Zimmermann lulled the Rockies bats to sleep, giving Oswalt no run support in his debut.
Despite the loss, the effort was a success for Oswalt – sort of. In just five innings of work, he fanned 11 Nationals hitters setting the high mark for Rockies’ pitchers on the season. Of course, he also gave up four runs in those five innings of work.
Although Oswalt made an early exit in the fifth, it had nothing to do with fatigue or inabilities; instead, it was the Rockies’ loyalty to a designated 100-pitch count for all starters this season.
The Rockies currently find themselves in a free fall since the departure of injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Five days ago, the Rockies seemed to be managing without Tulo lighting up opposing pitching and was sitting a mere half game out of the NL West Division lead.
With Thursday’s loss, the Rockies find themselves locked with the San Diego Padres for third, three games behind division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. They are on the threshold of dropping below .500 and in to fourth place in the division.
The Rockies have certainly been resilient to this point living through more than their fair share of hard luck, injury and roster adjustments this season. But none of those deterrents are new to Colorado during the course of this season. They’ve been there, done that.
But somewhere along the line of their recent struggles, they seem to have lost that gritty attitude and spark that they have survived on this season. To remain competitive within their division, they are going to need to again find it.
Their next opportunity to get back on track will be Friday in game two of the series featuring an intriguing matchup between Tyler Chatwood and Stephen Strasburg. Both starting pitchers will be throwing in their second game since return from recent injury.
Chatwood has been the guy in Colorado this season boasting a 2.33 ERA. The timing for his next outing couldn’t be more right.