With most pitchers on the mound, a 12-0 lead is all but certain to hold up.
With Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound, pitching the way he has in April? The opposition has no chance. That was the situation Tuesday night, as the Rockies jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first three innings, shelling Diamondbacks starter Edwin Jackson, and finishing it off with a 12-1 win, giving Ubaldo Jimenez his major-league-leading fifth win of the season. Jimenez allowed just two hits and dropped his ERA to a spectacular 0.79, and he's established himself as the early frontrunner for the NL Cy Young Award.
The offense, clearly, had a great night as well, getting 12 runs on 16 hits. Every player in the starting lineup -- Jimenez included -- had at least one hit; Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki had three each. Gonzalez batted fifth in the order for the first time this season, and it's likely the first time that a Rockies hitter has been promoted out of the leadoff spot. Eric Young Jr., who started at second in place of Clint Barmes, batted leadoff and had a pair of hits and a walk.
It's the kind of effort that serves as a reminder that the Rockies are a force to be dealt with in the National League playoff chase this year. No, the Rockies aren't going to score 12 runs every night, but it suggests that this team is better than their 11-10 record so far would indicate. That's particularly true when Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching.
Speaking of pitching, Jorge de la Rosa and Jason Hammel were placed on the disabled list yesterday. For de la Rosa, he'll almost certainly return to the rotation soon. But for Hammel, who was pitching poorly, he might be moved to the bullpen upon his return. That's because Jhoulys Chacin is taking a spot in the rotation -- and if he pitches well, he might stake claim to Hammel's spot in the rotation. He came on in relief last night and pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two batters.
Rockies Top Three
1. Ubaldo Jimenez: Duh.
2. Carlos Gonzalez: 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, and 5 RBI. That stat line speaks for itself.
3. Troy Tulowitzki: It seems like the first time in a while that we're not really stretching with the third selection on this list. Tulo went 3-for-3 with a walk and two doubles.