Good pitching can’t carry flat offense to win

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Photo by Huy Mach, hmach@post-dispatch.com

The Rockies gave up only two runs to the Cardinals on Wednesday night, but the offense failed to get anything going and couldn’t hit with men in scoring position. The final score was 2-0 and despite Chris Rusin going six strong and the bullpen putting up zeroes, the Rockies went 0-10 with runners in scoring position.

The Rockies looked like they would score early when Charlie Blackmon hit a leadoff triple. The next batter Trevor Story hit a ball to third and Matt Carpenter came home with it. Blackmon was cut down with ease on a ball he probably shouldn’t have came home on. An error allowed Nolan Arenado to reach and put two men on with only one out for Cargo. The slump is still going for Cargo and the Rockies failed to score in the inning as Gonzalez and Gerrardo Parra both lined out.

The bottom half of the inning the Cardinals threatened just like the Rockies. A double and error with one out put runners on second and third. Randal Grichuk would then walk to load the bases and the Rockies were in trouble. With Yadier Molina at the plate and only one out, there was a good chance the Cardinals would score. He hit a hard ground ball to the left side that seemed destined for a hole, but Arenado dove and made an incredible play to start the double play. He threw from his knees to DJ LeMahieu at second and he relayed to first to get Molina easily to save two runs and end the inning.

The third inning would see the Rockies have two men reach base with only one out in the inning, but again they failed to drive anyone in. That was the story of the night as the Rockies couldn’t seize the opportunities they were given and Adam Wainwright started to cruise.

The third inning also saw the only offense of the night from the Cardinals who were kept quiet by the Rockies pitchers for every inning except this one. A walk and single with one out would put runners on second and third (both men would advance on the throw by Parra trying to cut the lead runner down) and Matt Holliday would come to the plate. Holliday doubled right down the line and both runners would score. That would conclude the offense for the night as the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead, but both teams would go quietly at the plate the rest of the game.

This was really a game that wasn’t as bad of a loss as it could’ve been. The Rockies have been surging lately and they just ran into a pitcher who had all of his stuff. A key hit here and there would’ve tied the game and the Rockies could’ve won. The pitching was terrific, the defense was good except for the error by Story that turned out to be harmless, the offense just couldn’t produce. A loss that is because of bad hitting and not bad pitching is much more acceptable from the Rockies standpoint because there offense will get going, but getting good pitching is much more rare. It does hurt that it goes as a wasted pitching performance by Rusin, but it happens.

The Rockies will have a chance to win the series on Thursday with Jon Gray on the mound. Gray is really starting to look like the ace of this staff with his last three performances and with any luck he will keep that up. Michael Wacha will take the hill opposite Gray and this game could be another low scoring affair.

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