The Rockies are used to winning games because their shortstop outperforms the opponent's shortstop, but tonight, they had the tables turned on them. Maicer Izturis burned Colorado multiple times and recorded all but one of the Blue Jays hits (there were only three).
Izturis first made a big impact in the fifth inning when he was able to make a spectacular defensive play to his left on a ball hit up the middle off the bat of Jonathan Herrera that appeared ticketed for center field and would have given the Rockies the lead. Instead, the game remained scoreless into the eighth.
He continued his night of frustrating the Rockies in the sixth with the bat when he broke up what was a Jorge De La Rosa no hitter at the time - But the biggest moment of the game undoubtedly came in the bottom of the eighth when Izturis was at the plate with men on second and third with one out. He didn't hit the ball well, but he was able to flare a jam job over the drawn in infield that seemed to parachute into shallow left. Two runs scored on the play and that was more than enough for the Blue Jays as the Rockies just couldn't cash in on their chances.
This was sort of an odd game for the Rockies offensively. At times, it felt like they were just getting completely shut down by Josh Johnson who recorded ten strikeouts on the night. However, Colorado also went 0-8 with runners in scoring position so they did have their opportunities.
No opportunity was better than the one they had in the top of the eighth. With men on first and second, nobody out, DJ LeMahieu at the plate with a 2-0 count, and a pitcher on the mound who was suddenly struggling to throw a strike, the Rockies elected to bunt the runners over and hand Toronto a free out. The Blue Jays then brought in Brett Cecil to get a left on left matchup with Carlos Gonzalez instead of pitching around him. That decision almost cost them the game.
With men on second and third and just one out, the same situation in which Maicer Izturis would get rewarded in the bottom of the inning for making weak contact, Carlos Gonzalez lined a bullet right to the first baseman for the second out and got nothing to show for making excellent contact. Baseball is an infuriating game sometimes!
After an intentional walk to Michael Cuddyer to load the bases, Todd Helton grounded out to second to end Colorado's biggest threat of the night. (One other odd stat on the Rockies offense, they have now scored just four runs in their last five Monday games)
The most frustrating aspect of tonight's game was wasting Jorge De La Rosa's performance. Not only did he take a no hitter into the sixth and toss seven shutout innings, but he also only allowed one fly ball to reach an outfielder. In short, he was brilliant tonight.
This is a good thing in the long term, especially coming off Chacin's outing on Sunday, but boy do I hate squandering an outing like that. At least this is the first time the Rockies have really done something like this though as they were 14-0 coming into tonight in games in which the pitching allowed two runs or less. This is exactly the type of game you fear without Tulo's bat in the lineup however and it is a bit concerning that it took just one road game for it to show its ugly head.
The Rockies are used to winning games because their shortstop outperforms the opponent's shortstop, but tonight they had the tables turned on them. Hopefully this won't happen too many more times before Tulo comes back.
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Games Behind: 0.5
Games Left: 91
Record needed to beat Keith Law's prediction: 17-74
Record needed to beat 2012: 28-63
Record needed to beat the Vegas Over / Under Number: 35-56
Record needed to finish above .500: 45-46
Number of Home Runs needed for Cargo, Tulo, and Rosario to combine for 100: 53 (But they probably won't reach it now with Tulo's rib fracture)
* * * * * *
Game 2 of this series begins tomorrow at 5:07 p.m. Mountain Time and will feature a pitching matchup of Jeff Francis (2-4, 5.87) vs. Esmil Rogers (2-2, 3.21). Why do I not have a good feeling about that?