Continuing AL West Dominance, the Colorado Rockies
Position: 3rd NL West
Games Back: 1.5
Elimination Number: 85
As Ray King grounded Adam Kennedy out to short, Aaron Cook breathed a sigh of relief. Not over Ray King, who allowed a solo homer over 2IP, but finished the game well. Not over the offense, which pounded in 12 runs to the Angels' 4.
Aaron Cook breathed that sigh of relief over the Win, his first in over a month. Not for any lack of effort, however. Aaron Cook (along with Jeff Francis) is one of the least run-supported pitchers in the majors.
But not on Tuesday night.
The Angels struck first with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st on 3 hits.
And then the Rockies proceeded to score runs in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th innings. Mostly singles and doubles, as well, including 3 doubles from Matt Holliday, 2 resulting in him being driven in for runs.
Atkins and Barmes had big nights as well, Atkins going 2-5 with 3RBIs and 2 runs, Barmes 2-4 with 1 run and 3 RBIs. Interestingly, Barmes, despite his .212 average, is 4th on the team for RBIs with 41. His defensive prowess and apparent ability to hit in the clutch is what is keeping Barmes in the lineup on a daily basis.
It also should be noted that the Rockies have scored early in nearly all of their last several games, within the 1st or 2nd inning. It's been a struggle for the Rockies all season, making their starting pitchers go 6-7 innings on no runs' support, maybe tallying 1 or 2 in the 5th-7th inning, oftentimes leaving an excellent starter without a decision. And while I can't say that they're doing a completely splendid job of it, scoring in the early innings helps the starter's confidence and helps them take command of a game.
I'd like to come out again and say that the bats are back. The Rockies are producing more runs than before, not leaving quite as many runners aboard, and helping win games for their starters.
Tonight will be a big challenge. Firstly, because we have struggled as a team against the Angels. Secondly, despite all the writing done about how the Rockies will not support Aaron Cook on the mound, they've somehow given Jeff Francis even less run support. Only by like .10 runs, but you have to realize that Cook and Francis are both sitting at under 3.75 runs/start for support (before last night's game).
The Rockies will hope to rectify this tonight in the series finale against the Angels. Francis (5-7, 4.37) will attempt to win his 6th of the season to join Cook and Jennings in the 6-win club against Ervin Santana (8-3, 4.03). Santana has never faced the Rockies, and has pitched EXCELLENT ball this season. Santana has only allowed more than 3 ER 4 times this season, in 15 starts, the most being 6 against Toronto back in the beginning of May in a 3-13 routing.
Francis has also never started against the Angels, and has been roughed up his last two outings, allowing 11 ER over 11.2 IP, watching his ERA jump into the low 4's. Francis is looking for a hot start to bring him another win, lower his ERA, and most importantly, take the series for the Rockies.
So until next time, Rockies fans, enjoy the game, Good Luck, and GO ROCKIES!!!