That game was just what the doctor ordered for the Rockies. With three of the four best Colorado bats missing from the lineup, the team needed Tyler Chatwood to come up big in this one.
They also needed him to pitch deep into the game with the bullpen getting taxed recently and Roy Oswalt's injury on Sunday forcing the pen to pick up even more innings. As if that wasn't enough, it was also a big game for Chatwood personally as he was coming off his worst outing of the year against the Dodgers (5.0 IP, 6 ER) when he had completed eight straight starts without allowing more than two runs before that. The ability to bounce back and shake off a bad day is extremely important for any pitcher like Chatwood trying to take steps to become a top of the rotation arm.
In this outing, Chatwood delivered on all levels. He retired 17 of the first 20 batters he faced and breezed through the first two trips of the Padres lineup. When he got the first out of the sixth inning, he had just 60 pitches on the night.
This was also the point in the game where the Rockies and Chatwood got a major scare. With Colorado leading 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Everth Cabrera hit a sharp ground ball back up the middle that struck Tyler Chatwood's right ankle. Chatwood was able to recover, grab the ball, and get the out, but it was immediately obvious that he was in pain. The training staff came out and Rockies fans everywhere held their collective breath as they watched one of the best stories of the season limp around the mound and try to keep weight off his right leg.
Thankfully, the pain seemed to subside and after what felt like ages, Chatwood was able to take a few warm up tosses, push off on his right leg, and convince the training staff that he was well enough to remain in the game. He was able to complete the sixth and came back out for the seventh, but he did not appear to be quite the same pitcher after this point.
Chatwood pitched into trouble in the bottom of the seventh allowing a single and a walk to lead off the inning before grabbing his bearings and retiring the next two hitters. However, he was unable to finish things off as he gave up a single to Nick Hundley and a bases loaded walk to Everth Cabrera that forced in San Diego's first run. It also forced manager Walt Weiss to go to the bullpen.
Even with this hook, the 6.2 innings Chatwood pitched here were the most he's thrown in any outing this year (he pitched exactly six frames in six of his first ten starts). The only thing not to like about this performance was the way he stumbled at the end, but it was understandable after getting nailed on the ankle. Hopefully this won't be an issue going forward and Chatwood can continue to build on what's quietly becoming an outstanding season.
Rex Brothers came in to relieve Chatwood and he immediately got Kyle Blanks to hit a weak ground ball to the left side of the infield that should have ended the inning. However, Nolan Arenado misjudged Everth Cabrera's speed and thought he could get the out at second. By the time he realized that his only option was to first, he had to reset and couldn't get the ball to first before a hustling Blanks reached the bag safely.
Suddenly, the tying runs were in scoring position in a game the Rockies had dominated from the get go. Fortunately, Brothers was able to get Chase Headley to pop out softly to DJ LeMahieu to end the threat. From there, Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt each pitched a scoreless frame to close out the night.
Offensively, Michael Cuddyer, Wilin Rosario, and Jonathan Herrera all had two hit nights while Corey Dickerson and Tyler Chatwood were both on base twice with a hit and a walk. Colorado got the scoring started early with a two run double off the bat of Wilin Rosario in the bottom of the first (it was the only extra base hit for the Rockies all night) and pushed across what turned out to be the winning runs in the top of the sixth using small ball.
A squeeze play scored Nolan Arenado from third when Edinson Volquez was unable to properly field a Jonathan Herrera bunt and a Corey Dickerson sac fly later in the inning plated the fourth and final run of the night for the Rockies.
Graph: (The game felt more dramatic in the late innings than this chart indicates)
Total Commenters: 35
Total Comments: 1,905
COROXFAN, Chrysicat, DomP, Drew Creasman, ES46NE10, Goeldfinger, Jordan Freemyer, MCDallas, Mr. Rockie, Nephelimdream, Nick95, Paleface Destro, PurpleToPurple, RhodeIslandRoxfan, RockyMountainWay91, Rox the Casbah, Roxman4ever, RoxnSox09, SDcat09, Sjamb, The Lodo Magic Man, WanderingRoxFan, WhiskeyDrinkingMan, Yokel, bearpigman, bix, coffeeis4closersonly, everever, evers44, holly96, idj2, nodakroxfan, papality, prettyinpurple, rockiesfan4ever
Games Behind: 4.5
Games Left: 72
Record needed to beat Keith Law's prediction: 11-61
Record needed to beat 2012: 22-50
Record needed to beat the Vegas Over / Under Number: 29-43
Record needed to finish above .500: 39-34
Number of Home Runs needed for Cargo, Tulo, and Rosario to combine for 100: 47
* * * * * *
This series continues Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. MT as the Rockies will send Jhoulys Chacin (8-3, 3.74) to the hill against Eric Stults (6-7, 3.70)