ROX MAINTAINING AS ‘PEN CONTINUES TO STAGGER; AT MINUTE MAID FOR 2ND PAIR WITH ASTROS
The Colorado Rockies are through their 17 game marathon. They got through it 9 wins over 8 losses, 4 of the 9 wins occurring back in July, which found the Rockies on a romp. The results so far in August are less optimistic, 5 wins against 7 defeats, the week just completed featuring a 1-2 series loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates followed by an unlikely 3-1 set over Division rival Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the current ramifications, following the Dodgers’ loss to the hated Giants Monday night, have Colorado leading LA by percentage points in the standings, trailing Division leading Arizona by a single game.
The match-up with Pittsburgh got off to a nice enough start. Kyle Freeland held the Bucs scoreless over 7 while Seunghwan Oh and Wade Davis added 1-2-3 8ths and 9ths. Chad Bettis was rusty coming-off the DL however on Tuesday, and the Pirates ran away in the middle innings to prevail eventually 10-2. Wednesday afternoon’s contest was close. German Marquez went at it for the Rockies against recent Pittsburgh acquisition Chris Archer, and the Pirates led 3-2 going into the 8th. They scored once against Adam Ottavino in the top of the inning, but the Rockies’ answer with 1 was insufficient. Pittsburgh took the series with a 4-3 win.
The horror being a Rockies fan has become couldn’t have been better on-display than in Thursday’s opener against the Dodgers. A virtual standoff between Tyler Anderson and Ross Stripling for 6 got interesting in the 7th when Joc Pederson and Max Muncy put Los Angeles ahead 3-1 with a pair of solo shots off Scott Oberg. Not to worry, singles by Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond and a walk to David Dahl loaded the bases for Colorado ahead of a Chris Iannetta grand slam to move the Rockies out
5-3. The Colorado bullpen is a terrorist cell in-hiding, however, and Oh coughed-up a 2-run shot by Cody Bellinger to tie the game in the 8th. Chris Taylor led-off the 9th with a solo shot off Davis for a 6-5 Dodger lead Brian Dosier would embellish with a 2-run shot a batter later, LA’s 5th off the Rockies ‘pen in less than 3 innings. Los Angeles would triumph and Colorado had lost 3 straight.
But the unlikeliness started on the weekend. Jon Gray was not quite as sublime as he has been Friday, but he and Kenta Maeda battled it-out into the 6th, the Rockies and Dodgers tied at 3-apiece. Ryan McMahon delivered a 2-run shot with Dahl aboard and 1 out in the 7th, and scoreless work by shaky Jake McGee, Oberg, and Ottavino took Colorado home to tie the series. Freeland was back Saturday and had to toe-and-toe it Walker Buehler of LA. The left-hander surrendered single runs in the 1st and 2nd before going immaculate the rest of his 7 inning appearance, but Buehler was a match, holding the Rockies scoreless. It went to the bottom of the 9th. Carlos Gonzalez struck-out but Trevor Story followed with a double. With Kenley Jansen on the DL for the Dodgers JT Chargois came on for Scott Alexander and hit Arenado in the hip. McMahon stepped in after UAI had forced Arenado at 2nd, took a first-pitch ball, and drove Chargois’ second offering into the right-center night. Rox Walk Off.
Sunday Colorado led 3-0 behind Bettis, who recovered from Tuesday’s trouble to hold LA scoreless for 6. Shaky Jake and Oberg were trouble in the 7th and by the time Adam Ottavino got out of the 8th the Dodgers had tied things 3-3. DJ LeMahieu led off the 9th with a single and got to 2nd on Yasiel Puig’s bobble. Story struck-out, then Dylan Floro intentionally walked Dahl, got UAI to ground to Justin Turner, and intentionally walked McMahon to load the bases for Iannetta, robbed of his heriocs on Thursday. Nothing so spectacular this time, the Rockies catcher fouled-off Floro’s first offering, then patiently watched the next 4 fail to find the zone. Rox Walk Off, too.
The group is off to the city Houston, in east Texas, for another pair against the reigning World Champions. Marquez (9-9, 4.69), who dealt with Archer on Wednesday, gets Justin Verlander (11-7, 2.50) this time in a 6:10 MT start at Minute Maid Park. Anderson goes at Gerrit Cole tomorrow, also at 6:10, then it’s off to Georgia for 4 against the East leading Braves.
McMahon and Iannetta, appropriately, are among the hotter Rockies as they face the Astros. Gonzalez, Arenado and Story are also raking with LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon looking to awaken. Drew and Jeff tell me the Rockies don’t face any more losing teams besides the Padres, and bless their hearts, in 2018. The grind continues, and it’s a race now.