SUMMER, SEASON WINDING DOWN;
CARDS ON AT COORS; 4 IN LA ON WEEKEND
A week ago the Colorado Rockies had a bit of bounce in their step. Coming off a winning week and a 3-2 10th inning victory over the San Diego Padres on a solo Mark Reynolds home run, Colorado headed east to the city of Phoenix, Arizona, where they were summarily swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks, in revolting fashion, and if I never see Jean Segura again it will be too soon. An off-day back in the Mile High apparently rejuvenated everybody’s spirits, or maybe it was just the Padres, because Colorado is currently riding a 3-game winning streak with the St Louis Cardinals visiting for 3 more, starting tonight at 6:40 at Coors Field in Denver.
The Cards look to be on a bit more of a mission than San Diego, sitting a game behind the San Francisco Giants in the race for the second NL Wild Card. The New York Mets have a one-game handle on the first one in what looks to be a scramble as the 2016 MLB campaign rambles into the season’s final weeks. The Chicago Cubs are in, having clinched the NL Central. The Washington Nationals are up on New York by 8 for the East title and the Los Angeles Dodgers extended their lead over the Giants in the West from 3 to 5. In the American League there’s still a battle for the East, where Boston holds a 3 game edge over the Baltimore Orioles, 4 over the Toronto Blue Jays. Baltimore and Toronto have the inside track on the Wild Cards, but the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners remain in the hunt, back by only 2. The Cleveland Indians lead Detroit in the Central by 7 and the Texas Rangers are on top of Seattle by 8-1/2.
Colorado was a mess in Phoenix. On Monday Tyler Anderson had a rare malfunction, allowing 6 in just 4-1/3. The offense scored 3-each in the 4th, 5th and 6th to take a 9-6 lead, but Jordan Lyles gave it all immediately back, and Jake McGee had another rough outing as Arizona prevailed 12-9. Jorge De La Rosa was the bum on Tuesday. The Rockies gave him a 3-run lead to instantly squander, and the left-hander was gone after 3-1/3 in favor of good old Eddie Butler, who used 41 pitches to surrender 5 additional runs. The Dbacks took that one 11-4. Wednesday featured another forgettable Jeff Hoffman showing. Hoffman surrendered 7 in 4-2/3 of another 11 run loss that also included a rotten 4-out appearance from Christian Bergman.
But Friday brought the Padres back to LoDo, and San Diego had a 7-5 lead going into the 9th inning when a sudden hail storm delayed matters for 38 minutes. When play resumed DJ LeMahieu doubled with one out and after Nolan Arenado went down on a pop-fly, singles by Carlos Gonzalez, David Dahl, Nick Hundley and Daniel Descalso pushed Colorado to an 8-7 win. Saturday came the Jon Gray spectacular. The right-handed rookie delivered one for the ages, drawing recollections of the Ubaldo Jimenez no-no versus Atlanta. Gray pitched a complete game shutout, allowing 4 hits and walking none. He struck-out 16.
Then yesterday Chad Bettis (13-7. 4.79) was out for his usual workmanlike effort, giving-up 3 in 5-1/3 while the offense was piling-up 6. The damage began with one out in the 4th when David Dahl doubled and scored behind a Reynolds homer. After Descalso was out on a fly ball Tony Wolters singled, then Padres’ starter Jarred Cosart (0-4, 5.63) walked Bettis, Charlie Blackmon, and LeMahieu, scoring Wolters and bringing right-hander Jose Dominguez to the hill. Gonzalez greeted Dominguez with a single to center, driving home Bettis and Blackmon, and the Rockies had a 5-1 lead.
In the 5th with one out Dominguez’ 7th offering hit Reynolds on the same hand that recently incurred hamate bone surgery. Reynolds’ hand broke, ending a fine season and courageous comeback by the veteran free agent. Gerardo Parra ran for Reynolds, and looks to get a lot of the available play at 1st-base as the Rockies wrestle with how to juggle several dozen left-handed outfielders. Rumors Parra may also get a shot at a late-inning LOOGY role went unconfirmed by Rockies’ management, but singles by Descalso and Tony Wolters plated Parra, lifting Colorado to 6-3 advantage that neither Chris Rusin, Boone Logan, nor Adam Ottavino could figure a way to waste.
The lefty Anderson (5-5, 3.65) will be back at it for the Rockies tonight, facing right-hander Carlos Martinez (14-8, 3.15) of St Louis. Anderson gave-up the 6 runs a week ago on 9 hits and 2 walks, although he struck-out 7. Martinez took a loss to the Cubs last Wednesday. He surrendered 4 runs on 8 hits, walking none and striking-out 9.
The exquisite Matt Carpenter will lead it off for Mike Matheny’s Cardinals. Shortstop Aledmys Diaz follows ahead of left-fielder Brandon Moss. Former Padre Jedd Gyorko hits 7th at 2nd-base. The hated Walt Weiss has the hated Hundley catching Anderson and hitting 6th. Hundley will be followed by all 69 inches of Parra at 1st, and Descalso will be the shortstop, hitting 8th.
Temperatures in lower downtown will be hanging in the mid-80°s at game time under partly cloudy skies and 15% relative humidity. Wind will blow out toward left-center at about 7 MPH. The broadcast media haven’t given-up on 2016 yet. ROOT has the TV with radio on 850 KOA and 1150 KRVN.
ST LOUIS (78-71)
Matt Carpenter (L) 1B
Aledmys Diaz (R) SS
Brandon Moss (L) LF
Stephen Piscotty (R) RF
Yadier Molina (R) C
Jhonny Peralta (R) 3B
Jedd Gyorko (R) 2B
Randal Grichuk (R) CF
Carlos Martinez (R) P
Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
Carlos Gonzalez (L) RF
Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
David Dahl (L) LF
Nick Hundley (R) C
Gerardo Parra (L) 1B
Daniel Descalso (L) SS
Tyler Anderson (L) P