Colorado started this week with a three-game road series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers who currently have the most wins in baseball and have a sizable seven-and-a-half game lead over the Rockies in the division. On Monday, the Rox suffered a heartbreaking 13-inning loss to the Dodgers after losing a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning and great starting pitching by Ubaldo Jimenez. Monday’s loss was the ninth loss in 10 games against the Dodgers. It reminded me of the Cleveland Indians’ Manager Lou Brown in the classic movie, Major League, who had an improving young team but just couldn’t find a way to beat the league-leading Yankees.
“Maybe one of these days, we are going to figure out a way to beat those guys,” Brown said of the make-believe Indians team he led to an American League pennant.
Brown’s line is about all I could muster late Monday evening when L.A.’s Andre Ethier hit a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning. One of these days we are going to figure out how to beat those guys.
The Rockies on Tuesday evening figured out a way to beat the Dodgers 3-0 behind a brave seven-and-a-half inning performance by right-hander Jason Marquis, who, by the way, delivered some offense of his own in the seventh by smacking a two-run single.
According to the stat boys over at the Denver Post, Marquis, who should be considered an all-star, finished the evening with 66 strikes in 86 pitches. He threw the sinker about 60 times during the night, causing 16 groundball outs.
Tracy told The Post that Marquis’s performance “was something special, as good as I have seen in my seven-and-a-half years behind this desk.”
All of a sudden, the Rockies have some decent pitching, and it’s nice to see the pitchers in Rockies uniforms rely on the young fielding defense behind them. The Rockies will have played the rubber match of the series in L.A. on Wednesday evening – and, as you read this, hopefully have begun their climb to within six-and-a-half games of the leaders and pull them from the top of the NL West.
Then on Friday for the Dodgers, Manny Ramirez will be back in the lineup for Joe Torre’s hot team against the Padres. And, of course, everybody wants to know how the dreadlocked superstar is going to swing the bat after his 50-game suspension for testing positive for drug-masking agents.
Ramirez played is final game in minor league action on Tuesday with the Inland Empire 66ers, where he was one for three, with a single and two strikeouts. Overall, in his five games in the minors, he was three for 10 with one homerun, two runs and two walks. His he ready to go from the bench to the minors back into the big show, without his juice?
“Fifty games? That’s a long time,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Louis Colletti, Jr., told The Los Angeles Times, cautioning Manny fans to not expect immediate results from the slugger.
I, for one, am hoping that Manny doesn’t bring immediate – or any – results, for that matter, to the Dodgers. The Rockies already have their hands full in the NL West without Manny.
I remember it like it was yesterday when I first heard the news that Manny was suspended for 50 games. I was in downtown Denver on my way to see a fantastic performance by The Dead. As I left the hotel room giddy with beer I overheard the Manny suspension news and dropped everything to hear what was going on.
“This is exactly what the Rockies need to get back in front of the Dodgers,” I said to myself. “Yes, yes, yes.” I ran out on my way to the hippie love fest even happier than before; I seriously believed that the Dodgers were nothing but Manny.
Boy, was I wrong. The Dodgers are good. Damn good. My only hope now is that Manny and his unimpressive hitting down in the minors will bring the team down. I wonder what that locker room is going to be like when he returns on Friday. Maybe now, Manny, after ’roiding up for a while (or whatever he did illegally to get ahead), will not be the Manny he used to be, and actually hurt the Dodgers.
Well, Rockies fans, here’s to hoping.