I went out to Coors Field today fully expecting the young Rockies to beat up on Shawn Estes and improve my season record for games I've attended in person to 3-0. Alas, it was not to be. Once again, the Rockies bullpen managed to put the game just out of reach for an offense that was sporadically brilliant (two 2-out RBI singles in the fourth inning) and elsewhere (the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th) disappointing. The pitching kept Luis Gonzalez, Jose Cruz, and Shawn Green from doing much damage, but took it on the chin from Craig Counsell (homer), Royce Clayton (RBI double), and Alex Cintron (RBI double).
Clint Barmes did extend his hitting streak, and Garrett Atkins hit a solo shot, but it was a tough day for the Rockies' bats all around. Todd Helton had a bad day including a bizarre sacrifice bunt in the fourth. Why would your number three hitter be sacrificing in the fourth inning of a 1-1 game? Anybody? I couldn't see the play too well from my seat in the rightfield bleachers, but my guess is Helton was trying to bunt for a hit and the official scorer gave him a hometown call. Helton was useless with runners on, unlike Preston Wilson, who bolstered his trade value with a 3 for 4, two-double outing.
The game could have been a lot less close had it not been for some good outfield defense on the part of the Rockies (and poor play by their counterparts on the D-Backs; Shawn Green let a popup drop in front of him). Matt Holliday and Dustan Mohr each delivered brilliant snags in the middle innings. Barmes however continued to scuffle at short, he lost a Gonzalez grounder in the first to allow Counsell to score the first run of the game from second.
Jay Witasick continues to be unpredictable out of the pen. Today he was great, striking out both men he faced in the top of the seventh. Jose Acevedo played the role of the goat, walking Green and allowing Cintron's double to score him in the decisive top of the eighth. Jason Jennings was his usual self, walking a few, giving up a hit an inning, seeming on the verge of getting knocked out the whole time. Then you look up, and see he's gone 6 1/3, 3 earned...that's not so bad. But he takes the loss anyway. To Shawn Estes. What's a guy got to do?
Boy, it's a real treat writing my recap off of my handwritten scorecard instead of an Internet box score. I need to get to the ballpark more often. I voted for the All-Star Game again, this time using the paper ballot, and I noticed that Clint Barmes is listed first among the shortstops in the National League (because it's alphabetical). That gives him a really good chance of getting voted in, I think, since Omar Vizquel is way at the end and Neifi Perez isn't even on the ballot. If Clint keeps his average up, he'll no doubt be named as a reserve by National League manager Tony La Russa. But it'd be cool to see him start!