Chacin Continues To Impress as Colorado Rockies Hold on

David MartinAnalyst IMay 5, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 04:  Starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on May 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It is hard to believe, but Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin is just 23 years old.

Chacin gave up just three hits in seven innings of work. He struck out six and walked four as he picked up his fourth win of the season. The two runs he gave up came on solo home runs, essentially the only two pitches that he made mistakes on.

Finally showing up for the Rockies was the offense. Leading the way was Chris Iannetta. One night after popping out with the bases loaded and the game tied in the eighth inning, Iannetta smashed a line drive down the left field line, hooking around the foul pole for a two-run homer.

Later, Todd Helton hit a two-out double to deep center field that scored two more runs. The double was Helton's 534th of his career, tying him with some guy named Lou Gehrig for 30th on the all time list.

The game seemed to be in hand heading into the ninth inning. The Rockies held a 6-2 lead, and Matt Reynolds was still on the mound after finishing the eighth inning. He couldn't get the job done, however, giving up two hits and walking a batter.

With a run in and a runner on first base, Huston Street was summoned from the bullpen to try and collect his 11th save of the season. Street immediately got an out, but then gave up two hits of his own, allowing Reynold's second run to score.

Suddenly the Rockies were staring at the winning run walking up to the plate in the form of Kelly Johnson. Street attacked the strike zone and struck out Johnson on three pitches, allowing Rockies fans to breathe and giving the club their 18th victory of the season.

The Rockies did a much better job on the offensive side scoring runs with two outs. The fourth, fifth and sixth runs were all scored with two outs in the fifth inning, giving the Rockies a five-run lead at the time, which eventually was the difference.

The importance of Chacin's performance so far cannot be overstated. With Ubaldo Jimenez looking completely lost on the mound, the Rockies have needed their starting pitchers to step it up.

The reality is, most teams who have lost their ace, or have their ace dealing with the issues that Jimenez has had, would be reeling right now. If the Rockies were told that Jimenez would be winless come May 4th, the Rockies probably would have been thrilled with a .500 record and within striking distance in the West.

Instead, the club is eight games over .500 and on top of the National League West.
The offense was better on Wednesday, but they still need to continue to improve. Scoring six runs is better than they have been doing over the past week, but at some point, they need to break out and put together a complete game, one in which they score in more than one or two innings.

On Wednesday, every hitter had at least one hit besides Troy Tulowitzki. However, only Carlos Gonzalez had multiple hits.

The scary thing for Rockies' opponents is that this club clearly has a long way to go before they realize their full potential. When Troy Tulowitzki was hitting, Gonzalez was slumping. With Gonzalez emerging from his slump, Tulowitzki has hit a skid. Dexter Fowler is leading the league in strikeouts, but seems to come up with a big hit every night. Chris Iannetta is hitting below .200, but comes up with walks and a big home run.

With the offense still looking to find their groove, and the best pitcher in franchise history still winless, the Rockies have to be thrilled with their early season play. At some point, the Rockies will hit their stride in every aspect of their game. When that happens, the rest of the National League West might be in trouble.

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