Home cooking was just what Colorado needed Friday afternoon, as outfielder Charlie Blackmon went six for six at the plate including a home run, a double and five RBI and the Rockies went on to win their 2014 home opener 12-2 over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The first four hitters in the Rockies’ lineup each had at least two hits as they got their second win of the season in the first of a three games series at Coors Field.
After dropping three of four games on the road to the Miami Marlins, the Rockies desperately needed a good outing upon their return to the Mile High City, and the home team put on a show for more than 49 thousand Colorado faithful. The offense pounded out 17 hits in scoring 12 runs, but three runs was all they needed as Juan Nicasio gave the Rockies a quality start on the mound, allowing only one run and four hits in seven innings of work. Chad Bettis and Wilton Lopez did the mop-up work in the eighth and ninth innings to close out the Diamondbacks, who have tied their worst start in franchise history at 1-6.
It was hitting, though, that took center stage at the home stadium on Friday. In addition to the perfect day handed in by Blackmon, last year’s batting champ Michael Cuddyer went three for five; Carlos Gonzalez was two for four with a home run, a double and four RBI; and Troy Tulowitzki got two hits in three at-bats.
So the Rockies are just 88 wins away from the 90 that was predicted by their owner Dick Monfort. During Spring Training, Monfort tweeted to the world that he thought his team could win 90 games if they stayed healthy. He did not back down from that number before the home opener on Friday, even though starting pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood started the season on the disabled list.
Looking back at the first week, it was not catastrophic for the Rockies. They dropped three of four to the Marlins but were in every game except for a 10-1 loss in the opener. If not for the bullpen giving up four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning in game three, the Rockies would have come home from Florida with a 2-2 record and would have considered the road trip a success. As it is the team is 2-3 now after the win Friday in the first of a six-game home stand. Coming off of a 12-2 blowout the bullpen is rested and the bats are hot. The Rockies’ first five in the batting order are all hitting over .300, with Blackmon leading the way at .563 followed by Cuddyer at .455.
With Chacin and Chatwood beginning the season on the DL, the Rockies have been a little thin in the left-handed pitching department. They are expected to get some lefty relief help on Sunday, as Boone Logan is expected to be activated from the DL. Logan pitched for the Yankees last year and was signed during the winter to a three-year deal. He has been recovering from off-season elbow surgery to remove bone chips, and did a rehab inning for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday. Chatwood has a possible return of mid-April, while the earliest Chacin would return is the end of the month.
The Rockies have two more games at home against Arizona before welcoming the Chicago White Sox for a three-game series. They will head to San Francisco to play the Giants in a weekend series starting next Friday.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies