The cheers were loud and frequent at 20th and Blake this afternoon, as the Colorado Rockies delivered an old fashioned beat-down on the Arizona Diamondbacks. In front of a sell-out Opening Day crowd, the Rockies clobbered 17 hits en route to a 12 to 2 shellacking. Charlie Blackmon led the onslaught by spraying six hits across the yard while Juan Nicasio handcuffed opposing batters all day. Drink it up, because it always goes down smooth.
The toast of Denver today will be one Charles "Chuck Nazty" Blackmon, who tied Andres Gallaraga for the most hits by a Rockie in a game. Blackmon led off the game with a hustle-double to right center, banged a single to right in the 3rd, clobbered a home run in the 4th, dumped a double under Mark Trumbo's glove in the 6th, singled again to right in the 7th, and sliced another double to left in the 8th. Holy run on sentence! Charlie could go oh-for-the-rest-of-2014 and still finish with a solid .260 average.
And he wasn't the only guy crushing the baseball. Carlos Gonzalez went 2 for 4 with a triple and a home run that nearly reached the newly christened Party Deck in right field. Michael Cuddyer, who I love in the 2-hole, threw out three hits. Troy Tulowitzki delivered several strong at bats, with two singles and a walk.
The only starting Rockie who failed to record a hit was Nolan Arenado, who appears to be pressing slightly at the plate. While undoubtedly frustrating for him, it seems fair to expect him to snap out of this funk. Regardless, it hasn't hurt his defense as he made a spectacular diving stop to throw out Paul Goldschmidt.
Offense is nice, but Juan Nicasio's pitching performance was arguably nicer. After the Rockies served up 27 runs to the Miami Marlins, who are going to be very bad this year, Nicasio shut down a strong Diamondbacks lineup in the vast confines of Coors Field. Nicasio put on a clinic for brutal efficiency, by going seven strong innings and striking out six, allowing only four hits and a walk. The lone run for the Diamondbacks came on a Mark Trumbo home run, off an 0-2 slider that Nicasio hung over the plate.
But for the most part, that slider was a new, "uh oh, Happy learned how to putt" game changer. He induced countless swings and misses from the pitch, as it showed more depth and action that it ever has for him in the past. He used to rely solely on his fastball to get by; once hitters had that timed, he'd get clobbered. This new weapon keeps hitters off balance, and makes his fastball play up as well. Couple that with his spot on control, and Juan breezed through those seven innings needing only 88 pitches. Me gusta.
The Miami series sucked something awful, but nothing beats baseball in Denver Colorado, I'll tell ya what.
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Wilton Lopez horrid-luck BABIP hits counter: 2