Clint Hurdle was serious when he put his starters on notice that with the acquisition of Jason Hammels from Tampa Bay, he would be sending one of his starters down to Colorado Springs. Franklin Morales seemed to be the guy who was sitting on that bubble and no sooner had he posted his first win of the season, he was informed he had been replaced.
Morales pitched a solid 6 innings yesterday chalking up his first victory of the season holding the Snakes to 1 run on four hits getting his first win of the ‘09 season. It is debatable whether he will be in the lineup to pitch April 21st since being optioned to AAA Colorado Springs last night.
The Rockies 3rd game in their series with Arizona dealt up another memorable first for the Rockies’ only rookie when CF Dexter Fowler, starting his first game of the season, led off by launching the first pitch of the game for his first major league home run.
Seth Smith stepped up again last night when he belted a pinch hit home run to help Colorado take down the Diamondbacks 9-2.
And Troy Tulowitski, showing smarts and patience at the plate, walked 3 times for the first time in his career. Could this be the influence of the new hitting coach?
Another bright spot in the game was the continued high level performance delivered by Rockies’ set up man, Manny Corpas, who some said lost the closer’s job to Huston Street this year because the velocity of his pitches dropped to 90mph. Well, the last 2 nights, Corpas has been steadily increasing the speed of his pitches, cranking them up last night to a respectable 94 in the 8th.
We may only be three games into a long season but Hurdle’s lineup continues to show us appreciable depth and his ability to stick to his game plan to rest the 36 year old Helton every 3 days or so. Putting up 9 runs on 9 hits and just 5 strikeouts, Hurdle played Atkins at 1st in place of Helton, Baker at 3rd, Barmes at 2nd, Hawpe in right, Fowler in center, Spillborghs in left, Tulowitski at short, with Torrealba catching-giving Iannetta the day off.
Next stop - the Rockies open at home Friday against the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies. Yes, Ryan, the weather should be good for the flip flops.
Regardless of the outcome, Denver fans should be thrilled to watch a team that is a lot of fun, and a group of guys who really love the game of baseball and aren’t afraid to show it. So far this season, the Colorado Rockies are delivering the pure joy of baseball.
Cubs fans get ready – the Rocks roll in to Chicago for their first 3 game series Monday, April 13th.
WHO IS JASON HAMMELS?
Jason Hammels RHP was acquired from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays by Colorado in exchange for Minor League relief pitcher Aneury Rodriguez on April 4th.
26 years old, Hammels has thrown hard for the last 3 years in the Rays organization, a team loaded with pitching again this year. Coming off a 2008 season in which he logged 28 starts over 73 games, 5.90 ERA over the last 3 years, Hammels, who has always been noted as a hard thrower, was deemed an unaffordable luxury by Tampa Bay when they selected Jeff Niemann as their 5th starter.
Hammels throws a 90-92 mph fastball with the ability to ratchet it up to 93-97 when situations demand. He also brings above average major league curveball, slider, and changeup.
We’re looking forward to Hammels’ first appearance with Colorado in the next couple of weeks. He's already been added to our list of question marks for 2009.
About the Author
Written by Denni Secline