David Zalubowski AP Photo
With as bad as Toronto’s bullpen has been recently, it was a blessing that their starter was so terrific. Aaron Sanchez was able to go eight great innings where he only allowed a run and shut down a couple of key Rockies rallies. Rockies starter Tyler Anderson was also great, going six innings while allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out six. If it wasn’t for Sanchez’s terrific start, Anderson may have earned his first win, but the Rockies offense just couldn’t get anything going against the young righty.
Toronto managed to take an early lead in the second inning and with how great their starter was, they didn’t need many runs. Junior Lake drove in the first run with a double after Edwin Encarnacion reached on catchers interference and was moved up a base by a single from Kevin Pillar. Toronto got a couple more runs in the third with a Josh Donaldson homer and a Tulo single.
After those three runs scored, Anderson kept the Blue Jays off the board for the rest of his start. He got only one run of insurance however, a third inning RBI single from Daniel Descalso, and that was not enough to keep him from earning a loss. Anderson is 0-2 in four starts, but he has been very solid since his call up. He is averaging just over a strike out per inning and has a 2.66 ERA. His ERA+ is an absolutely fantastic 191, which means he is 91% better than the league average. Keeping that up would mean a historic season for a Rockies pitcher, and that’s ignoring the fact he is a rookie. Anderson has been an absolutely terrific addition to the Rockies rotation and has easily been the brightest spot in the Rockies month of June.
The Rockies almost managed a comeback in ninth inning against Toronto’s closer Roberto Osuna. Three doubles in the inning and a leadoff walk drove two men in and put the Rockies down 5-3. With runners at second and third and only one out, the Rockies had an excellent opportunity to tie the game up. Nick Hundley, pinch hitting with DJ LeMahieu and Trevor Story unavailable, struck out. Blackmon then was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cristhian Adames came up to try and keep the rally going, but on a check swing he was called out by the home plate umpire. While Adames did likely go around, a call earlier in the game really brings to attention the home plate umpire and his ability to call batters out on a check swing.
In a call that went Toronto’s way, the third base umpire called a batter safe on a check swing where he very clearly went around. The Rockies were unable to get that same saving grace when the home plate umpire made the call. This is a play the league needs to reevaluate and change. The home plate umpire already has to watch a plethora of things and a check swing should not be his call. He has no angle on the play and already has to call strikes and balls, which is hard enough. The home plate umpire has no right calling a batter out on a swing without asking for help. He has the help and the opportunity to take it, if it is a questionable call the corner umpires need to be asked.
Regardless of the final out, the Rockies lost this game and will have another losing month. They are not fading as quickly as they normally do at this time in the season and with some likely shakeups coming in the rotation and bullpen, they still have the chance to surge forward. But that is pending the rotation and bullpen stepping up like they need them to. The offense has been great, but pitching wins games and the Rockies need pitching.