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Road Warriors: Colorado Rockies finish off sweep in San Francisco

David Martin Avatar
April 16, 2015

Nolan Arenado can hit too.

Just in case his bat got jealous of the attention that his glove got on Tuesday night, Arenado decided that he would show off his offensive skills as well.

With two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning and two on, the Rockies looked like they might start the night leaving a golden opportunity on the bases. Instead, the defensive hero from a night ago started the night off on the right foot. Arenado blasted an 0-2 slider from Tim Lincecum deep into the left field bleachers, giving the Rockies a 3-0 lead.

Lincecum, as former Cy Young winners often do, settled in and limited the damage for the Giants. The only other run the Rockies scored came because of an error on Giants shortstop Alex Arias. The Rockies were able to put good swings on some of Lincecum’s pitches, but ultimately, the Arenado home run proved to be the difference.

Despite looking extremely good in the early going, one thing that was desperately needed from the Rockies was for their starting pitcher to go deep into the game. All too often in the early going, the Rockies bullpen was great, but they were forced to pick up too many innings. In the home opener on Friday, Tyler Matzek went just four innings. On Tuesday in San Francisco, Christian Bergman was only able to finish four innings himself. Eddie Butler has struggled to get to the 6th inning in both of his starts.

As good as the Rockies bullpen has been, that success simply is not sustainable if they are being forced to work four or five innings every night.

Matzek didn’t start off the night looking like he was going to change the trend. It took him 42 pitches to get through two innings, but just like in the home opener, Matzek was able to limit the damage. He gave up only one run and allowed the Rockies to stay in the game. After finally finding his command, Matzek was able to gut his way through six innings. His line ended up looking very nice, which would come as a surprise after watching his early frames. In those six innings, Matzek gave up only one run on five hits. He walked one and hit a batter, and struck out three. He was good enough to pick up his first win of the season.

Any time the Rockies win a series in San Francisco it is noteworthy. However, for them to sweep a series on the road in any opposing ballpark, especially at AT&T Park when the Giants were celebrating their third World Series championship if five years is a statement series.

The Rockies get a much deserved day off on Thursday before the head to Los Angeles for a weekend series against the Dodgers. Their reward for a great series against the Giants? They get a chance to face Clayton Kershaw on Friday, then Zach Grienke on Saturday. It will be no easy task for the Rockies over the weekend.

The Rockies are extremely hot as the head into L.A. However, the fact that they are facing two of the leagues best pitchers on Friday and Saturday highlight just how important it was to win the games that they were able to in San Francisco. A 3-0 road trip could quickly be a battle to head back to Coors Field with a better than .500 road trip. That isn’t suggesting that the Rockies can’t continue their surprise early season success, but reality is that had the Rockies lost two games against the Giants, it would be very easy for this road trip to turn extremely ugly. Instead, the Rockies took care of business and got the job done. If they lose on Friday and Saturday, they can still go home with a good trip and be in a good position to establish dominance at Coors Field.

The Rockies have notched six road wins already in 2015. That isn’t a huge number, but consider the fact that they won just 19 games away from Coors Field throughout the entire 2014 season and suddenly it looks like this Rockies team might actually be a little bit different than the 2014 team that looked great in April.

There are plenty of reasons for Rockies fans to view this early season success as a fluke. It might be unsustainable, and the Rockies will certainly face their fair share of struggles over the course of a long season. However, there is no reason for fans to think about the issues. Rockies fans, who have long suffered over the years, should sit back and enjoy the success. They should simply appreciate the fact that their team is winning baseball games.

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