Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Boys of Summer

I am quite favorably impressed. At the time of my last writing, the Rockies had just managed to trip up the Red Sox 12-2 and had a crack at clinching the series with Jeff Francis on the mound --- but they had to go through undefeated Josh Beckett first. Much to my surprise, they did just that, hanging a six-spot on Beckett and blasting two homers off him (a grand slam by Garrett Atkins and a solo shot by Matt Holliday) to almost double his season total yielded (from three to five). They rolled to a 7-1 final and started to, well, look like an actual Major League Baseball team. (While I love them, this is not always something I will grant of them). Then, faced with an overnight flight and a 3 AM MT arrival in Denver, they went out and showed no signs of jetlag, laying a 12-2 ass-thrashing on the Devil Rays. Atkins and Hawpe homered again (back-to-back in the first inning) and the Rockies dinged another pitcher's perfect record (the 6-0 mark sported by James Shields, who's surprisingly good for, you know, being a Devil Ray). Matt Holliday is now two shy of the NL RBI lead, after leading in a number of other major statistical categories (and still being eighth for an NL All-Star starting outfield spot. Fan voting is a joke, but that is another post).

Then last night, in a game that myself, my sister, and our friend Betsy from Purple Row attended, they did it again. Brad smacked his 11th homer of the year, tying him for the team lead with Holliday, in the form of a first-inning grand slam that had everyone confused. Jonny Gomes ran with his glove up as if he was going to catch the ball, so Gillian thought it was a flyout. It was veering toward the stands, so I thought it was foul, and Betsy had no idea where the ball was at all, so when the stadium began stamping and cheering, we looked at each other, went, "What the hell?" and happily joined in. Have to admit, I felt a bit giddy after my boy had just done that with me in attendance. My other boy, however... I find him irresistible now that he's taken my advice and gone with the high socks, but his pitching was hard to watch. I'm talking about Jason Hirsh, of course, the first time since New York I got to see a Rockies starter aside from Cook. Hirsh had a great outing last time, but he was extremely unsteady for most of his short and eventful 4.1 innings, yielding five runs and becoming unable to get a shutdown inning to save his life. Taylor Buchholz relieved with the lead at 7-5 and two men on and managed to snuff the opportunity, and the pen (shockingly) was untouchable the rest of the night.

The final tally was 10-5, and part of that came from Atkins going deep for the third time in three games, a two-run bomb to make the score (at the time) 6-1. Willy Taveras also hit his second homer of the year, riding a line drive straight down the left-field line to make it 7-4 after Hirsh had coughed up three more to the D-rays in the top half of the frame. But a Jonny Gomes misplay on a routine Atkins flyball in the seventh gave Garrett his second hit and three RBIs for the game, and a botched throw on a sac fly sent the ball into the Rays dugout and allowed Helton to score, pushing the lead to the final score. The bullpen, shockingly, worked a mostly uneventful 4 2/3 innings in relief of Hirsh, and never allowed the Rays to climb back into striking distance after Buchholz snuffed their best chance to tie it.

The Rockies demoted Sean Barker, saying they wanted him to get regular playing time, and called up Cory Sullivan -- oy, I really thought we were done with the Sullivan era. He's a left-hander and a Hurdle pet, so I'm afraid he's going to take at-bats away from the hot Ryan Spilborghs (who had a pinch-hit RBI single last night). Having this kind of deadweight (Finley, Mabry) was what dragged the Rockies to their miserable start in the first place, and even though they're 17-6 since May 22 (the best record in the Majors during that span) an extended slump always seems to be just a few games away. Hopefully Sullivan sees as little action as Barker did (three plate appearances, 0-for-2: hit by pitch, groundout, strikeout) and lets Spilborghs handle the majority of pinch-hitting duties. Then again, Betsy loves Sullivan, and grabbed my leg in excitement when he was pinch-hitting last night, so oh well. :) We did have a fun time watching the game, but there were far, far too many little kids there shrieking in steam-whistle voices and making us cover our ears spasmodically and wince. Also, the Wave (which I hate) went around five-friggin'-zillion times late in the game when LaTroy Hawkins was trying not to make a pig's ear of things (he succeeded, remarkably enough) so the fans get as much of a failing grade as the boys get a passing. Oh well. I love my Rockies, and I love going to Coors; it makes me so happy.

I got Brian Fuentes to autograph my ticket, Gillian got both Brian and Todd Helton on the magazine page she's collecting signatures on, and Betsy took video of Cory Sullivan's ass when he came out to warm up. (Shhh. It's a secret). We three had a blast; women who love the game and aren't shy about loving their boys too. Betsy is the only person who gets how demented Gillian and I are, and agrees with all of our assorted demented theories, most of which I will not reprint here to avoid embarrassment for all parties. We rooted loudly, yelled, reprimanded, and cheered for the guys, and got to enjoy a win while we were at it, making me 5-2 in the 7 games I've attended this year (2 at Shea, 5 in Coors, and hopefully more to come...) The Rockies go for the sweep today with Aaron Cook trying to reverse his dismal home fortunes against Rays ace Scott Kazmir, before the fuckin' Yankees come to town. Then again, the Rox have been hitting everyone lately, so let's hope that keeps up.

Go Rockies!

No comments: