Can we finally all agree that for as much as people have complained for years about the offense-nurturing nature of Coors Field that the deep alleys and sea air of Petco Park are just as bad? For a time in the game last night it looked like neither team was going to be able to score at all. Then it looked like they were never going to be able to score again. What's unfair about this is that, at least after strikeout-happy starters Jeff Francis (an incredibly important bounceback start for the Channel, let's not forget) and Jake Peavy came out of the game, the Rockies were bashing line drives that died at the warning track and the Padres were hitting into groundout after groundout. The entire San Diego bullpen seems to be accustomed to throwing high fastballs they know are going to get tattooed... all the way to the warning track. Todd Helton and Matt Holliday hit multiple shots that should have ended the game much earlier than it did, but the menace of Petco sucked them all into outfielders' gloves.
Willy Taveras had a good game, indeed, scoring both runs, but I still think it might be nice for the Rockies to have a leadoff hitter with more than 1 RBI by now. (My nominee, Troy Tulowitzki, is now up to three with the game-winner from last night. Jimmy Rollins has six.) It was the Rockies' bullpen (not to forget Francis's seven three-hit innings) to whom the night belonged. Brian Fuentes, Taylor Buchholz (who was lights-out throwing first-pitch strikes and fanned three in two innings -- give this guy a start already), Micah Bowie, Matt Herges, Manny Corpas, Ryan Speier, and Kip Wells (four shutout innings) allowed only eight collective hits in fifteen innings of work.
Thanks to these expanded box scores we have nowadays, I can tell you that the Colorado pitchers forced 31 groundballs versus 17 flyballs while the ratio for San Diego was 25 to 20. That doesn't even tell the whole story -- a lot of the Padre "flyballs" were popups, and the Rockies were driving the ball regularly, particularly the middle of the lineup. I draw two things from this -- first of all, Petco needs some kind of anti-humidor to harden the balls and make them go farther. Second of all, if you trade for a Padres reliever with scary good stats and expect them to get as many flyball outs in your ballpark, you do so at your own peril.
I would have liked to be on the comment board following this epic with you folks at home last night, but there's a funny story behind that. I had plans with my girlfriend last evening and when she arrived I asked if it was OK if we listened to records until the game was over. I thought it was going to be an important contest last night, and boy, was I right. I wasn't expecting to see what I did, but I was hoping to see Colorado claw back to just one game under .500, something it took them most of the first half to finish doing last season. When the game went into extra innings, she was understandably cranky, so I explained to her -- at length -- how it's an essential part of the code of who I am that I never bail out on my team during extra-inning games. Never. I've been that way since I was ten years old. Of course, after giving this speech in the 11th or so, I was compelled to watch the entirety of the game not only because my code demands it and you my readers deserve it, but also because to not have done so would have make me look like an enormous hypocrite.