May 2, 2010
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It might be tough to send Jhoulys Chacin back to Colorado Springs.
The 23-year-old Venezuelan looked nothing like someone who was making their second big league start. He was calm, composed and full of confidence. He helped the Rockies to a 4-1 win to salvage the finale of a three game series in San Francisco.
Chacin, who has ranked among the top prospects in the Rockies organization for several years, showed the Rockies and their fans what all the fuss was about on Sunday.
The right-hander went seven innings and gave up just one hit. For a brief moment, there were some thoughts that the Rockies might not have to wait another 18 years before seeing their second no-hitter. Chacin did not give up a hit until the fifth inning with two outs.
His seven innings came with seven strikeouts and three walks. He did not give up a run.
It is hard to overstate how good of a game Chacin had. While the Giants lineup has not been touted among the leagues best, they have been playing well above the expectations that most had for them.
That, to go along with the fact that the Rockies struggle so mightily in San Francisco makes Chacin's outing that much more important.
The Rockies offense only put up four runs, but they did a good job. Facing Jonathan Sanchez, an up-and-coming lefty who threw a no-hitter in 2009, the Rockies worked counts, fouled pitches off, and waited for a pitch that they could hit, or took a walk.
With the bases loaded in fifth inning, Melvin Mora came up and poked a ball into right field. He wasn't thinking about hitting a home run, he was simply trying to get a couple of runs to cross the plate.
That is exactly the hitting approach that will help the Rockies win games against good pitchers that they will continue to face in the National League West.
With Chacin's outing, and a solid effort from Esmil Rogers on Saturday, the Rockies concern over their ailing starting rotation has to be shrinking.
Chacin showed that he has the confidence to not be overwhelmed with big league hitting, something that he seemed to be concerned with during his brief tenure in '09.
With Jason Hammel the closest starter to returning, Greg Smith may find himself looking over his shoulder if he doesn't find a way to get outs. He has struggled in his last three outings, and only made it through one inning, giving up six runs, his last time out.
The Rockies sit one game under .500. They are three games into a nine-game road trip that takes them through the California National League West teams.
Winning one of the next two series, and taking at least a game in the other series will go a long way for this club.
Two days into May and a game under .500 is a huge accomplishment for a team that notoriously struggles in the beginning of the season, and has yet to completely click on the field.
There is no one who covers the Rockies on a regular basis that would say they have hit their stride yet.
When that happens, the rest of the league should be hoping that they are leading the Rockies by a long way, because they might get left in the dust.
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