Win validates Chacin's development
Little by little, Rockies righty proving he has stuff to succeed
DENVER -- Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca likes to remind rookie right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to "be kind to himself."
Fellow Rockies veteran pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeff Francis have delivered the same message.
"They tell me to keep pitching the way I'm pitching," Chacin said.
Still, it's a lot easier for Chacin, 22, to take the good with the bad when he has a sparkling night like he did on Tuesday night.
Chacin threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings, and succeeded in some situations that had gone wrong in previous games, to lead the Rockies to a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox before a sellout crowd at Coors Field.
Chacin (4-6) had lost four straight starts and was 1-6 in his last seven, after pitching scoreless ball and winning his first two starts after being promoted from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Tuesday's outing was imperfect. In the third inning, he lost his delivery and fell behind Victor Martinez, 3-0, with the bases loaded. But it was easier for him to accept.
"I really needed that win," said Chacin, who lowered his ERA to 3.56. "Sometimes I've pitched well and lost. But I said to myself, 'You're going to get wins.' I'm happy to get one."
Chacin breezed through the first two innings. He gave up singles to Mike Cameron, who was erased on catcher Miguel Olivo's throw on a steal attempt, and Josh Reddick to open the third. With one out, he walked Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia and was well on his way to walking Martinez.
Chacin couldn't help but think of a couple of losses.
"I couldn't get out of innings with one pitch, and I gave up runs," Chacin said. "When I pitched in Arizona, I needed one more out and I could have gotten out with one run and maybe a win. The same when I pitched here against Houston. I got two out and bases loaded, and their guy hit a blooper."
Before haunting thoughts could crowd Chacin's mind, he received another reminder that expecting perfection was inviting the opposite.
"I was trying to be too low, and then too much away," Chacin said. "Olivo came to me and said, 'Just relax and throw it right in the middle, and we go to the dugout.'"
After Chacin threw two called strikes, Martinez smoked a fastball to second baseman Jonathan Herrera, who made the easy throw to first.
"It came down to a pitch that wasn't at the knees," Apodaca said. "It wasn't on the black. It wasn't a great strike, but sometimes you can give great clubs too much credit, that you have to make perfect pitches to get them out."
Chacin forced double-play grounders by Daniel Nava to finish the fourth and Martinez to end the sixth, and avoided trouble until walking Reddick to load the bases in the seventh. Reliever Joe Beimel forced a David Ortiz grounder to end that threat and keep Chacin in position to win.
"He knows he has the stuff if he gets into a tough situation to work himself out of it, and he had to use it tonight," Rockies veteran first baseman Todd Helton said. "At critical times, he got some big outs."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.