clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Rockies won behind Gonzalez Germen and Aaron Laffey...for real.

New, 5 comments

It's a good thing baseball games aren't actually played on paper.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

It turns out that you really, really can't predict baseball.

The deck seemed to be stacked against the Rockies on Friday night. They were facing Atlanta's ace, Shelby Miller, and they were leaning on two arms who had yet to throw a pitch for the Rockies in their careers. Even more remarkable, Gonzalez Germen was starting for the first time in his career and Aaron Laffey was pitching at the Major League level for the first time in over two years. This is what we like to call a "schedule loss", but the wonderful thing about sports is that you actually have to play the game in order for it to count.

Germen took the hill in the top of the first as the sellout crowd was just starting to trickle in, and it's likely that most of those in attendance tonight had no idea that he was even with the organization. I sheepishly confess that I didn't know myself until I heard the news he was starting today. The former Cub definitely made himself some new fans last night, requiring only 34 pitches to get through three scoreless innings.

In the top of the fourth, Walt Weiss turned the reins over to Mystery Man #2, Aaron Laffey, last seen in the Majors with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013, and a veteran of the 2007 ALCS, where he pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the Indians. Laffey wasn't quite the success story that Germen was last night, giving up three runs in 2 1/3 innings of work before being replaced by LaTroy Hawkins for the final two outs of the sixth, which led to the third and perhaps ultimate "You Can't Predict Baseball" moment of the night.

Hawkins was effective in the sixth, and Weiss decided to leave him in for the seventh, despite the fact that he was due up in the bottom of the inning. This led to LaTroy heading to the plate for just the ninth at-bat in his 21 year career. He struck out looking, but he did manage to make contact on a foul ball.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/LaTroyHawkins32">@LaTroyHawkins32</a>. Like a statue. <a href="http://t.co/Bn52FMudsN">pic.twitter.com/Bn52FMudsN</a></p>&mdash; #Tulo (@Rockies) <a href="https://twitter.com/Rockies/status/619694929514639360">July 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Rockies used six pitchers in total to hold the Braves to three runs, which was actually two fewer than they had used the night before to achieve the same result. All of Atlanta's offense came on a three-run homer by Kelly Johnson against Laffey in the top of the sixth. It was the second consecutive admirable performance by the bullpen under less than admirable conditions. The Braves can't be happy with their offensive output from last night, but the Rockies should be thrilled with theirs.

Shelby Miller has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this year, and he's deservedly heading to his first All-Star game on Tuesday, but the Rockies' own first time All-Stars got the best of him in the first inning. DJ LeMahieu singled to the opposite field before Nolan Arenado crushed a double to bring home LeMahieu for his 69th RBI of the season. It was Nolan's first in over a week, as he snapped a nine game RBI drought that had become the longest of his career. He's still tied for the league lead with Paul Goldschmidt.

Miller got out of the first with only one run having crossed the plate, but he wouldn't be so lucky in the fourth. Nick Hundley led off with a single, before Daniel Descalso broke an 0-for-20 slump with a triple to right field, making the score 2-0.

Brandon Barnes singled up the middle to score Descalso, but was thrown out trying to steal second after he came up too far off the bag. This seems to have been a recurring problem for the Rockies recently, as middle infielders are doing a better job of keeping their glove on the runner, even after he's touched the base. It's something the team needs to work on.

With the bases empty, the pitcher Laffey was forced to swing away instead of bunting, and struck out for the second out of the inning. The rally was dead, but the inning wasn't over, thanks to the outfield adventures of Jonny Gomes.

First, Charlie Blackmon hit a fly ball to left-center that bounced off Gomes's glove and went for an unlikely triple. Then DJ LeMahieu hit a very high fly ball to the warning track that must have blended in with the overcast sky, because both Gomes and the cameraman lost track of it. Gomes barely moved, and it was center fielder Cameron Maybin who wound up having to attempt to make a play on the ball, but his sliding effort came up short and it hopped over the wall for a ground rule double, scoring Blackmon. Neither play was ruled an error, but they were both probably outs more often than not.

Carlos Gonzalez capped off the scoring for the Rockies with a majestic solo home run, his 12th of the season, in the fifth. It's been nice to see him play more like himself lately, no matter whether you think he's an important piece of the Rockies' future or a valuable trade chip to be dealt in a few weeks.

Pitching with a two run lead, Boone Logan managed to make things interesting in the eighth. He struck out the first two batters he faced, before giving up two singles to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Chris Johnson. Both of the hits Logan surrendered were to left handed batters, but he struck out Cameron Maybin (a righty) so there isn't much to say about his outing except that he's just not currently a very good pitcher, even when used properly.

Tommy Kahnle came on in relief and got a big strikeout of Johnson to end the inning, before John Axford worked a stress-free ninth inning that included a great play by DJ LeMahieu and ended on a poorly executed bunt by Andrelton Simmons that floated right into Ax's glove for the final out.

This game itself was unaffected by weather, but it wouldn't be Coors Field in 2015 without some sort of interference from mother nature. The crowd of 48,254, the first sellout since Opening Day, had to wait through a rain delay before getting to see the fireworks they came for. Luckily the show went on eventually, and everyone got to go home feeling like they had gotten what they had paid to see: fireworks and a Rockies win.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">What a show! <a href="http://t.co/WXyxMeE3hJ">pic.twitter.com/WXyxMeE3hJ</a></p>&mdash; #Tulo (@Rockies) <a href="https://twitter.com/Rockies/status/619724867672236032">July 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The fact that the bulk of the game was thrown by two pitchers without so much as a custom jersey option on the Rockies website was of secondary importance. They also got to see LaTroy Hawkins swing the bat tonight, which was worth the price of admission all by itself.