Rockies win Third in a Row, Pitching Sharp Against Dodgers
This is Owen Perkins, blogging in place of Thomas Harding from March 12-16.
The Rockies have built a little momentum over the past three days, winning the second game of a split-squad match Sunday (5-2 vs the White Sox) and winning convincingly Monday (11-2 vs. the Brewers) and Tuesday (5-2 at the Dodgers.)
The key stat of those last three games is the “2” in the opposing run total. In addition to strong (though early-Cactus-short) starts from Jamie Moyer, Jeremy Guthrie, and Drew Pomeranz, the relief pitching has been equally efficient and effective.
There will be some unavoidable concern about Pomeranz’s early exit with hip tightness after two innings. The 23-year-old southpaw, 2010’s No. 5 pick overall and a key part of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade (the “player to be named later”) was conscientious about keeping pitching coach Bob Apodaca and Assistant Athletic Trainer Scott Gehret appraised of his condition, which began while warming up.
Pomeranz described it as “annoying,” and emphasized that he’s not worried about, that he could have kept pitching, and that he shouldn’t miss any time as a result. Knock on wood that he’s right, but so many springs have been derailed with those familiar final words. There was no sign of his mechanics being affected by the tightness, and he pitched a perfect two innings with a good curve and great movement on his fastball.
The travel roster was filled with position players on the cusp, many with big league experience but none assured of a spot on the Opening Day oster. Eric Young Jr. had a good leadoff bat, working the count and seeing a lot of pitches from Chris Capuano, though he was called out on what might have been ball four. Jonathan Herrera had a couple hits and Chris Nelson and Tyler Colvin contributed as they have consistenty so far this spring. Jorand Pacheco, Brandon Wood, and Charlie Blackmon all cooled their heels with 0-fors.
The Rockies split squads again Wednesday, with a revers of their Sunday split-squad make-up — the starting infield is traveling to Suprise for a 1 p.m. game against the Rangers and the starting outfield is facing the Diamondbacks for a 7 p.m. game at Salt River Fields.
Of note — Michael Cuddyer will start the 7 p.m. game at first base. Manager Jim Tracey wants to get Cuddyer some experience at first with double-switches in mind. He also plans to give Cuddyer some starts in right then move him to first mid-game so he can get used to the dynamic of switching positions in the late innings should a Helton or Giambi come out for a pinch-runner or in a double-switch.
It sounds unlikely that Casey Blake will play in either of Wednesday’s game. After two days with a stiff neck, he and Tracy agreed to take two or three days to rest and see how things progress.