Outman's night ends early in loss to D-backs

Outman's night ends early in loss to D-backs

Outman's night ends early in loss to D-backs
PHOENIX -- When Rockies manager Jim Tracy said before Wednesday night's 6-1 loss to the D-backs that he had an undisclosed amount of pitches in mind for reliever-turned-starter Josh Outman, 69 was probably in the ballpark. He just wasn't expecting Outman to throw them all in the first three innings at Chase Field.

But that's what Outman had in him and the D-backs built a 5-0 lead before Tracy took the left-hander out of the game. At the same time, rookie D-backs left-hander Wade Miley performed with clinical efficiency in his eight innings of work.

"He gave us a little lesson as far as attacking hitters," Tracy said about the National League's Rookie of the Month for April, now 7-2. "He went right after us. He got himself a nice little cushion early on. But when you look at his ball-strike ratio it's indicative of what I've been talking about. He threw [102] pitches and only [31] balls, attacking us with the fastball, getting ahead of hitters. It will put you back on your heels.

"In contrast, Josh didn't do a very good job of that. There were a lot of deep counts. A lot of fastball situations and they hit it."

It was only Outman's second start after eight relief appearances. His first came on June 1 at home against the Dodgers. In that one, he worked 3 1/3 innings, allowed no runs and two hits and was limited to 55 pitches. The Rockies won that game, 13-3. On Wednesday night, the D-backs pounded out seven hits to drive in their first five runs.

A contrite Outman said afterward that he didn't execute, throwing the wrong pitches in the wrong situations.

"I didn't follow the game plan," Outman said.

Asked if he could take anything positive out of the game, Outman added: "I threw 70 pitches. Next time I'll be able to throw 90. That's what I'm aiming to do."

Paul Goldschmidt took advantage of the situation. He had a pair of RBI doubles off Outman and later added a homer off reliever Adam Ottavino.

"I faced him earlier in Colorado," Goldschmidt said about Outman. "I was just able to get a good pitch to hit both times. The first AB he left a pitch up and out over the plate and the second AB I got in a 3-2 count and he threw another fastball and I was able to hit it down the line."

The Rockies lost the last two games of the three-game series after winning seven of eight through a 4-0 victory here Monday night. They have an off-day on Thursday before opening a three-game Interleague set against the Angels on Friday night at Coors Field.

In that series, they have their two young pitchers going, Alex White and Christian Friedrich, and are hoping to have Jeff Francis under contract in time to start Saturday.

Otherwise, it's been a patchwork rotation.

"It's kind of unfortunate, in my opinion," Tracy said. "We could've been better in the earlier innings. The bullpen was set up [for Outman] and those guys threw one bad pitch in five innings, the one to Goldschmidt. It could have been a much better game. It was not a good night for us offensively or defensively."

Offensively, the Rockies couldn't generate much for the second consecutive night. This time, Miley allowed only three hits. Their only run came in the fifth inning when Jason Giambi doubled and was driven home by Wilin Rosario's single. Giambi's hit was Colorado's first of the game after Miley retired the initial 13 batters he faced.

On Tuesday night in a 10-0 loss, the Rockies managed six hits off three Arizona pitchers, five of them against starter Ian Kennedy, who whiffed 12 in six innings. The Rockies struck out 16 times in that game and six times again on Wednesday, five of them coming against Miley, who didn't walk a batter.

"We just didn't put the ball in play," Tracy said.

Also on Tuesday, it was veteran Rockies right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who was rocked for seven runs on 11 hits before his removal with one out in the fourth inning. Tracy said he had a chat with Guthrie on Wednesday and that he is slated to pitch again against the A's at home on Tuesday night.

Likewise, Tracy is going to roll Outman back out there. He has little choice.

"We want to get much more out of him. We want to get much better," Tracy said. "We're trying to build him up where you don't have to brace for the start. I think the next time out he'll be able to go upward of 90 pitches. But we're looking for 90 quality pitches."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.