After a successful 6-4 home stand, the Colorado Rockies hit the road for a pair of series on the west coast hoping to discover some pitching to go with an offense that leads MLB in several major categories. After their first 11 games the Rockies rank first in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base average and are second in runs scored.
Where pitching is concerned, with those kinds of offensive numbers it should not be a tall order to assemble a rotation that can keep the Rox in most games. The offense is scoring almost six runs per game in the first 11 games, and it appears pitching help is on its way. Reliever Boone Logan has returned from the disabled list and that is good news for a bullpen that was almost devoid of lefties. Logan pitched one inning and allowed no hits in Friday’s game in San Francisco. Promising young right-hander Tyler Chatwood is scheduled to come off of the DL and start Sunday’s game against the Giants. With the expected return of RHP Jhoulys Chacin at the end of the month, the Rockies’ pitching staff could be back to full strength within two weeks. Chacin was placed on the 15-day DL because of a shoulder injury, and reportedly threw three strong innings in an extended spring training game on Friday.
On offense the Rockies continue to hit the ball well, with five regulars hitting well over .300 in the young season. Even though he’s cooled off a bit, Charlie Blackmon still leads the team in batting average at .486. Carlos Gonzalez has four homers and 13 RBI. 2014 batting champ Michael Cuddyer is hitting .386 with 10 RBI. The only negative, offensively, is that Troy Tulowitzki has tightness in his right quad and is day-to-day. He will possibly return to the lineup Saturday afternoon in San Francisco.
On Friday night in San Francisco the Rockies ran into a buzz saw in Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who held the potent Colorado offense to four runs in six innings but also helped his team offensively. Bumgarner skied a Jorge De La Rosa pitched into the left field seats for a grand slam in the fourth inning to give the Giants a lead they never relinquished. It was the first grand slam for a San Francisco pitcher since Shawn Estes in 2000.
A wise baseball manager once said that it is not so important to win games as it is to win series. The Rockies have two more games in San Francisco and can still win the series. On Saturday Brett Anderson, still looking for his first win of the season, will oppose Matt Cain for the Giants. Even though he is 0-2 on the year, Anderson has not been horrible. His ERA is 4.5 and, while it is not spectacular, it is good enough to support an offense that scores six runs per game.
At 5-6 six on the season and in third place behind the Giants and Dodgers, a win over San Francisco becomes big even this early in the 2014 season for Colorado. Beating the Giants on Saturday gives the Rockies a chance to take two out of three, and will be a great boost in confidence as they head for San Diego for a four-game series starting on Monday.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies