For the eighth time in the last nine meetings between the Giants and Rockies, the game was decided by just a single run. Can you imagine if these two ever meet in a post season series? Both cites might lose half their population to heart attacks.
Since that's unlikely to happen however, let's keep the focus on tonight's game, which was just another example of why baseball is awesome! It's just a little 2-1 game on the scoreboard, but oh was this one packed with story lines.
Let's touch on ten of them.
1) Franklin Morales threw seven innings of one run baseball. It matches the longest outing of his entire career, only duplicated by his seven scoreless innings in Seattle for the Red Sox in 2012. Unlike that Red Sox team however, the Rockies got him a pair of runs. (Other odd note - Just like tonight, Morales struck out seven and walked two in that game.)
2) The outing by Morales almost matches the one Jordan Lyles posted on Saturday night. He also went seven innings giving up just one run, but his was unearned. Remember, these are the #6 and #7 starters who are fighting for their rotation lives when Chacin comes off the DL.
This is the pitching depth I keep harping on, and so far things are looking excellent in this department. It's still too early to know how the season will progress, but the more we see of this, the more likely it is that the Rockies will be playing meaningful baseball in September, and maybe beyond.
3) It's not just Morales and Lyles who are pitching well, this is the fifth time in the last six games the Rockies have held their opponent to two runs or less, and four of those five games were at Coors. Not surprisingly, the Rockies are 5-1 in this stretch. The one loss? A 10-9 slug fest right in the middle of the streak. That's so baseball.
4) As talked about in the game preview, this win guarantees the Rockies their second consecutive winning home stand and their forth consecutive series win at home to start the season. It also runs the Rockies record against the Giants in their last 12 meetings at Coors to 9-3, the same advantage the Giants have over the Rockies in their last 12 games at AT&T. It's just amazing how often the home team wins the games between these two teams when almost all the games are nail biters.
5) Very few players in baseball can impose their will on a baseball game the way Troy Tulowitzki can. In the fourth inning, the Rockies were in trouble. The Giants had men on first and second with just one out and a sharp ground ball off the bat of Joaquin Arias appeared ticketed for the outfield. Tulo not only got to ball, but was able to fire it to second base and get a critical out in what at the time was a scoreless affair. Four pitches later, Morales got Ehire Adrianza to pop out to Tulo to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the inning, Tulo led off and broke the tie with a solo home run to deep left center field. Just like that, what appeared to be a lead for the Giants turned into a lead for the Rockies. Enjoy it folks! You're not going to see another shortstop this good play for the Rockies for the rest of your life.
6) One of my favorite things to see from the Rockies are "retaliation innings". Specifically, innings where they score runs right after the opponent puts something on the board. It's extremely frustrating to be on the receiving end of that exchange.
Tonight, Nolan Arenado provided the retaliation inning in the fifth after Hunter Pence tied the game with a home run in the top of the frame. Arenado's solo blast was his fourth of the season and second in as many days. The shot also proved to be the difference in the game and ran Arenado's hitting streak to 13 games.
7) The last 12 consecutive runs by the Rockies have all been scored via the home run. Justin Morneau and Charlie Blackmon each hit solo shots in the late innings on Sunday, all eight runs in Monday's 8-2 win were scored on five long balls, and tonight the runs were limited to the solo shots off the bats of Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado.
8) Unlike some 2-1 games, this one did not lack opportunities to score more runs. The Rockies went an ugly 1-7 with runners in scoring position - And the one was an infield hit by Carlos Gonzalez that didn't bring home a run. However, you can get with that when your opponent goes 0-7 with men in scoring position like the Giants did tonight.
9) Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity from San Francisco came in the eighth when Walt Weiss made a crucial decision.
Adam Ottovino surrendered a pair of base hits to put runners on first and second with just one out, and instead of letting him work his way out of his own mess, Weiss brought in Rex Brothers to turn Pablo Sandoval around to the right side. In just one pitch, Brothers got Sandoval to hit a ground ball to short, which in this infield is an automatic double play with Tulo and DJ LeMahieu waiting up the middle.
The move by Weiss was big for a couple of reasons. First, he stuck to his guns and trusted his man Brothers to get out of the role assigned to him at the beginning of the season, even after the disaster in San Diego last week where Brothers couldn't find the plate. It's probably not the move I would have had to stones to make, but it was the right move tonight. Good job by the skipper.
In addition to this (and actually more important), Brothers appeared to have a little more life on his fastball and actually did show a bit more velocity. This is very, very important because if the Rockies can get the dominant Brothers back, it allows them to really play games with their opponent when it comes to bullpen usage. This is an outstanding sign, but Brothers is still a story to monitor going forward.
10) With the win, the Rockies pass the Giants in the standings, take over second place, and reach a new high water mark on the season. In order to stay ahead of San Francisco however, they will need to sweep the series tomorrow when Matt Cain takes on Tyler Chatwood at 1:10 p.m. Mountain Time.
It's a good thing the Rockies have a ground ball pitcher on the mound. If the forecast is correct, the wind will be blowing out to right field at up to 20 MPH.
Games behind: 1.0
Games left: 140
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