Is there such a thing as a heartening loss? The Rockies could have gotten blown out in this one, with Ubaldo Jimenez walking five and hitting two, the backbreaker coming on a 2-RBI single to Braves pitcher Tim Hudson. But Taylor Buchholz threw two shutout innings out of the bullpen and Garrett Atkins hit a four-run homer off of Octavio Dotel, in a mess entirely of Dotel's own devising. As encouraged Braves fans should be by the early play of Mark Teixeira, it's not so good that Atlanta's other major deadline acquisition is turning seven innings of shutout ball by Hudson into a save situation with one scant third of an inning.
Last year I made a habit of looking at the Rockies' and their opponents' walk and strikeout totals after every game; with their contact pitching staff and offense of young, fastball-hitting players Colorado was very seldom on the plus side in both categories and more often than not got beaten twice. This year, they're still free-swinging but their pitching staff has enough heat to make the strikeout category a contest: Jimenez struck out seven and Buchholz added a pair in two innings. This ranks as a positive development.
Seeing how well Atlanta is playing and how energized they seem by their big-ticket new teammate (which by the way meant so long for now for Julio Franco, but he appears amenable to going to the minors and, hey, he's only 49, his best years are ahead of him), I'm not going to complain if the Rockies lose this series and come home with a 3-3 trip. If they keep cleaning up at Coors, .500 on the road is perfectly acceptable.