For a team that loses three-game road series as axiomatically as the Rockies, it's hard to find many moral victories in a 1-2 trip. But, after the heartbreaking extra inning loss on Tuesday, they came back to pound the Mets 11-5 on Wednesday and salvage one game on the abbreviated road swing. That shows character, I guess. And how about that 5 for 6 day from Willy Taveras? I still don't think he's any good at all, but every dog will have his day.
I don't have much constructive to say about that loss on Tuesday. One nice thing I suppose you can find about the Rockies' pious clubhouse is that if Aaron Cook continues to be so even-tempered about getting this little run support, they can nominate him for sainthood. At least for the first time this season Cook pitched well enough to deserve to win. Brian Fuentes' failure to shut the door in the bottom of the 10th is disheartening, but perhaps if the Rockies got Fuentes more save chances, he'd be in better rhythm. It's funny, but on Tuesday night my friends and I were primarily paying attention to the Bulls-Heat game, flipping over to the Rockies during the commercials. We landed upon Fuentes with two outs in the bottom of the tenth, immediately before Damion Easley (!) took him deep. My remarkably poor channel-changing timing did not pass uncommented-upon.
So in a quirky bit of scheduling, after a whole month of NL West teams Colorado follows a road series in New York with a home series against the Mets' division rivals from Atlanta. The Braves are (surprise) good again. That rebuilding project took all of one year. Boy, fans of those East Coast franchises have it easy. You have to have special affection, or at least respect, for organizations that not only compete consistently but also do it year after year on the same basic model. Although most of the names have changed, the Braves still try to win chiefly with starting pitching and defense, and they're too good at it to try and demean their strategy as antiquated or charming. As usual, they have three really good starters with Tim Hudson having a lovely little bounceback year, John Smoltz the same as he ever was, and the young lefty Chuck James holding his own. The Rockies, as luck would have it, will avoid the nastiest of this trio in this series as Hudson pitched Wednesday at Florida. They'll get the wild Kyle Davies in addition to Smoltz and James in the three games at Coors Field.
The Rockies have their three best guys going: Jeff Francis, today looking to improve on his last poor home start in what should be a scintillating matchup of young southpaws against James, Jason Hirsh Saturday against Smoltz, and Aaron Cook Sunday vs. Davies. Are you ready for some quality starts and no-name relief pitchers? It's Braves-Rockies!