On the very same day when he was announced as the Player of the Month of April, Troy Tulowitzki blasted two opposite field home runs in an 8-2 rout of the Texas Rangers. Jordan Lyles, easily the Rockies' pitcher of the month, tossed 8+ superb innings, saving an already gassed bullpen. All is wonderful in Rockie-land.
Tulo was making headlines today before the game even started. He won Player of the Month going away. His batting line sat at a tidy .400/.500/.730, leading the league in all categories. So what did he do when the game began?
He rolled a squib grounder to second base! What a bum! Tulo, mortified by this outrageously poor showing, turned it around later in the game. He walked in the third, slashed a two-run homer just inside the right field foul pole in the fifth, lasered another two run homer into the Rockies bullpen in the seventh, and walked again in the eighth. That'll do.
Tulo's line now sits at a gaudy .408/.512/.786. Unreal.
While Tulo might steal all the headlines, Jordan Lyles's contributions to the game were equally important. He's the first Rockies starter to pitch eight innings this year, just what the doctor ordered during this brutal stretch of consecutive games. Lyles's frankly unbelievable start to the season is just wonderful. He allowed only two earned run across those frames, striking out five and walking one.
In six previous starts against the Rangers, Lyles had gotten absolutely blown up. But the Lyles who wears a Colorado uniform is different from Lyles the Astro. Jordan was spotting his 93 mph four seamer flawlessly, with it's arm-side tail running in on Ranger righties. He would back that up with an upper-80s slider/cutter that dove the other way. Hitters could never get comfortable. As a result, Lyles induced 15 grounders to only four fly balls. With Colorado's defense, that led to a lot of outs.
Speaking of defense, the Rockies rolled four more double plays, extending their lead in MLB in that category. Nothing sucks the air out of an offense like a two-for-one. DPs snuffed out a number of possible threats.
Nolan Arenado crushed a two run home run in the second inning, running his hitting streak to 25 games, just two shy of Michael Cuddyer's club record. That's obviously awesome, but if anything I was more stoked by Nolan's two walks (sure one was intentional, but who's counting). Patience is the one aspect of Arenado's game that he needs to refine, and seeing him spit on balls away was excellent to see.
The new guys at the top of the lineup, Brandon Barnes and Drew Stubbs, were a combined 5 for 9 with four doubles. That's some excellent table setting. Carlos Gonzalez doubled twice as well, both times to the opposite field. With how often he has been hitting into the shift, going oppo will be key for Cargo going forward.
Nick Masset made his Rockies debut in the top of the ninth, relieving Lyles after a lead off base hit. He showed a little nerviness, allowing a walk and couple singles, but a tailor-made double play again ended the threat.
It's hard to imagine a better baseball game for the Colorado Rockies. They received an MVP performance from their MVP candidate, a brilliant start from Lyles, and contributions from other core players. The Rockies need every victory they can get while they wait for their wounded an sick players to get back in action.
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