The Colorado Rockies came through tonight very late to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 on a chilly Friday the 13th evening in Denver. The bats were awakened once more as the Rockies scored runs in five different innings to come from behind late to seal the win.
Nicasio's Rough Night
I wasn't planning on going to tonight's game until around 2 p.m. Fortunately, I was able to grab a decent ticket online and hopped on the light rail to the park after work. The big draw for me tonight was seeing Juan Nicasio's return to the mound in Denver. The last time he pitched for the Rockies was August 5, 2011, when he was hit by a line drive and broke a cervical vertebrae when he fell to the mound.
While I may have hustled to the ballpark to see Nicasio throw the first pitch, it was certainly not the case for most of the fans. Despite an announced attendance of 30,642 fans, I'd estimate perhaps only a third of them were in their seats by the time Nicasio took the mound. Whether from nerves or just an off night, Nicasio struggled with his control throughout the game. It was easy to tell it was going to be a short outing for Nicasio when he threw 44 pitches in the first inning alone. By the time he was finally pulled from the game in the third inning, he had thrown 91 pitches (42 balls, 49 strikes).
The Rockies Finally Come Together
Fortunately for Nicasio, the rest of the team came together after his exit. I've criticized the middle relief pitchers earlier in the season, but the trio of Esmil Rogers, Matt Belisle, and Rex Brothers came in and held the Diamondbacks to just three hits over a span of five innings and allowed the Rockies a chance to rally their bats and come from behind to win the game.
While the Rockies had each positional starting player get at least one hit tonight, the real hero was Todd Helton. Helton had some big hits, but the biggest was in the bottom of the eighth inning when he came to bat with Carlos Gonzalez on third base and two outs. Helton smashed the ball down the line in left field to give the Rockies their first lead of the game at 7-6. From there, Rafael Betancourt came in to collect the save and bring the Rockies up to a record of 3-4.
Things To Ponder
Prior to the start of this game, I had been wondering if Manager Jim Tracy should switch the batting positions of Todd Helton (fifth) and Michael Cuddyer (sixth). Cuddyer has had a faster start than Helton, but the first baseman came through tonight in a huge way. Obviously Tracy won't be making any changes here soon, but keep an eye on this as the season progresses.
Dexter Fowler continues to have fielding issues in center field. He bobbled and dropped a routine bouncing ball hit out to him, but fortunately it didn't result in additional bases because the runner himself was lollygagging a bit.
If you think it's cool to catch a home run ball hit by the opposing team at Coors Field and then throw it back like they do at Wrigley Field, think again. Tonight one poor hapless fan played the hero for a few seconds when he caught a home run ball hit by the Diamondbacks in the third inning. I could hear, even way far out in my left field seat, the fans in the right field seats chanting and egging the poor guy to throw the ball back. He did to exuberant cheers which then turned to boos when ushers came to collect and escort the guy to the exit.
Julie has been a fan of baseball her entire life. While growing up in Atlanta watching the Braves and being born into a family of Los Angeles Dodger fans, she became a Colorado Rockies fan when she moved to Denver in 2001. She has two goals this year. One is to watch (either in person or on tv) 100 Rockies games this season (she's seen six). The second goal is to become a proficient scorecard keeper.