The Rockies needed a win in the worst way, which was no more apparent than in the ninth inning as their closer Rafael Betancourt warmed up with a four run lead. Despite the lack of a save opportunity, the Rockies have an off day Thursday and Manager Jim Tracy took no chances.
Betancourt came in, the Padres went down in order, and just like that the losing streak was no more.
The Rockies received major contributions from two rookies in this victory. Christian Friedrich, 24, who I wrote about Wednesday around noon, made his MLB debut and picked up the victory. Wilin Rosario struck out twice and still has a .255 OBP on the season, but he had the go-ahead double that put the Rockies ahead for good.
Friedrich was the real story, however, as he posted the second highest Game Score (62) for a Rockies starting pitcher this month (trailing only Drew Pomeranz' 63). Friedrich sat 91-94 mph with his fastball while mixing in 15 curveballs and seven sliders, according to Brooks Baseball. He also threw three cutters, just to let Cliff Lee know he was listening.
Friedrich went six innings, allowing five hits, two runs, one earned, while striking out seven and walking just one. It was a quality start and just the 11th of the year for the Rockies pitching staff, which of course still puts them last in the National League. The question today is how many more of these quality starts can we expect from Friedrich?
Surely, Friedrich has forced himself back into the Rockies plans with the way he's pitched so far this year. His seven strikeouts in Wednesday's start tied the season high for a Rockies starter (Jeremy Guthrie has five strikeouts in four starts). With Jhoulys Chacin and Jeremy Guthrie on the DL, the opportunity is there for the taking for Friedrich.
Chris Nelson had two hits and two RBI in this game as well. Jonathan Herrerra has really cooled off recently and if Nelson is given more playing time and hits he could take over at third base until Nolan "The Future" Arenado is finally called up.