Colorado Rockies shutout for first time in 2011

David MartinAnalyst IApril 29, 2011

During Rockies Fest at Coors Field in January, the Rockies outfielders were asked to name the toughest pitcher that they have faced.

Names like Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and other names that most would expect to hear were thrown out.

Then, Dexter Fowler had his turn. What was his answer? Kevin Correia.


Of all the difficult pitchers the Rockies face on a regular basis in the National League West, and Fowler lists Correia as the toughest.

While his answer got a few chuckles at Rockies Fest, the rest of the Rockies see what Fowler meant after Friday night's game at Coors Field against Correia and his new club, the Pirates.

The right-hander threw 6-2/3 shutout innings, giving up just three hits. He walked one and struck out four Rockies.

Colorado still holds a 16-8 record, good enough for first place in the National League West. However, as the bats continue to slump, the concerns are starting to become more relevant.

As long as the club is finding ways to win, what the offense is doing doesn't matter. When they start to lose however, especially when they have the outing that they got from Jhoulys Chacin, the concerns mount.

Carlos Gonzalez got his first hit in 26 at-bats. It came on a bunt single in the ninth inning. His approach seems to be improving, but for the majority of the month, Gonzalez has looked like the shell of the player that the Rockies have seen over the past year-and-a half.

The issue with Gonzalez may be something that everyone overlooked.

Much like Troy Tulowitzki's early trouble in 2008, Gonzalez looks as if he is trying to justify the big contract that he signed in the offseason. He is swinging hard instead of his typical smooth and easy swing.

It would be easy for a young kid to try and prove that he deserved the contract that he signed, rather than know that he earned the contract with his play in the previous seasons and continue to improve as a baseball player.

As disappointing as it might be to lose at home to the Pirates, the Rockies should be excited about the continued improvement of Chacin. At just 23 years old, he is figuring how to pitch in the big leagues, and his confidence seems to be growing every time he takes the hill.

At 4-2, both of his losses came in games that the Rockies either were one-hit, or failed to score. His continued improvement has been a huge plus for the Rockies.

The Rockies struggled to score runs and get hits, but some credit has to be given to the other side.

As Rockies fans are well aware, Clint Hurdle has the ability to motivate a young team. He has done his best to motivate his team to believe that they are good enough to win, whether at home or on the road. While the Pirates are hovering right around .500 (12-14), they are playing much better than anyone expected them to.

For the Rockies, they must now focus on finding a way to win both of the next two games against the Pirates to salvage the series. Saturday night might be a tough game as the forecast will look much more like a day in February than a day in late-April.

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