SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 05: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies hits a RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of the spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 5, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The first games that count in the Rockies organization were played last night, with Colorado's minor league affiliates going 1-2.
The Sky Sox (0-1) got multi-hit games from Brandon Wood and PuRP 20 Tommy Field but little else from the offense, mustering only two runs on six hits in an Opening Night loss. PuRP 17 Christian Friedrich took the loss, throwing five innings and allowing four runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
After Colorado Springs took the early lead in the 1st on a sac fly by DJ LeMahieu, Reno did all its damage against Friedrich in the third, scoring four in the inning.
The Drillers (1-0) should be Colorado's most successful minor league affiliate this year, and they showed why last night. PuRP 2 Nolan Arenado wasted no time in his AA debut, going 4-5 with a 2B and 3 RBI while PuRP 9 Josh Rutledge hit a solo HR to lead off the game. Arenado has historically struggled initially at a new minor league level but then caught up quickly -- I'd be okay if he just skipped the struggling stage at this and any subsequent level. Tulsa scored 4 in the 1st, added another in the 2nd, and never looked back. In all, 9 Drillers got a hit in the game.
Meanwhile, on the mound PuRP 13 Edwar Cabrera showed no signs of slowing down in AA either, throwing 6 innings of 1 run ball, allowing only 3 hits (one of them a HR) and striking out 6. He also added a RBI single in his first professional plate appearance in the first.
The Nuts (0-1) opened their season with a loss, but at least PuRP 5 Tyler Matzek was in late season 2011 form rather than early season 2011. Yes, the lefty was a little inefficient, needing 87 pitches to go 4.2 IP, but he didn't allow any earned runs (2 unearned in the 1st inning thanks to an error by 3B Brett Tanos) and he struck out 7, giving up only 3 hits (but also 3 walks). Matzek is one of Colorado's least hittable pitchers, but the control still isn't all there.