Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Rockies 20, Padres 1
2005-09-21 18:26
by Mark T.R. Donohue

This is amazing: with the Angels and A's locked in a death struggle for the AL West and the Indians and White Sox in extra innings, my eyes were locked on one bad team beating another bad team 17-1. Why? Because a position player was pitching. I love when position players pitch. Does anybody else remember Mark Grace on the mound doing a Mike Fetters impression? One of my favorite regular-season baseball memories ever. Sean Burroughs showed slightly better stuff than Grace, but allowed Matt Holliday's sixth, seventh, and eighth RBIs in the form of a big fly off the leftfield foul pole. What a game!

Seriously, you have to read the box score to this game. It's a work of art. The Padres used 21 players! Every position player on the Rockies except J.D. Closser scored at least one run! The Rockies (in addition to the club record-tying eight from Holliday) got 4 RBIs from Luis Gonzalez and 3 from pitchers! Colorado scored 15 runs in the first three innings! Jamey Wright allowed only one run in six innings pitched! Insanity!

It's games like this that make me shake my head (further) at those who think the Rockies "can't win at altitude." Indeed, in addition to the simple statistical record, Colorado ought to have a huge psychological advantage at home. They don't need to overpay for "sluggers" to blow people out. The Rockies had 23 hits, but "only" four home runs. They won in both of my beloved categories, but not by much (three walks to the Padres' two, six strikeouts to San Diego's seven). But mostly, they put the ball in play and let the field do the work. Meanwhile Jamey Wright didn't hurt himself needlessly (two walks and no home runs allowed) and by pitching effectively for the first three innings, he received the reward of a cartoonishly huge lead which let him cruise for the rest of the start.

Colorado only had to use three pitchers in a 21-run Coors game. While winning games 15-14 may ultimately be more trouble than it's worth, watching both sides of the equation work the way they're supposed to ought to carry over for longer than one victory. Or maybe they'll get hammered tonight, who knows. In any case, last night was solid theater. Who needs the humidor?

Thanks for nothing, Joe Kennedy.

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