|The Rockies are going to have to give time to their young arms.|
Nothing was too special, or too unexpected from Sunday’s Colorado Rockies 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Cole Hamels pitched like an ace who will be highly coveted as a free agent in the offseason. Drew Pomeranz pitched like a rookie with a ton of promise, but still making small mistakes that are common of players with a lack of big league experience.
Pomeranz big mistake came in the 5th inning when he gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins. With the speedster on first base, Pomeranz attempted a pick off, but threw wildly to first, landed Rollins on second base. The lefty then walked Shane Victorino after looking like he was thrown off by the poor throw. Immediately following the walk, Hunter Pence deposited a three-run homer into left field, giving the Phillies five runs, and essentially ensuring the victory.
On the other side, Hamels was simply himself. He went eight strong innings, mixing and matching and keeping the Rockies off balance. He had no trouble with Coors Field, understanding the importance of keeping the ball down in the strike zone in order to attain success. He induced 11 ground ball outs, while only recording one out via the fly ball.
In a year when the Rockies have nearly hit rock bottom, it has become almost laughable to hear general manager Dan O’Dowd and manager Jim Tracy insist that Coors Field is playing differently, that the ball is suddenly flying out of the park again, and that the humidor doesn’t seem to be doing its job. It seems that every time one of those two make that excuse, an opposing pitcher comes into Coors Field and proves their theory wrong.
On Sunday, that was Hamels. His eight innings of one run baseball was the best example of that since C.J. Wilson dominated the Rockies in early June. The fact is, good pitching, pounding the lower half of the strike zone, coupled with good defense is going to induce ground ball outs.
Young pitchers like Pomeranz, Alex White and Christian Friedrich are going to have a learning curve coming to the big leagues. They are going to have to figure out how to get big league hitters out. Games like Pomeranz had on Sunday are going to happen as part of the process. None of them are going to be dominant right away, that just isn’t how it typically works.
However, the key is for the Rockies to continue to preach to the young pitchers the formula for success at the big league level. They have to teach them to continue to pitch to contact, with the occasional strikeout pitch. They need to pound the strike zone and allow their defense to do the work and things will go well for them.
If the Rockies can preach that mindset, and get their young pitchers to believe that they can pitch well at Coors Field, the Rockies might have a chance to win in 2013. They must stop using Coors Field as an excuse and start using the park as the advantage that it really should be.
In the meantime, Rockies fans should still be excited about what the future holds for some of their young arms. Pomeranz, White, Friedrich and Nicasio have all shown promise. They all have the capability of being very good Major League pitchers. If they realize that potential, the Rockies could quickly turn the ship around and become a contender, or at least respectability.