A month ago, Rockies prospect Shawn Chacon was looking forward to pitching his first game in Sky Sox Stadium, a short drive from his hometown of Greeley.
"It's exciting," Chacon told reporters before the season started. "I'm sure the majority of my teammates and baseball players in general [would like] to play near home, if not at home."
Chacon got a little closer to home Sunday, making his major league debut for the Rockies after establishing himself as the Sox's most effective starter with a 2-0 record and a 2.25 ERA in four starts, striking out 28 in 24 innings.
His strong outing broke a three-game losing streak for the Rockies and turned his one-day fill-in for a stiff-necked Mike Hampton into a possible spot in a rotation that struggles in the four and five spots. Though Chacon gave up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings, his poise was impressive and he never stopped battling, striking out eight on the way to a 14-7 victory. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Chacon gave up a three-run homer in the second with no outs. He rebounded quickly, ending the inning with three straight strikeouts.
Look for Chacon's next start Saturday in Pittsburgh, a more forgiving environment for his hanging curveball. It may be too late to see him pitch in Sky Sox Stadium, but it's a good bet that there will be plenty of chances to catch him at Coors.