Colorado Rockies ace pitcher, Jhoulys Chacin, by all recent indications is back. Following a May stint on the 15-day DL, Chacin struggled in his return to the Rockies starting lineup in late May and early June. One could go so far as to say Chacin came in to June as a lamb generally struggling to get out of the fifth inning and surrendering 12 runs in just 16 innings of work.
That said, if his early performances of June were described as that of a lamb, he roared down the stretch of the month like a lion. In his last 23.2 innings of work Chacin has surrendered just two runs. Two runs that were scored on a home run when Chacin had two outs and two strikes in a near complete game shutout in a victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in Colorado.
Chacin steps up to the level of Jorge De La Rosa and Tyler Chatwood on the season making the Rockies’ top three starters possibly the greatest in team history. A bold statement I understand, but right now the three Colorado guns are as solid as the jagged edges that make up the Rocky Mountains–they are that good.
Chacin would face San Francisco Giants hurler Barry Zito Friday. Zito has been a proverbial thorn in the side of Rockies country. So much so that metaphorically speaking, if the Rockies offense were “Supermen,” Zito has been the kryptonite. Before a late May victory over Zito in Colorado, the Rockies hadn’t beaten Zito since 2010, just short of two years.
With the Friday night victory, the Rockies have now had Zito’s number in two of their last three games. In the victory Friday Chacin threw 95 pitches allowing three hits and no runs in eight innings of work–solid.
The Rockies shutout bid would end in the top of the ninth when Buster Posey took Rex Brothers yard snapping a franchise record setting scoreless streak of 32 innings for Brothers.
One record setting streak that wouldn’t be snapped Friday night was that of Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer would hit a two run blast, his 14th of the season to extend his record setting hit streak to 25 games.
The impact of the win Friday cannot be overstated. Despite an incredible skid, the Rockies find themselves a mere three games back in the NL West race. Capitalizing on home games versus division foes is absolute imperative.
The three game series will continue Saturday as De La Rosa takes the mound for the Rockies. The importance of home games during a turbulent stretch in the Rockies schedule cannot be over stated. Suffering their share of hard luck and injury, the Rockies get a minor reprieve with the next five home games before another 10-game road trip just before the All-Star break.
They simply have to continue to capitalize.