David Zalubowski AP Photo
After Kyle Freeland exited in the first inning with an apparent leg injury, the Rockies were set with the difficult task of platooning some bullpen pitchers to get through the game. It took five pitchers after Freeland left to get through the game, but it was a well pitched performance by those guys.
Chris Rusin came in first and was terrific through three and a third innings. He struck out five, walked none, and didn’t allow a run, despite some sticky situations. Chris Rusin is easily the unsung hero of this Rockies bullpen staff being able to fill in in a game like this, or take some late, high-stress innings and still do well. Rusin can even fill in as a starter, as seen in past years, though his bullpen help is beyond valuable and that is where he will remain for the duration of the year.
This was not an offensive game, despite the chances given to the Rockies by the Phillies staff, and they scored only two runs in the first six innings, even though the Phillies starter walked six and hit a batter. The Rockies scored two in the first inning, a single by Cargo drove both in, but after that the bats went quiet. The Rockies had only seven hits, earning more free passes than hits in the game, and scored only four, but still won behind the strength of the pen.
Senzatela was the next arm to come in, and while he did not pitch as well as Rusin, he still did a commendable job. Sensei went two innings and allowed two runs, acting as part of the bridge to get to the other bullpen arms. Both runs against Senzatela came in the sixth, an inning in which he would not finish, but the Rockies kept their cool.
The Phillies finally took a lead in the seventh on a single that scored Cesar Hernandez, but the Rockies quickly retaliated. With one out, Nolan Arenado crushed a home run to the deepest part of the park to tie the game up at 3-3. This set up the Rockies eighth inning in which a couple of walks put a man in scoring position for DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu smacked a ball through the right side, as he is apt to do, and scored the Rockies fourth run, the game winning one.
Greg Holland came in to close the game out and did just that, with no stress at all. It gave Holland his 34th save of the year, lowered his ERA to 1.56 and just continues to show how valuable of a signing this one has been. If there was one offseason move, by any time, that was the most valuable and game changing, this would have to be the one.