The Colorado Rockies face the Washington Nationals this afternoon in steamy weather at Nationals Park in the nation’s capital hoping to build on Friday evening’s gratifying defeat of the Nats and All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
Drew Pomeranz has been lurching about since his acquisition by Colorado from the Cleveland Indians last summer in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. Drafted fifth overall in the 2011 draft out of Mississippi, Pomeranz was with Akron in the AA Eastern League when the deal went down, had to cool his heals for a couple weeks to gain sufficient time in the Cleveland system to be moved along, made a couple of starts in Tulsa, and then went down with appendicitis. Three weeks later he made his first of four September starts for the Rockies to close-out 2012. Expected to be a key member of the Colorado rotation this season, Pomeranz was first held-back a start to “conserve on MLB innings,” then he made a few more starts with the Rockies, now with junk-baller Jamie Moyer in his ear, and finally was dispatched back to Colorado Springs to work on his motion and velocity. As he accumulated starts for the Sky Sox, once the month of June started winding down he started feeling it and simply told himself, “Look, I gotta do this. Grab it and throw it.” Sunday in Denver he returned to the Rockies and delivered six innings of 1-run/2-hit ball only to lose to San Diego.
Friday he out-dueled Strasburg over 6 1/3 scoreless frames of (dubious) one hit baseball. Dexter Fowler mis-judged the sole short fly-ball that dropped for a single as Pomeranz struck-out six and walked two, throwing 81 pitches, 53 for strikes. Matt Belisle picked it-up in the seventh, and Rex Brothers came on for the last out in the eighth before creating trouble in the ninth that resulted in Rafael Betancourt’s 14th save of 2012.
Tyler Colvin delivered the offense for Colorado, with a solo homer off Strasburg in the second and a 2-run shot in the fourth. Fowler hammered a solo shot off of Tom Gorzelanny in the seventh, and Carlos Gonzalez scored on a Michael Cuddyer sacrifice fly in the eighth to give Colorado a 5-0 lead before Brothers served-up a solo homer to Ryan Zimmerman leading off the ninth.
Colvin has now effectively, in a situation proving to be more delicate than seems necessary, displaced Rockies legend Todd Helton in the Colorado line-up. Since June 9, he is hitting .372 (29-for-78) with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. Marc Stout of Root Sports adds the following facts about the outfielder acquired from Chicago in the Ian Stewart deal:
- He hit 20 homers in his rookie year of 2010.
- 10 of his 39 career homers have come in June, and he now has 11 in July, the most in any month of his career.
- 32 of his career home runs have come against right-handed pitchers, 7 against left-handers.
- 28 of his 39 career homers have come against five opponents, STL (7), HOU (5), CIN (4), LAAoA (4), MIL (4), and WASH (4).
- He has more than doubled his output of a year ago home-run and RBI-wise: he hit .150 for the Cubs last year in 80 games, 6 home-runs, 20 RBI; this year he is at .311 through 83 games, 13 home runs, 40 RBI.
Jeff Francis (2-1, 5.16) follows Pomeranz this afternoon for Colorado. Until Pomeranz’ arrival last week the left-hander had been the Rockies only effective starter, allowing only five runs his past four starts. Gio Gonzalez (11-3, 3.01) is Washington’s second All-Star pitcher. He has allowed four runs each in victories over Atlanta and the Rockies his past two starts.
Washington is not enjoying the cool respite that has drifted into the Mile High City. The current temperature is a record-high 103 degrees, with 28% humidity and winds from the west at 5 mph. Rockies TV is on Root, with radio KOA 850 am. The lineups:
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
1B Michael Cuudyer
RF Tyler Colvin
3B Jordan Pacheco
C Wilin Rosario
SS Jonathan Herrera
P Jeff Francis
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
C Jesus Flores
P Gio Gonzalez