The chatter among Rockies fans that I've heard about Franklin Morales this spring was cautious optimism. That his stuff was great, but worrisome were his lapses in command. Both traits were exhibited in today's spring training finale, a 2-1 win by the Rockies.
Morales, who beat out Jordan Lyles for the rotation slot opened by Jhouyls Chacin's injury, went 5 1/3 innings in this one and allowed only one run on three hits. His curveball was breaking well and he struck out five Mariners, including Robinson Cano on a high fastball in the first frame. That was the good part.
Unfortunately, the wild Morales was also on display, as the lefty walked five Mariners as well in the game, creating traffic on the basepaths in every inning he pitched. It was two consecutive walks in the second inning that led to Seattle's lone run in the game. In all, it took Morales 98 pitches to get 16 outs, but the truth is that none of Seattle's hitters really got a hold of one of his pitches either. Just how well Morales can toe that line between effectively wild and just plain wild will determine how lengthy his stay as a major league starter this time around with the Rockies will be.
Also pitching for the Rockies were several non-roster invitees in relief, as Greg Burke, Nick Masset, Brooks Brown, and Chris Martin all kept Seattle scoreless as they continued their auditions for a major league roster spot sometime down the road.
On the offensive side of the coin, both Brandon Barnes and Charlie Blackmon had two hits as part of Colorado's nine hit effort. Barnes scored Colorado's first run in the sixth inning on a RBI single by infield prospect Cesar Galvez (last seen in Tri-City in 2013), then he drove in the go-ahead run with a single to score Drew Stubbs, who had just doubled. In addition to his RBI, Galvez made a couple of strong plays at third (and one error), as did last year's Grand Junction shortstop, Emerson Jimenez, who showed off his laser arm on a nice backhand play.
And with that I declare spring training 2014 to be over and done with. The big league squad will now travel to Miami for their first regular season game on Monday night - and I for one can't wait!