Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
White Sox 2, Rockies 1
2005-06-07 23:07
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I went to Coors Field and a baseball game broke out! It's amazing how different people experience baseball games in person. I literally couldn't take my eyes off the field as Jose Contreras, Byung-Hyun Kim, and Neal Cotts mesmerized batters; the people sitting behind me kept loudly complaining about how it was the most boring thing they'd ever seen. Bunch of mouth-breathers. I bet they voted for Nomar Garciaparra on their All-Star ballots.

The performances of Kim and Contreras today, and Freddy Garcia Monday, illustrates something I've been maintaining since first I took an interest in Colorado baseball: superlative pitching is dominant at any altitude. Contreras consistently worked ahead in the count and forced hitters to go after his pitches. Todd Helton in particular looked miserable; Helton is in one of those slumps right now where if he goes up to the plate trying to be patient, he'll take two cookies, and if he goes up swinging, he'll ground the first pitch to the second baseman. He may rethink his position about being traded soon enough.

Desi Relaford, settling in as apparently Clint Barmes' long-term replacement at shortstop and leadoff man, had a good day with two singles and a terrific diving stop of an Aaron Rowand grounder in the first. Luis Gonzalez went 0 for 4 but did help Kim out with back-to-back defensive gems in the top of the third, skying for a Scott Podsednik liner and then sliding for a Willie Harris ball on the ground. Garrett Atkins' double off the top of the wall in right center drove in the only run allowed by the White Sox' dominant pitching staff.

Boy, are the White Sox' arms ever good. Neal Cotts was unhittable, striking out four of the six men he faced in a perfect two innings. Dustin Hermanson made quick work of Brad Hawpe, Matt Holliday, and Atkins in the ninth for the save. Contreras by comparison was merely good, striking out six and walking two. It's a huge asset for Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen (and something the Rockies should be thinking about) that he only needs starters to go six innings and guys like Cotts, Hermanson, and Damaso Marte are good for multiple shutout innings in relief.

Byung-Hyun Kim had his best outing of the season, striking out seven, but a Paul Konerko double followed by a Jermaine Dye base hit and an A.J. Pierzynski single in the fourth sealed his fate. A rogue's gallery of Rockies pen-men combined for three innings of no-run, two-hit ball. Jay Witasick oddly left in the ninth so that lefty Brian Fuentes could face righthanded-hitting Dye. One hopes that Witasick isn't injured. The Rockies' trainer was out on the mound with acting manager Jamie Quirk when Jay left the game.

Hey, go check out Rockies Disaster Report, a new blog. Isn't it amazing how active the Colorado fan blogging community is considering how terrible the team has been? I don't see this many people covering the Twins or the Padres, despite those teams actually being good. There must be some sort of inborn bloody-mindedness that comes along with wearing the purple.

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