LOSS OF REYNOLDS, DEMISE OF ‘PEN DOOM ROX
If I soar above the clouds and then
I come crashin’ back to earth again
You will catch me when I fall (Steve Earle, “When I Fall,” Transcendental Blues, 2000)
The Colorado Rockies spent the first half of their 2016 MLB season thrashing around, a starting pitcher or so short of a complete rotation. Early in July the group started to come together, and Colorado came out of the All Star break in a furious romp, ripping off wins in 14 of 17, and getting even at 52-52 on July 30 in New York City. But that evening on Flushing Meadow in the borough of Queens Trevor Story jammed his left thumb into the side of 2nd base, rupturing its UCL tendon and bringing an end to the sensational rookie season the shortstop had been putting together.
4 days later in Denver, Carlos Gonzalez rolled his ankle on the follow-through of a hard swing and miss, earning a spot on the “day-to-day” list. The next night Story’s backup, Daniel Descalso, was making a spot start in the short outfield and slammed his head into the wall tracking down a fly-ball off the bat of LA’s Corey Seager. Descalso retired in favor of another infielder, Rafael Ynoa, who was last seen dropping a pop fly along the left-field foul line on his way back to New Mexico.
The next night the Rockies took a 3-1 lead over the Florida Marlins into the top of the 9th, but closer Carlos Estevez had an uncharacteristic melt-down and Colorado went down 5-3. The Rockies split the next 2 with the Marlins, and on Monday night handed another 3-1 lead, this one on the American League West leading Texas Rangers, over to Estevez, who blew it again, wrecking a beautiful 7 inning performance by Tyler Anderson. Colorado went down 4-3.
Tuesday afternoon, in blistering heat at the old ball park, Tyler Chatwood gutted-out another sparking start, going 6-2/3 and handing a 5-2 lead over to Scott Oberg, who pissed it away in the 8th. By Wednesday the Rockies were down in Arlington, Texas, and Jorge De La Rosa, Gonzalez Germen and Estevez had Colorado into the 8th with a 4-3 advantage, but neither Boone Logan, Jordan Lyles, nor Adam Ottavino could hold back the Rangers. The Rockies fell 5-4.
Colorado salvaged one of the four against Texas Thursday, but suffered another deadly blow, with 1st-baseman Mark Reynolds hit by a pitch and likely lost for the balance with a broken hamate bone. What goes around comes around. Colorado nevertheless headed north and east to Philadelphia, where they had big Jon Gray ready to set things right Friday night, but Gray was a mess, gone after 7 runs in 4-1/3 on the way to a 10-6 Philadelphia victory. Anderson was back Saturday, for a while. He got behind 3-0 on a 1st inning blast by Maikel Franco. When Franco led-off the 4th, Anderson went down and in to move him off the plate, earning a mysterious ejection by home plate umpire Eric Cooper. The Rockies got down 4-0 and brought it back to 4-3 before a 2-run 7th inning malfunction by Estevez pushed the Phillies back out of reach.
Yesterday was a pig fest. Chatwood was ineffective on another oppressively hot afternoon, gone after 4 runs in 4+ innings on a day Colorado committed 4 errors, 2 by the once other-worldly Nolan Arenado, who now has 7 since the All Star break. The Phillies scored on an error, a walk and a single in the 2nd, a single, another error and a fielder’s choice in the 3rd, and Jimmy Paredes deposited Chatwood’s 7th pitch leading off the 4th into the center-field seats.
The Rockies came back to tie with runs in the 3rd, 4th and 5th. Charlie Blackmon, who had a monster week, doubled with one out in the 3rd and scored when DJ LeMahieu followed with a double of his own. Singles by David Dahl, Nick Hundley and Cristhian Adames got them another in the 4th, and in the 5th Blackmon led-off with a solo shot to right.
But Philadelphia roared back. Chatwood walked Cameron Rupp leading-off the 5th, then surrendered singles to Odubel Herrera and Freddy Galvis for one run. Paredes doubled-in Herrera for another. Lyles came on and struck-out pinch-hitter Taylor Featherston, but Cesar Hernandez followed with a single to plate Galvis for a 6-3 Phillies’ advantage. After a single by Ryan Howard and a double by Herrera Philadelphia ran the score to 7-3, another Blackmon homer in the 7th and 2 top of the 9th Rockies runs weren’t enough as Colorado lost 7-6 to finish week 18 of the 2016 season at 1-6.
Relief for their troubles comes tonight at home, with the NL East leading Washington Nationals visiting for three with Max Scherzer (12-7, 2.80) stepping out tonight for the opener at 6:40 MT at Coors Field. The NL Central and MLB leading Chicago Cubs are in town for the weekend, and everybody’s looking forward to tearing-up LoDo with the long suffering, slobbering exiles from the Windy City. De La Rosa (7-7, 5.25) gets the pleasure tonight against Scherzer, who lost Tuesday to Cleveland, despite allowing only 2 runs on 3 hits and striking-out 10. DLR evaded the decision on Wednesday. He went 5, surrendering 3 runs on 7 hits.
The Nationals’ Dusty Baker has his 2nd-baseman, Trey Turner, leading-off ahead of veteran outfielder Jayson Werth and MVP candidate Daniel Murphy, who’s at 1st. Walt Weiss has the blazing Blackmon back at the top of the Colorado order. Gonzalez will hit 3rd in right-field, Descalso is the shortstop hitting 6th, and Ben Paulsen will be at 1st in the 8-hole.
The storms currently buffeting the downtown area are due to pass-on by game time, when it’s expected to be around 80° and sunny, with wind blowing in from right-center at about 7 MPH. The usual media has the coverage. TV’s on ROOT, radio’s in English on KOA, and KRNV has the Spanish broadcast on 1150 am.
Trea Turner (R) 2B
Jayson Werth (R) LF
Daniel Murphy (L) 1B
Bryce Harper (L) RF
Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
Wilson Ramos (R) C
Danny Espinosa (S) SS
Ben Revere (L) CF
Max Scherzer (R) P
Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
Carlos Gonzalez (L) RF
Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
David Dahl (L) LF
Daniel Descalso (L) SS
Nick Hundley (R) C
Ben Paulsen (L) 1B
Jorge De La Rosa (L) P