The home run and the win bring the Rockies record back to .500 at 12-12 as they begin an important stretch of baseball on Friday. The Atlanta Braves were a half game out of first place in the NL East entering Wednesday, those Braves will come to Coors for a three game set before the Rockies hit the road. Colorado will be on the road for eight games; three with the Padres, three with the Dodgers, and two with the Giants. Upon returning to Coors Field, the Rockies will then face the Diamondbacks.
So, as you can see, the Rockies will be facing off with the other teams that reside in their division and we all know that those are the games that will inevitably decide their place in the race for the division.
The Rockies will also have to endure this stretch of games without their best pitcher from last year Jhoulys Chacin. After an offseason that drew criticism from General Manager Dan O'Dowd, Chacin pitched to a 7.30 ERA in 5 starts and 24.2 IP. Although he recorded 22 strikeouts, they came with 15 walks and 7 home runs allowed.
After the game Wednesday, the Rockies announced that they have optioned Chacin to Triple-A Colorado Springs and recalled LHP Christian Friedrich. A 1st round pick in the 2008 Draft (25th overall), Friedrich drastically changed his conditioning program this offseason and showed up to Spring Training 30 lbs lighter. He also spent time in the offseason working out with Phillies ace Cliff Lee.
Friedrich dropped off most publications top 100 prospects lists because of an ugly 5.00 ERA at Double-A last year, but he has made some changes since then and has pitched four good starts at Triple-A this year. In 24.1 innings with Triple-A Colorado Springs, has recorded 21 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a 0.82 WHIP. In the PCL, that's pretty good.
Friedrich was already on the Rockies 40-man roster, so there won't be a need for a corresponding move other than optioning Chacin of course.
With a tough ten game stretch awaiting and without one of their young guns, it's time for some of the Rockies to step up. Carlos Gonzalez, who hit two home runs Wednesday (seven on the year), has carried the offense over the last week, but someone will have to step up on the road as his career OPS on the road is a mere .743.
Or could someone possibly emerge from the Rockies rotation to anchor the staff? Drew Pomeranz sure looked the part on Wednesday with 6.2 innings pitched and five strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 4.05 on the season.