Rockies’ Starters were giving them a fighting chance only to see the bullpen implode. Tuesday saw roles reverse in their second straight shutout loss in California.
The Colorado Rockies came in actually out-slugging the Dodgers with 13 homers to their 10. This puts the Rockies at 8th in MLB in this category. This and a surprising Starters ERA of 3.18 are the only stats the Rockies could potentially feel good about. Despite this, they are coming off a 3-game weekend series sweep to the San Francisco Giants. Scoring 4 total runs in those 3 games. They got to face reigning NL-Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer for their troubles. It started and ended as you would expect the perennial basement dwellers facing the perennial division bully to play out.Embed from Getty Images
Trevor Bauer came out hot, retiring the Rockies in order to begin the game on 9 pitches. This included a 6 pitch strikeout of Trevor Story. The bottom of the first saw the Dodgers look to correct the above stat as Corey Seager sent one Antonio Senzatela offering 380 ft to deep left-center. Then in the very next at-bat, Chris Taylor went 396-ft to dead central. Oh, did I mention this is a night game in Los Angeles with a light fog? Meaning a cold, wet night on the Pacific. Balls are not supposed to fly in these conditions.
The second saw Bauer get wild as he would walk the first two batters. Then the Rockies would commence squandering opportunities as was the norm by The Cove. They would fail to put a single ball in play and have their next 3 batters mowed down in order, meaning they were incapable of even flipping the line-up. Leaving Senza to bat lead-off next time up. They did make him throw almost 30 pitches, so there’s that. Senza would answer by calming down in his half of the inning, putting the Dodgers down in order on just 11 pitches. Including a strikeout of his counterpart. Thus flipping the lineup.Embed from Getty Images
Why did I emphasize flipping the lineup? We got a front-row seat to its importance as you saw both the good and bad in the third. In the top half, the Rockies had Senza put up a fight, but ultimately go down looking after a 7-pitch at-bat. Then Garrett Hampson followed him with a dribbler up the 3rd-base line that Bauer gave his all to make an out and wound up hitting the foul-ground barrier instead of Max Muncy. Hampson could not advance on the errant throw, but after Ryan McMahon battled through a 6-pitch at-bat and put the ball in play and forcing a fielder’s choice.
Hampson was moving on the play and with his pure speed, he sat at second with 2 outs instead of 1 with Trevor Story at the plate. Then Bauer uncorked a wild pitch allowing Hampson to advance to third. Not flipping the lineup completely changes this at-bat for Story. Instead of relaxing and just looking to drive a deep fly, or maybe laying down a bunt, he had to stay high-strung and hunt the perfect pitch to get a hit. Including swinging at that wild pitch, Trevor would strike out swinging on 4 pitches.Embed from Getty Images
Then the Dodgers got their turn in the 3rd and showed why flipping the lineup is advantageous. Instead of an easy out to begin the inning, Senza got to face perennial MVP candidate Mookie Betts. Who promptly fought off 6 pitches before parking the seventh 379 ft. into the left-field bleachers giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. Corey Seager would follow with a double to the gap in right-center. Senza would get the next 2 batters on a lineout and fly-out respectively.
Just as it looked like Senza might limit the damage, Will Smith walked on a 3-2 curveball that looked to be in the strike zone to me. But my opinion doesn’t count, so Smith got the base, and Senza visually and verbally voiced his opinion on the matter. Again, his doesn’t matter any more than mine. So, runners at 1st and 2nd 2-outs. One pitch gets you out, Senza would not provide that pitch. Gavin Lux would follow with a single-scoring Seager. AJ Pollock would then hit a routine ground-ball to Story who threw it in the dirt and CJ Cron couldn’t pick, allowing Will Smith to score and make it 5-0.Embed from Getty Images
That would be where Senza’s night would end and Jhoulys Chacin’s day would begin. Jhoulys would promptly pitched around Edwin Rios to load the bases as he knew light hitting Bauer was up next. Bauer would put the ball in play, but Story would get the 3rd out at 2nd. The Rockies bullpen would stem the tide, but never really stop it. Chacin would give up an RBI double to Muncy in the 4th, and Robert Stephenson would give up the 4th solo blast for the Dodgers to Max Muncy, a 415 ft. bomb to center in the 6th.
After that dribbler by Hampson however, there was a Bauer Outage. Trevor would sit down the last 14 batters he faced, in order. Even though he had over 50 pitches after 3 innings, Bauer would end his night at 98 pitches over 7 innings. That hit by Hampson being the only hit he gave up, with 2 walks. Giving up 3 total baserunners against 9 k’s. This opposed to the Rockies starter lasting 2.2 innings, giving up 2 home runs, 5 total runs (4 earned), 2 BB’s, and just 2 k’s. With David Price and Stephen Alexander being just as dominant in relief of Bauer.Embed from Getty Images
In fact, the Rockies wouldn’t have another baserunner until Hampson got him and the Rockies second hit to lead off the 9th, 17 at-bats later against Alexander. They would then see Dodger-killer Ryan McMahon strikeout leaving rookie Alan Trejo to take his 3rd career at-bat down 7-0. He promptly grounded into a double play to end the inning and the game.
The lone bright spots for the Rockies would be those 2 singles by Hampson, a couple of defensive gems from Fuentes, and Ben Bowden facing down the top of the Dodgers line up in the 8th, setting them down 1-2-3. Ending the inning on a 92-mph fastball down and in that froze Chris Taylor ending the frame. Wednesday the forecast in L.A. will match Denver with a Gray day, but Dustin May will be another challenge altogether from the puzzle they couldn’t solve in Trevor Bauer Tuesday night.
I will leave you with Buddy Black trying his best to give a sensible response other than “everything” when asked what needs to improve. Courtesy of the AT&T SportsNet RM Social Team:
@ L.A. Dodgers Wednesday, April 14 at 8:10 PM MST
Where to Watch:
Denver Market: AT&T Sportsnet Rocky Mountain
L.A. Market: SportsNet Los Angeles