Well, I was ready to go and put a bag over my head after that recent six-game losing streak came hot on the heels of a five-game losing streak. And now Colorado was won two in a row, albeit at home, albeit against Pittsburgh. The statistics suggest that the Pirates are a little better than their record, but not that much better. A series win at home against a bad team is about the very least the Rockies could do at this point after the brutal California trip and the embarrassing Coors sweep at the hands of the Marlins. There is something weirdly unsatisfying about today's win, a brutal 16-9 Planet Coors game featuring four-, five-, and six-run innings. One thing the Rockies have been consistently able to do throughout their lifetime as a franchise is win games with football scores at home. Since they've never been much good, there's no evidence to prove or disprove the theory that a precondition of winning baseball in Denver is scores that more closely resemble those that result from games played in the real world. Games like we've seen this year, for the most part. I know that there are Rockies fans who really like when our guys club the other guys into submission, but to me, pitchers' duels just seem...tidier. I guess that says more about me than it does the Rockies.
Anyway, good box score tonight. The Rockies hit five sac flies, which ties a record. Who knew? Yorvit Torrealba had a four-run home run. Jamey Carroll has eight hits in the last two games. Sorry I ever said you should play less, Jamey. Colorado scored its sixteen runs off of only fourteen hits, only one of which was a homer. That means they walked a lot (nine times), which warms my heart. Sure, Josh Fogg did allow eight runs, but Fogg was about due for one of those games at home, and the bullpen only let in one further Pirate tally. Scott Dohmann earned his first win of the season, though not of his career. And Clint Hurdle was ejected again! He's becoming a regular Billy Martin.
I'm watching Game Two of the Stanley Cup finals as I write this, and it looks like the loss of goalie Dwayne Roloson is going to sink the Oilers. It's a shame that eight-seed Edmonton's playoff star won't be available for the rest of the series, because Game One was fantastic hockey -- fast, hard-hitting, fairly officiated, with even a beautiful goal on a penalty shot. The wild ending, where Roloson's rusty backup let in a cheap goal with less than a minute to go, was a heartbreaking but fitting end to a game of wild swings. The Oilers outplayed Carolina for two solid periods, with the all the momentum when the teams were at equal strength, but couldn't take advantage of a string of power plays. A late goal in the second kept the Hurricanes' hope alive, and they looked like a new team in the third period, surging into the lead 4-3. The Oilers finally got a power play goal to tie it, and it looked like OT was in the offing, but Roloson went down with a knee injury, and there went the game and probably the series. According to ESPN Radio fewer people watched Game One than NCAA women's softball on Monday. Well, I still care about hockey. The game is better after the rules changes brought on by last year's strike, and the officials seem to have found a good medium between calling obstruction like they're supposed to and maintaining the NHL playoffs' proud tradition of guys beating the crap out of each other. It makes no difference to me that no one in the U.S. is watching, although I'm sure the Outdoor Life Network feels quite differently.
If the NHL finals end up being a short, dull series due to the Roloson injury, so be it; this month provides an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sports. MLB is just beginning to separate the early-season wonders (cough, cough, DETROIT, cough) from the real-deal contenders, the NBA's big comeback season is concluding with what on paper looks like a dazzler of a series, and there's this soccer thing going on. Just try and get me away from the TV!