double to left field. Three runs later, the Rockies were in the lead for good
Butler did his job. It wasn’t pretty and there were far too many baserunners, but a starting pitcher’s job is to keep his team in the game long enough for his offense to score enough runs to win the game. That is what Butler did on Friday. Overall, the redheads line was six innings pitched, four runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out three. It is easy to forget that Butler has just six Major League starts under his belt, It is going to take time for him to become polished.
The young pitcher did his job, but he was aided by his defense. Nolan Arenado in particular did what seems to be routine. In the 4th inning, Butler got into trouble. He allowed back-to-back singles to Brandon Belt and Justin Maxwell. Casey McGehee stepped to the plate and ripped a ball down the third base line. The ball was destined for the corner, which likely would have allowed two runs to score and put McGehee on second base with no one out.
Instead, Arenado snagged the ball, got up, ran to third base to get the force out, then in one motion launched a throw to first base to double off McGehee. The play was as good as they get. While Arenado has made more stunning plays to grab a ball going down the line, the fact that he was able to get up and not only record the out at third base, but to also make a great throw to first base in time to get the double play was simply amazing.
The play itself was impressive, but what the play did to alter the game cannot be overlooked. A game tied at three would have been a 5-3 Giants advantage. There would have been no outs and a runner in scoring position. It is likely that McGehee would have scored and the Giants would have taken the field in the bottom of the inning with at least a 6-3 lead.
At that point, the game changed completely. The momentum would have been squarely on the Giants side and Eddie Butler would have not only been forced to throw several more pitches, but he would have been in a huge hole. Instead, he only had to get one more out to get back to the dugout with a tie game in-tact.
This Rockies team is one that is in the process of finding out who they are. They have raw talent, like Butler, that is good enough to win them plenty of games. However, things have to go right. Their young pitchers have to be disciplined and do what it takes to get to the next level. The team is going to be fundamentally strong and play disciplined baseball in order to go from a team that has lost more than 90 games in each of the last three years to a team that other clubs respect.
Friday night’s victory was a very good one for the Rockies. They didn’t back down from the World Champions. They kept fighting, even when their starting pitcher was struggling, and they got the hits and made the plays that they needed to in order to win the game.
The Rockies are probably not good enough to make a postseason run, but 2015 should be viewed as a year that the Rockies can regain respect, both from their fans and from around the league.
Games like Friday night’s will certainly help this team accomplish those goals.