ROX RIP THROUGH ATLANTA; FRIENDLY FRIARS ON FOR 3
Following-up their unlikely 3 of 4 series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers last weekend, the Colorado Rockies decided to make it unprecedented the recently passed one, sweeping the Atlanta Braves at their new digs in the City of Marietta, Georgia, the SunTrust Park. The RWO continues its unprecedented role in the Colorado success, including a variety of parallel negative-action jinxes, ranging from Agbayani’s “Disparagement Jinx” to multiple versions of ball park attendance jinxes, including one I can claim, the Tornado Jinx, although it typically results in cancellations rather than victories. I have yet to attend this season, by the way, so hang on to Toto.
Whatever it is, the Rockies are back on a roll. They split with the defending champ Astros in Houston early in the week, securing a season split as well. Sunday’s winning pitcher in Atlanta, German Marquez, was the big news back on August 14, out-pitching the seriously more famous Justin Verlander in a contest Colorado strolled-away with late, scoring twice in the 6th and following with single runs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Fittingly, Nolan Arenado got the week off to a big start, authoring the pair in the 6th off Verlander on his 30th big fly of 2018. The sole bad news from the road trip came the following afternoon, when Tyler Anderson showed-up ugly for the second time in 3 recent outings. The left-hander made it only 4-1/3, surrendering 9 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, and the Rockies cooled it out of east Texas with a 12-1 defeat.
No time to rest however, Colorado was in Marietta Thursday afternoon for 4 with the Braves and big Jon Gray on the hill opposing Atlanta ace Julio Teheran. Those two battled it out for 7, Teheran getting the best of Gray with the Braves leading 3-2, before Colorado’s recent surge of late inning magic made another appearance in the 9th. Trevor Story reached on an error and Major Fail (MF) Gerardo Parra walked, then after Ian Desmond struck-out Ryan McMahon plated Story with a single to right, Parra to 3rd. McMahon stole 2nd as Chris Iannetta struck-out as well, leaving matters to newly activated outfielder David Dahl, and Dahl obliged with a 2 run single that delivered a 5-3 lead to closer Wade Davis, who covered it with 2018 save no. 33.
Friday night saw another nearly sublime performance from the lefty Kyle Freeland. The Braves nicked Freeland for a 1st inning run on 2 singles and a sacrifice fly, but he thereafter limited Atlanta to a single hit and 4 walks for the balance of his 6 inning stint. The Colorado offense in the meantime went on a rare romp against Braves’ starter Sean Newcomb, and Kolby Allard didn’t have any better result when he got caught in a 3 run 8th. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker flew-up the white flag in the 9th, rolling out infielder and former Rockie Charlie Culberson to mop matters-up in the 11-5 Colorado win. It was back to zeroes for the offense on Saturday, however, and the Braves glided into the top of the 9th leading 3-0 behind a pair against Antonio Senzatela in the 3rd and 1 in an 8th handled by right-hander Brian Shaw. Carlos Gonzalez and Arenado grounded-out against AJ Minter, leaving the Rockies a single out to work behind. Story doubled to left and Dahl moved the shortstop up with a single to center, bringing UAI to the plate, followed by MF Parra. Desmond doubled-in Story and Dahl, and Parra, who once was caught off-base twice in the same week, singled to harvest UAI. Adam Ottavino handled Atlanta in the 9th, then in the 10th DJ LeMahieu blasted a solo shot over the center-field wall with 1 out, and Cargo followed with a double, scoring on an Arenado single before Wade Davis 1-2-3’d the Braves in the bottom of the 10th for save no. 34. Rockies 5, Atlanta 3.
Marquez was back on Sunday. He gave-up the obligatory 1st inning run and another in the 6th on RBI singles by Braves’ 3rd-baseman Johan Camargo, but had an otherwise slick 7 inning appearance. Colorado got even in the 2nd on a leadoff solo shot by Story, and took the lead in the 3rd when LeMahieu went deep again with 2 out. Dahl followed with a double and scored on an Arenado single to make it 3-1. The Rockies added insurance in the 9th before Davis was back for save 35, working around a 2 out single to make it 4 in a row and 5 out of 6 for the week, the Rox moving within 1/2 game of Division leading Arizona.
It’s a 3 game series starting tonight with the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Anderson (6-5, 4.39) is back out for Colorado, matching-up against fellow left-hander Robbie Erlin (2-3, 3.33) of the Padres in a 6:40 MT start. Gray goes at Jacob Nix tomorrow, also at 6:40, then Freeland gets Joey Lucchesi Thursday afternoon at 1:10 in another battle of lefties. The red-hot Cardinals follow on the weekend.
Not surprising, LeMahieu is among the Rockies ripping things up the past week. Story, Arenado, Parra, and Dahl are also riding the wave, while Chuck N, Charlie Blackmon, continues to search for a groove. Los Angeles has dropped-back to 2 behind Arizona in the Division race, whereas the Rockies are even with Philadelphia and St Louis for the outside wild card. The Milwaukee Brewers hang on to the inside card by a half.
Six weeks remain as the plot thickens, and Ed the Ump, achy ass and all, is back to root this thing home. You go, Ed: BALK!