Although the Royals’ Jonathan Broxton recording two HBPs in the same save situation, with the first one leading to the blown save, and the second plunk, on Jonny Gomes, leading to the walk-off victory for the A’s, is almost post-worthy interesting until you realize that it was Jonathan Broxton. Jonathan Broxton is not very good at baseball, and such results from a guy, notorious for being wild and inconsistent, really come as no surprise when he beans a bunch of guys, let alone blows saves and loses.
Instead, is a post about a success story – a relief pitcher actually succeeding at earning the save. But not just any save, it was the old school, three-inning save. In which it doesn’t matter how many runs a team is up by, as long as a guy comes in and pitches the final three innings, it’s somehow considered a save.
Tyler Chatwood, the former 2nd round pick of the Anaheim Angels back in 2008 who was traded to the Rockies for Chris Ianetta this past off-season, earned his first save for the Rox last night, by pitching the final three innings in a game against the Giants.
It was a wild game for both clubs, which tends to happen in the absurd altitude of Coors Field out in Denver, where the Rockies jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the third inning, the Giants took a 7-6 lead in the fourth inning, and by the fifth inning, the score was 10-7 in favor of the Rockies with both Tim Lincecum and Jeremy Guthrie both out of the game.
I guess the adage of “no lead is safe at Coors” could come into play here, but when Chatwood was summoned from the bullpen in the seventh inning, the score was 16-7. Now I’ve witnessed the Braves choke away an eleven-run lead at Coors before, but I chalk that up as something only the Braves could do; so needless to say, a nine run lead for the Rockies seems like a pretty safe bet. The fact that it’s a nine-run save on the line for Chatwood is kind of funny to think about, even if it was in Coors Field.
Chatwood started off shaky in the seventh, allowing a modicum of threat, when Nate Schierholtz teed off and launched a 434 ft. bomb to right, to put the save in jeopardy, cutting the score to a perilous 16-8, but Jim Tracy evidently had faith in the 22-year old and let him continue. Chatwood rewarded Tracy’s faith by getting out of the seventh with no further damage.
After Chatwood got out of the top of the eighth inning with no further damage, Michael Cuddyer doubled to score Carlos Gonzalez, to tack that very important and clearly necessary insurance run back onto the lead, to give Chatwood the smallest of breathing room with a 17-8 cushion.
And with courage of steel, Tyler Chatwood turned on the ice water, and in just nine pitches, retired Brett Pill, Hector Sanchez, and the pesky Schierholtz on three straight ground balls to secure the nerve-wracking nine-run save.
What an exciting finish.