ROX DISPATCH NATS, CUBS; HEAD TO WISCONSIN
Despite the malevolent intent of Owner Richard Monfort, the evil meat baron thought to believe losing is good for business, and his loathsome henchman, the weak-titted Ivy Leaguer Jeff Bridich, who not only bungled the off-season effort to bolster the bullpen, but also failed to reacquire Jose Reyes at the trade deadline, and the sheer simplemindedness of the field manager Walt Weiss, a dolt, a dullard, indeed, a buffoon, the Colorado Rockies won series over both the National League East leading Washington Nationals and NL West leading Chicago Cubs, who lead the major leagues in victories. Colorado finished week 19 of the 2016 MLB season with 4 wins against 2 losses, and finds itself in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin tonight for the first of 3 with the Brewers, starting a 5:20 MT at Miller Park. After a Thursday off in the nation’s capital, the Rockies engage the Nationals for 3 more at Nationals Park.
Week 19 started on a low note. Colorado got to wealthy Max Scherzer for 3 in the 1st inning of Monday’s contest, and had run him on 97 pitches by the end of the 4th, but Jorge De La Rosa got chipped-away at for 4 in his 6 inning stint, and a single by the speedy Trea Turner off Jordan Lyles in the 7th, followed by a Bryce Harper double against Boone Logan doomed the Rockies to their 4th straight loss, on the heels of the weekend debacle in Philadelphia. Colorado got even with the Nats on Tuesday. The teams went into a rain delay after 3 tied at 2, and the Rockies got 6 shutout innings from their much-disparaged bullpen, along with 4 runs off of 3 Washington relievers to log a 6-2 win. Wednesday afternoon they had Steven Strasburg to wrangle with, and wrangle-away they did, pasting the right-hander with 7 in the 1st and 2 in the 2nd before sending him to the showers. Jon Gray had another so-so outing, surrendering 4 over 4, and the ‘pen was back to being bad, spreading 6 runs among 6 arms, but Colorado added 3 in the 5th off of Oliver Perez to prevail 12-10. Center-fielder Charlie Blackmon, on a torrid tear, stubbed that troubling toe of his in a collision at 1st base with Washington 1st baseman Daniel Murphy, and would go on to sit-out the greater part of the weekend series with Chicago.
The Cubs and their slobbering masses visited for 3 starting Friday, and Kyle Hendricks had the Rockies stymied on a run over 6 while Tyler Anderson was coughing-up 5 over 7, but Colorado rallied to tie things up with 3 in the 8th. The game went to the 11th, and after Chicago took a 6-5 lead in the top, that most hated of Rockies, Nick Hundley, singled with one out against the lordly Aroldis Chapman, and Ryan Raburn doubled off the right-field wall, knocking Hundley home and scoring the walk-off on a throwing error by Pedro Baez. Tyler Chatwood was scheduled to go on Saturday, but hit the DL after his back spasms flared-up in his previous start on August 14, prompting the highly awaited call-up of Jeff Hoffman, centerpiece of the infamous July 2015 Troy Tulowitzki trade to Toronto. Hoffman was on top of all the hype for one pass through the Chicago order, but the second time around the Cubs said to hell with this guy, and before you could say Jack Robinson the right-hander had to grab some bench, with 7 Chicago runs on 7 hits to reconsider. Spot starter Mike Montgomery and long-reliever Trevor Cahill held the Rockies to 2 to seal the victory.
But yesterday was a whoop-it-up day. Former Rockie Jason Hammel (13-6, 3.07) got in trouble in the 1st, allowing singles to David Dahl and DJ LeMahieu ahead of a 3-run homer by the previously struggling Nolan Arenado. Gerardo Parra reached on an error, Danny Descalso walked, and Ben Paulsen reached on a botched force, then Tony Wolters doubled-in Parra and Descalso, and Colorado starter De La Rosa (8-7, 5.07) followed with a single to plate Paulsen and Wolters, running the Rockies out to a 7-0 lead they would not give back. De La Rosa threw 106 pitches over 8 innings and earned his 53rd Coors Field victory. As noted elsewhere by Bob K., DLR’s lifetime mark at Coors Field is 53-19, and as the RWO’s sdcarp puts it, “you can’t argue with 53-19.”
Chad Bettis (10-6, 5.29) gets the call tonight in Milwaukee, against right-hander Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers (6-10, 4.31). Bettis was the starter Tuesday versus Washington, and had to retire after the rain set-in after the 3rd. He’d given-up 2 runs on 5 hits at that point, and logged a walk and a strikeout. Nelson lost to the Cubs on Wednesday. He lasted 5 and surrendered 6 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. Nelson struck-out 4.
Blackmon’s toe continues to ache and Dahl will continue to man the leadoff slot for Colorado in the meantime. The despicable Hundley will catch and hit 6th, Descalso is at short hitting 7th and Paulsen is at 1st hitting 8th. The Brewers are managed by former Rockie Craig Counsell, and he’s starting unfamiliar names in center-field with Keon Broxton hitting 2nd, Orlando Arcia hitting 7th at short, and the catcher Martin Maldonado hitting 8th.
ROOT Sports, which was set to get an “attaboy” in this space as recently as a week ago, turned-in an absolutely horrible telecast yesterday. The ROOT crew, led by play-by-play veteran Drew Goodman, has managed to refine most of the silly crap it’s obligated to present for the benefit of its advertisers, and generally delivers a professional, first-rate, and non-annoying account. Ryan Spillborghs is a true talent, and he manages to blunt enough of Goodman’s earnestness to make for an entertaining and informative rapport. Jeff Huson lacks Spillborghs’ essential California Cool, but brings his own tight, knowledgeable analysis to team for an equally informative, if perhaps a little less sparkling presentation. Both, in any case, are superior analysts. They’ve got Marc Stout in an easy-going, comfortable role handling the human interest angles, and Jenny Cavnar, another real talent, is a delight anchoring the whole extravaganza from pregame to post. But this garbage of running-out football coaches pitching their squads, chairmen of charities pitching their causes, and players’ wives hustling their good works for innings on-end completely overwhelms the considerable strides the broadcasters have achieved. Keep the focus and the cameras on the action for heaven’s sake! Still a bit of work to do for ROOT, but they’ll have the TV tonight, I’m guessing Huey made the trip to call the action with Goodman.
KOA will have the radio on 850 am, and the weather in Milwaukee is reported to be sunny with a temperature of 76° at game time. Relative humidity is 50% and the wind will be brisk, blowing across from right to left at about 12 MPH.
David Dahl (L) CF
DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
Carlos Gonzalez (L) RF
Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
Gerardo Parra (L) LF
Nick Hundley (R) C
Daniel Descalso (L) SS
Ben Paulsen (L) 1B
Chad Bettis (R) P
Jonathan Villar (S) 3B
Keon Broxton (R) CF
Ryan Braun (R) LF
Scooter Gennett (L) 2B
Chris Carter (R) 1B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) RF
Orlando Arcia (R) SS
Martin Maldonado (R) C
Jimmy Nelson (R) P