Colorado Rockies take down the D-Backs 3-0 in a brilliant pitcher’s duel between Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0) and Dan Haren (0-1).
Dan O’Dowd’s game plan for creating a successful small market team, with limited budget, to compete in a billion dollar sport by developing players through the club’s instructional and minor league system has been a controversial one and one that has, at times, drawn the criticism and ire of Colorado fans.
Last night’s pitcher’s duel in Arizona showed that he may just be on the right track. Every position player in Hurdle’s starting lineups in the first 2 games played this season were either drafted or signed by the Rockies.
Two weeks ago, I talked about what I thought would be a few of the big question marks faced by the Colorado Rockies this season if they were going to be capable of fielding a winning team. Two games into the season and there have already been some pleasant developments.
Pitching – Ubaldo Jiminez pitched 7 aggressive, thoughtful innings of baseball and seems to have kept the focus he developed through the end of the 2008 season and carried into spring training this year. Here’s what we’ve been watching – will Jiminez maintain his focus? Will he start overthrowing if he gets fatigued. Neither occurred last night as Jiminez posted 8 strike outs, 4 walks, while giving up just 4 hits, and 0 runs in a game he was throwing his complete repertoire – fastball, changeup, curveball, slider. At times, Ubaldo was so much in control, he appeared to be pulling too many of his pitches out of his bag of tricks on a night when he had the speed to throw right past Arizona’s best hitters. Imagine a change up thrown your way at 86-88 mph when the average speed of a major league fastball clocks in at 88 mph.
Not much can be said in criticism of Jiminez who also contributed offensively by laying down a perfect bunt to advance Barmes into scoring position in the 3rd. Another example of the impact of Don Baylor on the Rocks’ hitting as Jiminez executed his run off the bunt perfectly by stepping in front of Arizona catcher, Montero dictating his play and blocking any possible throw to 2nd.
Tulowitski – back to back game home runs with the game winner Tuesday night to break a 0-0 tie. Tulowitski was the only player to get to either pitcher in 6 innings of shut out ball. Tulowitski showed he still has his stuff defensively as he went deep in the hole behind third base, jumping off his back foot to make his signature acrobatic throw to first.
Ian Stewart – Clint Barmes started in place of Ian Stewart at Tuesday but that didn’t stop Stewart from contributing to the game. Coming off the bench in the 8th, Stewart slammed a pinch hit single showing that for the first two games of the season anyway, Stewart is here to stay.
Dexter Fowler – Pinch hit for Jiminez in the 8th and posted his first at bat of the 2009 season. Smart and cautious at the plate (again the shadow of Baylor) Dexter drew a walk. Later, Fowler also showed he has the speed and range needed to cover center field as he ran down a long fly ball in deep right center field.
Huston Street – posted his first save as a Rocky when he shut down the Arizona offense in the bottom of the 9th giving up 1 hit and chalking up his 1st K. The 2005 AL ROY looks to be a great addition to the Rockies’ bullpen coming over to the team in the Matt Holliday trade. We’ll be keeping a close eye on his performance this year and look forward to many more saves.
It’s too early to make any definitive statements on the future of the Colorado Rockies only 2 games into the 162 game schedule but don’t you like what you see so far?
Hey Cubs’ fans – don’t forget your trip to the World Series has to go through Denver this year!
About the Author
Written by Denni Secline