I arrived home from band practice during the top of the ninth inning. Was I just in time to see the Rockies end their losing streak, or was I in time to see the most heartbreaking collapse yet? Recently I've been too busy with non-baseball issues to catch as much of the games as I would like, but I do always try to tune in for an inning or so and lately every time I do the team's fortunes immediately take a turn for the worse. For the Rockies recently, taking a turn for the worse is no easy trick. Brian Fuentes unbelievably allowed the tying run to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, a storybook setup for a Rockies meltdown, but nothing came of it.
I've been talking about the Rockies' lack of a shutdown, losing streak-busting starter repeatedly lately. Could it be that the real Jeff Francis is back? If Francis can team up with Aaron Cook to give Colorado two non-useless starters, the Rockies can go a long way on their quest back to respectability. A good or even mediocre season is out of the question at this point, but the Rockies at the very least can defend the honor of the franchise by posting a higher winning percentage in each successive month from here on out.
I'd never really given up on the Channel, but I was avoiding confronting the issue by mentioning him directly as little as I could. It is tough to see your favorite (current) major league player get roughed up game after game like Jose Lima. I feel that I'm jinxing Jeff now by even mentioning this one (seven inning, zero ER) good start. He's had some other isolated good starts this year, but he's never gone back to back with them. We'll have to wait to see that, and probably another two of the next three, before we can officially pronounce him recovered. But now would indeed be a good time.
The other story in the game was an excellent two-point takedown of Matt Kemp by Yorvit Torrealba, after Torrealba bumped into Kemp fielding a dropped third strike. Kemp shoved, Yorvit shoved very hard back, and then Torrelba dropped down and efficiently took Kemp to the ground. They wrestled wildly until the scrap was broken up. A streak-breaking fight, a spirit-building exercise on the part of the ejected Torrealba? It's also possible that Yorvit is in a bad mood from having lost playing time, hitting .229, playing on a horrible team, having to call pitches for pitchers who don't have any to throw, or some combination of all of those and just overreacted to Kemp being a bit of a baby. I don't think it was any brawl that helped the Rockies end their run of losses, I think it was getting great pitching from Francis (and the two reliable Colorado relief pitchers, Taylor Buchholz and Brian Fuentes).
But a little rhubarb never hurts anybody. I mean, except the people who get hurt.