We've seen this before from Juan Nicasio.
He coasts through a few innings before the struggles hit. And when they do, they're bad. Real bad. But that wasn't the case at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, when Nicasio earned a victory after tossing 5⅓ scoreless innings.
It didn't look like things would turn out that way when Jonathan Herrera booted a ball off the bat of A.J. Ellis that would have resulted in the second out of the sixth innings and Nicasio followed that by allowing a line-drive single to Hanley Ramirez. It especially looked bleak when Josh Outman entered for Nicasio and immediately walked Adrian Gonzalez, but Adam Ottavino made sure the buck stopped there.
Ottavino induced a pop out off the bat of Juan Uribe and forced a weak fly out from Scott Van Slyke to end the threat. From there, Matt Belisle looked like his old self and Chad Bettis took care of business in the eighth, handing it over to Rex Brothers, who got all Rexual in the ninth after issuing a lead off walk to Uribe.
Back to Nicasio ... he looked damn good, although he wasn't exactly efficient with his pitches. It took him 103 bullets to get to where he did, but it's hard to be picky about a guy allowing only three hits and a walk while notching seven punch outs.
Of course, all of that would have been for naught if the Rockies offense wasn't able to scratch out a run against Zack Greinke, who has been flat-out unhittable for most of the second half. Apparently Nolan Arenado didn't get the memo; the rookie's two-out double in the fourth plated Troy Tulowitzki and wound up being the game-winning hit. Arenado led all players with two hits and accounted for a quarter of the combined eight hits from both teams.
The win, while not extremely important in the grand scheme of things, ensured that the Rockies won't lose 90 games a season after dropping a franchise-worst 98. Small victories, right?
I'm sure Nicasio, among other guys, will take it.
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