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AZ 2, Rockies 0 - Heroes With Zeroes

Record: 4-3. Change on last season: +2

Who'd have thought it? After a week of pitching performances, ranging from awful to okay, we finally get a shining gem, and it's from the guy we've been trying desperately to avoid putting on the mound since Opening Day.

Tony Clark called Halsey "a baby-faced assassin", and I can imagine Brad [since he's not called Dean, his girlfriend must be called Janet - obligatory cult movie reference for the day] pestering Bob Melvin, saying "Can-I-pitch-please-please-I'll-be-good-just-let-me-huh-willya?". After days of being put off with "We'll see," Bob finally sighs and says, "Well, alright then. Just this once..." What he probably wanted to say was, "Go ask your mother", but that wasn't really an option here.

And the boy done good. In fact, for the first time this year, the pitching was clearly better than the hitting, which managed only four knocks. It's not often the words "Colorado" and "pitching duel" get used in the same sentence - and so far, the same goes for "Arizona" and "shutout" - but last night certainly counts, in both departments

Six-plus innings of zeroes from Halsey, he threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 24 batters, struck out seven, walked only one. We saw probably the worst debut by an AZ starter on Opening Day; this may rank the second best, behind Brandon Webb's three hit, 10 K shutout gem over seven innings against the Mets on April 27 2003. [I think both we and he will forget Halsey's Opening Day outing, since it was in relief!]

Bruney, Koplove and Lyon kept the shutout intact, which was especially good news, coming after the announcement than Oscar Villarreal has joined Aquino and Valverde on the DL, leaving us with only half our expected bullpen. Lance Cormier came up, but we're really going to see how much depth we have now. Based on the last couple of days, I'm rather more optimistic than I was after the Cubs series.

It was fortunate our pitchers were on fire, since our offense after the first innings, came up with zeroes too, managing only hits by Gonzo and Green after taking a 2-0 lead on RBIs by Glaus and Green. The rest of the lineup outside the G-Force? 0-for-17. And that was without Royce Clayton starting; he did come on as a pinch-hitter and, yes, went ohfer, as he's done in the majority of games to date. He's now hitting .174 - that's 76 points less than our pitchers...

Nice to see Byung-Hung Kim back on the mound, albeit in a Rockies shirt. He walked two but got out of the one-third of an innings unscathed. ;-) He was greeted with either a "warm reception" [the Banana] or the chillier "only scattered applause" [ESPN.com]. I'm inclined to the former - given the franchise record-low crowd, all applause was "scattered".

Said last week this'd be a small attendance, but only 18,742? Ouch. Total so far is 207,692, 12% down on last season - and given the next seven games in 2004 all pulled 30K plus, we're not likely to catch up any time soon.