It was a two man show on Sunday as the Rockies beat the Cubs 2-0 and won the series for their second road series win of the year. Tyler Chatwood dominated the Cubs lineup top to bottom and Arenado provided all the offense he would need to get the win.
Chicago had only three hits all game long, with two coming off of Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood was perfect 4.2 innings before allowing a walk to Jorge Soler. Javier Baez would follow that up with a hit, but nothing would come from the threat as Chatwood got David Ross to ground out. Jon Lester would double in the next inning and that was the only other hit Chatwood allowed.
Chatwood won the pitchers duel between him and Jon Lester. Lester was nothing short of amazing, but he did allow a run where Chatwood kept the Cubs off the board. Lester did strikeout 10 of the Rockies hitter, but a key mistake he made to Nolan Arenado left the ballpark and that would be the only run the Rockies would need.
Arenado who homered in the fourth off of Lester, would go deep again in the ninth to give the Rockies an insurance run. They were Arenado’s fifth and sixth homers of the year and it appears he is going to keep up his power numbers from last year. Arenado has also gotten back on track after his slow start. It was a short slump, but Arenado adjusted just as he was expected to and is looking great at the plate again.
The Rockies bullpen was also key in this game. Miguel Castro came in the eighth for a scoreless inning and reduce his ERA to 1.50. Castro has been a perfect setup man this season so far and has been practically untouchable. His prior experience at closer for the Blue Jays has given him some experience in high leverage situations and it is clear he can keep calm when the game is close.
The Rockies newly acquired closer, Jake McGee, has also been terrific to start the year. He hasn’t been as dominant as Castro, but he has been just as effective and was able to close the game out today for his third save of the season. He did run into some trouble in the ninth when Jason Heyward doubled with one out and then Anthony Rizzo got hit by a pitch. With two runners on and Kris Bryant up at the plate, flashes of his walk-off against the Rockies last year came buzzing through my head. It didn’t help that the Colorado TV crew brought it up and made me feel as though they were trying to jinx McGee, but he blew a fastball on the outside corner past the swing of Bryant and gave the Rockies the win.
This series was a great change of pace for the pitchers from top to bottom. All of the starters were very efficient and effective, even spot starter Bergman, and if the Rockies can keep that up they will compete. The offense will perform, there is no question about it, but with the pitchers using their stuff effectively the Rockies become a very scary team. Hopefully they can bring this fire into Cincinnati and take another series win from the Reds.