Christian Friedrich pitched four solid innings for Colorado against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. He entered the fifth inning having thrown 61 pitches, but immediately used 10 pitches to walk former Rockies Mike McKenry and Clint Barmes raising his total to 71. Erik Bedard sacrificed the runners to second and third on two pitches, and Alex Presley grounded his second pitch to Marco Scutaro for a force, driving in McKenry and raising Friedrich’s pitch total to Colorado’s self-imposed 75 pitch limit. Drew Sutton singled, driving-in Barmes. Andrew McCutchen singled. Friedrich bounced a curveball to Casey McGehee off catcher Wilin Rosario’s shoulder, scoring Presley. McGehee singled, driving-in McCutchen. 83 pitches, end of night for Friedrich.
As the hotly-debated 4-75 rotation approaches the one-month mark it’s worth noting that seemingly without exception, if a Rockies starter is going to lose it (Gopher-ball Guthrie excepted), it happens just as the 75 pitch limit is reached. Is the limit a self-fulfilling prophesy? Are the guys starting to pack it in as the limit looms? Well, it’s difficult to say because when a guy is pitching well, he’s removed once the limit is eclipsed.
The 4 runs the Pirates plated in the fifth put them ahead 5-2, and Pittsburgh went on to defeat Colorado 6-2 on a pleasant night for the 42,574 who sat-in at Coors Field. Bedard limited the Rockies to 2 runs (1 earned) in 6 2/3 innings of work. Jared Hughes, Chris Resop, Juan Cruz and Joel Hanrahan held-off the Rockies, who loaded the bases three times, including in the ninth, failing to score each time. Colorado put three on with two out in the bottom of the first, but Bedard got Jordan Pacheco to ground-out to Barmes. In the seventh with two out and Scutaro, Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez aboard, Michael Cuddyer flew-out to center. And in the ninth, again with two out, Fowler, Gonzalez and Cuddyer walked, but pinch hitter Tyler Colvin struck out to end the game.
The Rockies opened the scoring in the third when Scutaro and Fowler singled. Scutaro moved-up to third on a double-play grounder off the bat of Gonzalez. Cuddyer lifted a fly ball to left field that Pittsburgh’s Presley muffed, and Scutaro scored. The Pirates came right back when McCutchen led-off the fourth with his 22nd home run. McCutchen is hitting left-handers at an insane rate in 2012. He is 50 for 104 against them. Colorado took the lead back in the bottom of the inning when Rosario walked leading-off and scored on a triple by rookie Josh Rutledge. Then came Friedrich’s big adventure in the fifth.
A rubber game is on tap tomorrow afternoon at 1:10 pm MDT. Guthrie (3-9, 6.14) will oppose Pittsburgh’s James McDonald (9-3, 2.59) in a battle of right-handers. Television is on both Root Sports and the MLB Network, with radio on KOA 850 am.