The NL’s hottest team squared off against one of its coldest at PNC Park Friday night. At the start of the game, the outcome seemed inevitable. The Colorado Rockies were coming off a forgettable series in which they surrendered 40 runs to the Atlanta Braves while the Pittsburg Pirates came into the night riding the wave of defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in four of five games to take the lead in the NL Central Division.
Despite the polarizing momentum swings coming into the contest, it would be the Rockies night, not the Pirates.
And the Rockies needed a strong outing arguably more than any team in all of baseball. As they say, there is the good, the bad and the ugly – the Rockies were just the other side of the ugly since the All-Star break.
The offense struggled for the Rockies in Atlanta, but the starting pitching struggled exponentially worse.
The pitching struggles came to a screeching halt — if but for a night — versus Pittsburg. Jhoulys Chacin was the big story for Colorado Friday night as he pitched a gem.
Chacin worked eight innings giving up just one run on six hits to the Pirates. There was a momentary scary moment in the game for Chacin when he was struck on the wrist by a comebacker from Starling Marte in the fifth inning, but in the end, the injury had no impact on Chacin’s night. In fact, he would retire 14-consecutive Pirates before leaving the game.
It was just the effort needed by the Rockies.
Rex Brothers would come on in the ninth inning where he earned the save despite giving up one run. With the victory, the Rockies bid adieu to a horrific four-game skid. It was exactly what this ball club needed.
Looking ahead, the Rockies send Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio to the mound to finish the series with the Pirates. Despite both getting rocked by the Braves in their previous starts, De La Rosa has been solid all season and Nicasio has been salty since his return from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
By no means does the Friday night effort return the Rockies to contender status. To return to NL West relevance, there is a long uphill climb ahead. That said, Friday night was a positive for Colorado and anything positive for the Rockies is a step in the right direction.