The Rockies continued their return to dominance over the Giants at Coors Field this season with a 6-1 win tonight improving to 6-2 on the season against San Francisco at home.
An odd trend I touched on in the game preview held true for Juan Nicasio. Coming into this game, the fiery righty had home road splits that looked like this.
Nicasio at Coors: 10 starts, 3.95 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, .634 OPS against
Nicasio on the road: 14 starts, 5.43 ERA, 5.0 K/9. 3.7 BB/9, .852 OPS against
After tonight's performance, those numbers will only separate and become more extreme. Nicasio was excellent in this one throwing six shutout innings and recording nine strikeouts while walking two and allowing just four hits. He also threw 62 of his 95 pitches for strikes. Nicasio was a bit fortunate in both the third and six innings however.
In the third, Buster Posey came to the plate with runners on the corners and one out and hit a hard ground ball right at Jonathan Herrera that turned into a double play. Then in the sixth inning, Pablo Sandoval was at the dish with men on first and second and launched a fly ball to the deepest part of the ballpark in center that turned into an out.
However, for most of the night, Nicasio kept hitters off balance and generally controlled the game.
The same can't be said for Barry Zito who looks to be on the 18th green of his career. He was awful again tonight as he failed to get through five innings for his fifth straight start. Tonight he allowed five runs in four innings including home runs to Todd Helton and Charlie Blackmon. In fact, every Colorado starter recorded at least one hit with the exception of Jonathan Herrera - And yes, that does include Nicasio who recorded an RBI single off Zito in the fourth.
For Helton, the home run marked hit number 2,497 of his storied career, leaving him just three hits shy of the last major milestone he's likely to accomplish. It sure would be nice if he could get it done on this home stand, and fortunately, that seems more and more probable with each Toddfather start.
Another nice thing to see tonight was Wilton Lopez's strong relief performance. The polarizing reliever was dominant in two inning of work striking out three with no walks while allowing just one hit. Since April 21st, Lopez has a 3.19 ERA while holding opposing batters to an OPS under .700. His start to the season was awful, but over the last four months, he has very quietly put together a solid stretch of baseball. That's a good sign moving forward, because the Rockies are going to need him in middle relief next season.
Jeff Francis came in to mop up the ninth but was unable to preserve the shutout. He allowed an RBI double to Joaquin Arias just one out away from victory before getting Gregor Blanco to line out to Charlie Blackmon to end the game.
One piece of bad news from this game is that Dexter Fowler had to leave leave with a bruised left knee after getting thrown out on the base paths yet again. The injury does not appear serious and Dex is considered day to day.
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Games Behind: 15.5
Games Left: 29
Record needed to beat Keith Law's prediction: -8-37(The Rockies could finish the season on a 29 game losing streak and Keith Law would still be nine games off. LOL Keith Law)
Record needed to beat 2012: 3-26 (Almost there)
Record needed to beat the Vegas Over / Under Number: 10-19
Record needed to finish above .500: 20-9
Number of Home Runs needed for Cargo, Tulo, and Rosario to combine for 100: 32
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The series continues tomorrow at 6:40 pm MT as Yusmeiro Petit (0-0, 3.38) makes his first start of the season for San Francisco against Chad Bettis (0-2, 4.50) who is still looking for his first major league win.