Rockies Lose 5th Straight to Dodgers

Embed from Getty Images
The Rockies came into the night having lost 5 straight on the season and trying to avoid losing 5 straight to the Dodgers.

As the headline would allude, this did not happen for your Colorado Rockies. The Los Angeles Dodgers on the other hand came in with just 2 losses on the season, the best record in baseball at 10-2. With one of those loses coming on opening day against these Rockies in what was their home-opener as well. Since then both teams have went in completely opposite trajectories.

The first would see the Rockies mowed down by Dustin May on just 6 total pitches, including a 3-pitch swinging K against Garrett Hampson to start the contest. Jon Gray would be greeted with a much rockier start as Mookie Betts would lead off with a single. Gray would walk the next batter Corey Seager putting runners at 1st and 2nd with no outs and Justin Turner at-bat. Turner would come through with a single to right-center scoring Betts. Max Muncy would follow with a productive out, putting runners at 2nd/3rd with 1 out. Gavin Lux would drive in Seager with a sacrifice fly to deep-left. Gray would escape further damage by freezing Matt Beatty on an 89-mph slider on the outside corner.

Embed from Getty Images

The next 2 innings would see the Rockies manage 3 singles, but nothing else while striking out 3 times. The bottom of the 3rd would see the next bit of scoring as Justin Turner turned around Gray’s 4th pitch of the inning 388 ft. to left-center making it 3-0 Dodgers up. The 4th inning had Colorado see their first real scoring opportunity as Ryan McMahon double to deep right-center. Then C.J. Cron would commence to strikeout swinging on a 99-mph fastball at his eyeballs. Then Sam Hilliard would fly out to shallow center to end their half of the inning.

Jon Gray would take the mound in the bottom of the 4th and looked dominant. Sitting the Dodgers down in order on just 15 pitches. He was at 89 total pitches, but I believe he earned to at least start the 5th after the way he looked in the 4th including making Mookie Betts look silly on 95-mph high-cheese to end the frame. But unfortunately, I don’t make those decisions.

Embed from Getty Images

The 5th inning would see the Rockies finally end their scoreless streak at 26 innings after back-to-back shutouts against San Francisco to end that series. And against the Dodgers to begin this one. Dom Nunez would start off the inning with a strikeout. Yonathan Daza would pinch-hit for Gray and single to right. Then Hampson would showcase that speed again and reach on an infield single. Raimel Tapia would then walk and load the bases with just 1-out. Then Trevor Story, after a start to the season that saw him batting .265 despite a .305 XBA and average exit-velocity of 91.7. He would get jammed but fight it off to right scoring Daza to make it 3-1 and leaving the bases loaded. Charlie Blackmon would allow Hampson to show off that speed again as he would hit a roller to the shortstop in the shift which left the only play at 2nd where Seager threw out his counterpart Story to get the 2nd out of the inning. This would end the night for Dustin May with a 3-2 score. Victor Gonzalez would come in and McMahon would ground out to end the threat with runners on the corners.

Four Rockies relievers would combine to complete the final 4 innings of work. They would combine to give up 5 hits and 1 run (a Zach McKinstry home run in the 8th). Which would put us at the final score of 4-2. They would strike out 5, but also walk 3, continuing a concerning trend for the entire Rockies pitching staff. They are dead-last in WHIP (1.57) and walks allowed (61).

Embed from Getty Images

It would take five Dodgers relievers to finish the last 5 innings of work for them. Their quintet would combine for 5 shutout innings, 2 hits, 2 BBs, and 6 strikeouts. That put the Rockies at 12 strikeouts for the game when you factor in the 6 Dustin May racked up in 4.1 innings of work. This against just 8 for the Dodgers hitters. The Dodgers pitchers also only gave up 2 walks to the Rockies 5 total walks issued. This is going to be a very long year for Rockies fans if this trend continues. As the Rockies have now scored 2 runs in their last 30 innings of play. This may end up being the worst Rockies offense in history, if the pitchers can’t hold their own, they have no chance at even a mildly successful season.

Unless you count tanking for the first overall pick in next years draft as a success?

Up Next:

@ Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday, April 15 at 8:10 PM MST

Where to Watch:

Colorado Market: AT&T SportsNet

Dodgers Market: SportsNet Los Angeles

Rockies Drop Series Opener 7-0 to Dodgers

Embed from Getty Images

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:
Up Next:

@ 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

Opening Day in LoDo Gets Squirrely: Rockies Beat Dodgers

Embed from Getty Images

Opening Day in LoDo saw 13 runs, but no homers, even though one was hit. Yea…I do my best to unravel an insane Opener to Rockies baseball.

It is finally that time of the year again, and there are fans in the stands on Opening Day at Coors Field. On a beautiful 72 degree and cloudless Colorado afternoon. For the first time in 2021, you get to see me talk about something other than Nuggets or Avalanche. We all got to some type of normalcy, with an announced 20,570 out of a possible 21,000+. I will say, I have been in Coors Field at full-capacity before the Party Deck. That was not an almost half-full stadium, thousands of tickets were available via Coloradorockies.com as of just 2 days ago, but I digress and will leave that debate for another day. Let’s focus on the game on the field.

The 2021 Opening Day in LoDo saw a battle of NL West aces. German Marquez for the Colorado Rockies, and Clayton Kershaw for the 2020 World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. And we got to enjoy the 2 types of ace performances you can expect. A workmanlike 92 pitch 4-inning performance from Marquez, and a surgically precise 44-pitch start for Kershaw. That first 4 innings saw the workman top the surgeon with the Rockies taking a 2-1 lead into the 5th.

Embed from Getty Images

How we got here was a winding tale. In the 3rd-inning we got treated to a home run that was, then wasn’t, then was, then ultimately wasn’t. This is the official scoring of what was ultimately ruled a single. Here is how Yahoo! Sports puts it in the books:

“Cody Bellinger singled to deep left-center, Justin Turner scored. Cody Bellinger out advancing on throw”

Yahoo! Sports Game Center Scoring

This was on a play that had Bellinger smoke a high fly ball that landed in left-fielder Raimel Tapia’s glove, then popped out and over the fence a la Jose Conseco’s Domer Homer. But unfortunately for Bellinger, Justin Turner, who was on first base, thought Tapia caught it when he came down looking like he was firing the ball back in. Turner scrambled back to first, causing Bellinger to pass him on the bases. Hence Turner scoring without ever crossing the plate, and Bellinger being ruled out and only being awarded an RBI.

Embed from Getty Images

So much consternation was expressed on Rockies Twitter about the top of the lineup and where Josh Fuentes hit. But the bottom of the lineup is where the focus should have been. In the Rox half of the 3rd, you got to see what their offense will look like in 2021. Good old-fashioned small-ball based on speed and bat control. Chris Owings led off the inning with a triple to right over Mookie Betts who misjudged the ball off the bat. That was followed by Garrett Hampson pushing a bunt-single past a charging Max Muncy to tie the game at 1-1 as Owings would score. Marquez failed to move Hampson on a pop-up bunt to Kershaw. Tapia would follow with a grounded out to Kershaw that again showcased why speed kills as Hampson was able to safely make it to 2nd. This would prove crucial as Josh Fuentes started his solo story with a single to left-center scoring Hampson.

The 4th inning was again adventurous for Marquez, but he continued to find a way to end the night giving up only the 1 earned run despite 6 BB’s and 6 hits among those aforementioned 92 pitches. Those hits included 1 of the 2 Kershaw managed before being knocked out in the 5th. Here’s another stupid stat that shouldn’t be true, Kershaw is 9-22 on Opening Day for a batting average of .409 after his 2-3 performance at the plate Thursday. But even though Kershaw and company out-hit the Rockies 15-11. Their 2 errors and 3 wild pitches proved fatal.

Embed from Getty Images

The Dodgers showed some life against 5th starter Chi Chi Gonzalez relieved Marquez in the 4th. Chi Chi ended up in this role as the Rockies won’t technically need a 5th starter until the end of April due to scheduling quirks. Problematically, he only lasted 2 innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk. This allowed the Dodgers to tie the game 4-4 before he departed after the 6th.

That Dodgers’ defensive ineptitude mixed with the Rox flashing their own leather, racking up 3 double-plays. Including the insane diving stop by Owings on a hot-shot up the middle by Austin Barnes in the 7th. He then shoveled the ball to Trevor Story who pulled a full pirouette and fired to first for the 2nd out. A true beauty of a defensive gem. Chris Owings filled up the stat sheet to go along with that Web Gem as he went 3-3 with a triple, 1 RBI, 2 steals, 3 runs, and a walk.

Embed from Getty Images

The bottom of the 6th is where Colorado really took hold of the game and never let go, no matter how the Dodgers threatened. Colorado showed more of the small ball in their half of the 6th when they shot 4 singles and a fielder’s choice lead to 2 Rockies runs giving them a 6-4 lead. The 7th would see more of the same as the inning started with a walk to Charlie Blackmon and a ground-rule double by C.J. Cron. They would both score on wild pitches by Jimmy Nelson before the side was retired and put the Rockies up 8-4.

The 8th saw Dodgers pinch-hitter Zach McKinstry lead off the inning with a double, then eventually brought in on a Corey Seager singled to center drawing to within 8-5 of the Rox. The Dodgers would fizzle after that despite a good level of fight left in them. That fight would show why the last 3 outs are always the hardest.

Embed from Getty Images

Daniel Bard would start the top of the 9th by allowing a Max Muncy triple. Not too scary with a 3-run lead, but this is not where it would end. Chris Taylor would follow with a walk putting runners on the corners. Then Edwin Rios went down on strikes looking. Bard would then clip Will Smith on his elbow protector to load the bases with only 1 out. Matt Beaty then would pitch hit, only to forget to swing, as he would watch 3 straight 99-mph fastballs zing by for Bard’s second K of the inning. This left the last matchup you wanted, Mookie Betts, bases loaded, bottom of the 9th, down by 3. Thankfully for Rockies Twitter sanity, Daniel entered the lion’s den and left with a new fur coat. Coaxing a weak liner by Betts to Owings to seal his first save of the season on Opening Day 2021.

Up Next:

Vs. L.A. Dodgers Friday, April 2 at 6:40 PM MST

Where to watch:

Denver Market: ATT Sportsnet Rocky Mountain

L.A. Market: Sportsnet Los Angeles