Dodgers seeing ghosts as Jon Gray dominates

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Jon “Ghost Hunter” Gray out dueled his competitor on Monday night in a game that was much closer than it appeared. The Rockies finished with an 8-1 win, but it took until late in the game for them to earn what would eventually be a lopsided victory.

Gray continued his upward trend against the Dodgers and also continued to show that you can pitch really well at Coors Field. His splits certainly trend towards starting on the road, but Gray has still had really good outings at home and last night was one of those starts. Gray managed through six innings while striking out eight Dodgers. He allowed only four hits and walked three, but none of those baserunners would end up crossing the plate.

The Rockies did what they could to back him up as well even if it did start with only two runs. In the fourth inning with two outs, Nick Hundley continued his recent stretch of hitting well and hit a two run home run. The homer broke the tie and the scoreless game. Those two runs would turn out to be all that the Rockies would need, but it was far from all they would get.

In the seventh, the Rockies broke the game open for a huge five run inning. The inning started harmlessly enough with a strike out, but a single, walk, single and double drove the Rockies next three runs in. The inning wouldn’t end there when Nolan Arenado doubled in another run and Gerrardo Parra drove in the fifth of the inning with a single. The Rockies finished with a 7-0 lead. One more run came across in the eighth and that would be plenty for the Rockies to win the game.

The Dodgers scored a run in the ninth to elude the shutout, but that was certainly not enough. The Rockies bullpen did a good job between Chris Rusin, Jake McGee, and Matt Carasiti. While Carasiti allowing a run is not a great thing, he did keep it to only one run and that will hopefully build confidence for the young pitcher.

The Rockies will try and string their winning streak to four games on Tuesday with Tyler Anderson on the mound. Anderson has been good this year, but has had a little more trouble lately. Winning this series for the Rockies would be a good sign going forward and could be a sign of the winning ways to come in the future years.

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Series Preview: Dodgers vs. Rockies

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Monday, August 29th 6:40pm: Kenta Maeda (13-7 3.37 ERA) vs. Jon Gray (8-6 4.61 ERA)

Two rookie pitchers will face off for the series opener on Monday. Maeda has made three starts against the Rockies this year and all of them have been enough to give the Dodgers a win. Maeda is hardly a rookie with the experience he has in other leagues and he has shown that this year with how well he has pitched. Jon Gray is still very much a rookie and despite the starts he made last year, he is still growing. Gray has pitched really well this year and actually set the Rockies rookie record for strike outs in a season. He will look increase that record on Monday against the Dodgers for his third start. In each start against the Dodgers, Gray has improved upon his last outing against them. He will hope to continue that trend on Monday and with how the Rockies have done against teams ahead of them, there is a good chance he will have a successful outing.

Tuesday, August 30th 6:40pm: Rich Hill (10-3 2.09 ERA) vs. Tyler Anderson (4-5 3.69 ERA)

Hill has only made one start for the Dodgers, but with the Athletics he was terrific. Coming to Coors Field is no easy task as many pitchers have found out this year, but with how Hill has been pitching this year he is likely full of confidence. That may make for a tough matchup, but the Rockies have an explosive offense, especially at home, and can erupt for a lot of runs on any given day. They also send Tyler Anderson to the mound who has been the most consistent pitcher this year for the Rockies. He is also only a rookie and holds the lowest rookie ERA for a Rockies pitcher. Anderson is part of the best Rockies rotation in quite some time and is definitely an important piece for the future of this team.

Wednesday, August 31st 1:10pm: TBD vs. Jeff Hoffman (0-2 8.10 ERA)

This series is a looking glass into the future for this Rockies rotation. The third game of the series sees the Rockies sending a third rookie pitcher to the mound. Hoffman was better in his last start out and he will try and improve upon that once again against the Dodgers. He certainly has potential as he should for someone who was traded for Troy Tulowitzki, and he, just as Anderson and Gray, is a huge part of this Rockies future. Pending some miracle 2007-esque run, the Rockies will not make the playoffs this year, but there is still a lot of reason to watch the Rockies. With the young pitchers and position players that will get a chance to show their chops in the big leagues, this team will have a wild month of September and may show what the future holds.

Rockies win season series behind Nolan’s big day

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The Rockies managed to win the series against the Nationals after getting swept by the Brewers. It continued the extremely confusing trend of winning against the best teams in the league while struggling against the bottom dwellers. On Sunday, it was Nolan Arenado carrying the team with Chad Bettis having a great game. The Rockies won in the end by a score of 5-3 despite three solo home runs from the Nats.

The offense started early for the Rockies and further enforced the 1-2 punch combo of Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu at the top of the lineup. Charlie singled and then DJ walked to put two men on. Cargo couldn’t do anything productive in his first at bat, but a red hot Nolan Arenado had his first hit of what would be a four hit day. On a single to left, Charlie scored the first run of the game.

Chad Bettis ran into some early trouble when Trea Turner hit a solo homer on a 2-1 count. Even though the start to the game was not what Bettis would have wanted, it did not seem to phase him. The only other run that came off of Bettis was a home run in the seventh from Wilson Ramos. Other than the two solo homers, Bettis allowed some scattered singles and only walked one batter in the game. He struck out six over seven innings and had what was probably his best game all year long.

The Rockies offense didn’t do much for Bettis, but luckily all he needed was Nolan Arenado. After Arenado’s single in the first, he lined a two run homer in the third to put the Rockies up 3-1 at the time. David Dahl followed that up with an opposite field shot to give the Rockies what would eventually be the winning run.

Each team would score one more run in the game. The Rockies got another run on a strange play. With Daniel Descalso on second after doubling, pitcher Koda Glover fired a pitch that Ramos completely missed. The ball hit the home plate umpires left shoulder and shot into the air. Ramos briefly checked on the ump before realizing that Descalso had not stopped running from second. Descalso ended up scoring to give the Rockies their fifth run.

Bryce Harper hit a solo shot in the ninth, but it did not matter as Adam Ottavino came on and shut the game down. He struck out two and finished with a fly out off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman. Overall, it was a well played game by the Rockies from top to bottom and it gives them some hopeful momentum going into a series with the Dodgers. They are still six games under .500 and 6.5 back in the wild card, but this season has been much better than the previous two. Going into the final month of the season, the Rockies will have what should be considered September spring training and see what their team will be next year.

Rockies explode for five runs in the 11th

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The bullpen and offense finally played well enough for a win on Saturday afternoon. It may have taken until the 11th inning for the Rockies to finally break through and of late that would have meant a bullpen collapse somewhere earlier. However, on Saturday the bullpen actually did really well and even though the one hiccup came from Adam Ottavino and resulted in a blow save, the Rockies didn’t let it get them down and the rest of the bullpen carried them to a 9-4 win.

The Rockies got out to an early lead when Charlie Blackmon hit his first home run of the day. It was only a solo shot, but it broke a 0-0 tie and gave Charlie the first of his three hits on the day. The Rockies came back in the fourth inning and scored two more runs. The first run crossed on what is probably the last time a run will ever score on an intentional walk. A big cross up allowed Nolan Arenado to score when A.J. Cole fired the ball past the catcher. Jorge De La Rosa then singled a run in. It is also worth mentioning that De La Rosa has a higher batting average than Cristhian Adames and only five less RBIs. De La Rosa is also not known as a great hitter.

The 3-0 lead quickly dissolved in the next inning when the Nationals got back on the Rockies for three runs. Four straight hits got two runs in and another run crossed on a ground out. The game was then tied until the Rockies got back for one run later in the game.

In the seventh, the Rockies got a little help with a couple of singles and an error to put runners on the corners. Cargo then grounded out, but putting the ball in play was the important part and it allowed the run to score.

The ninth inning saw the Rockies get two pretty quick outs that sandwiched a walk. Ben Revere who walked was able to get to second and then Jayson Werth drove him in on a clutch hit on a 0-2 count. Werth just punched the ball to left and it got down right in front of David Dahl who tried to fire home but the throw was too late.

The game would then go to extras and it took until the 11th for someone to get something going. The Rockies would record six straight hits with two home runs in the first six batters to finally pull through for some late runs. Cargo and Blackmon both had two run home runs to give the Rockies a healthy 8-4 lead and one more run crossed on a Nick Hundley single. The offense was just as determined as the bullpen in this game to win one and snap their losing streak.

The Rockies will try and win the series against Lucas Giolito for another series win against the Nats. Chad Bettis takes the mound for the Rockies and will look to rebound from a rough start last time out.

Once again bullpen lets game get out of hand

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Jeff Hoffman, while not incredible in his second start out, was still impressive. He didn’t get much help behind him with the Rockies defense booting the ball around and making two errors behind him. Hoffman kept his composure and got through six innings while allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits.

Hoffman pitched well enough for a win on Friday night, but the offense couldn’t supply the runs early and then the bullpen allowed the game to get too far away from them. Matt Carasiti had another bad outing for the Rockies as he allowed four runs in his one inning pitched. Before allowing those runs, it was a 4-2 game with the Nationals ahead, but they quickly increased that lead to a large amount and the Rockies were force to battle uphill in the late innings.

The Rockies did manage five runs in the game, but the offense was supplied almost entirely by Nick Hundley. Hundley had his best game of the season by driving in four and tallying three hits, falling a triple short of the cycle. Hundley is the sole reason this game was even close as he hit a three run home run in the ninth to bring the Rockies within three, but it was much too little and far too late.

Hundley had three of the Rockies hits with Ryan Raburn having two more himself. Outside of those batters, the Rockies were 1-27 in the game. It was really a bad game offensively even though they scored five runs and it left a lot to be desired.

The latest four games have really been a struggle for the Rockies in almost all facets of the game. Surprisingly, the starting pitching has been the least concerning, but that is mainly due to the bullpen being a dumpster fire and the offense struggling in many places. With DJ LeMahieu injured, the revolving door that is first base, the black hole that is the bottom half of the lineup, and Cargo in a slump, the Rockies offense actually looks pretty bad. They do have some options down in the minor leagues which, but those will still have to wait a few days for the September call ups. The Rockies played themselves into contention in early July, but they have quickly played themselves out of it in August.

An afternoon game in D.C. will hopefully bring some life to the offense as DJ LeMahieu returns and the Rockies face a rookie pitcher. They will likely load up from the left side and hopefully the offense tallies enough runs to salvage any late inning collapse by the bullpen.

Series Preview: Rockies vs. Nationals

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Friday, August 26th 5:05pm: Jeff Hoffman (0-1 13.50 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (8-9 4.30 ERA)

Jeff Hoffman was given no easy task in his Major League debut as he had to face the Cubs. On Friday he will take on what is another difficult team in the Nationals. He did show potential through the first few innings, but quickly ran into trouble the second time through the lineup. Look for Hoffman to make adjustments as he faces the Nats lineup the second time through. Gio Gonzalez’s last start against the Rockies was cut short by a rain delay. It was not a great start for Gio though and getting removed may have been a blessing in disguise for his ERA. Look for the Rockies to try and jump out to an early lead, however morale may be low after getting swept by the Brewers.

Saturday, August 27th 11:05am: Jorge De La Rosa (8-7 5.07 ERA) vs. A.J. Cole (0-1 5.14 ERA)

Cole is a rookie and has made only one start this year, although he did appear three times last year. Cole is by no means a seasoned rookie and is only a few games ahead of where Jeff Hoffman is at. The Rockies need to take advantage of the young rookie and start back in the right direction. Gio Gonzalez is a tough customer, but with how inconsistent rookies can be, the Rockies may have a chance of breaking this one open for a hopeful blowout win.

Sunday, August 28th 11:35am: Chad Bettis (10-7 5.29 ERA) vs. TBD

The Nationals have not yet named a starter for Sunday, but the more important thing for the Rockies will be how Chad Bettis performs. He allowed a career high seven walks in his last start out and that was against a team with a much worse offense than the Nationals. If he gives up even half as many walks to the Nats, this will be a bad game for both him and the Rockies. Bettis needs to bounce back to the pitcher he normally is. Getting ahead early in the count and pitching to contact is when Bettis is best and when he gets too fine with his pitches he gets into trouble. He is no ace and trying to pitch like one only gets him trouble. With how the Rockies have been going, this could end up a sweep for either the Nats or the Rox. The Rockies have played well against good teams, but it seems unlikely that they will dominate a series just after they struggled against the Brewers.

Another starter racks up the Ks in loss

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Tom Lynn AP Photo

Just as Jon Gray did the day before, Tyler Anderson went out and dominated a Brewers lineup. Anderson only managed five innings, but he struck out ten over those innings while allowing two runs on only three hits. But the same thing that happened Tuesday happened Wednesday and the bullpen couldn’t keep the game close.

While the bullpen is partially to blame, the offense also didn’t do their job. The only run for the Rockies came in the first inning when Nolan Arenado hit a solo home run. Outside of Nolan in this series, the Rockies struggled to score in games where they were going against not very great pitching. The Brewers have by no means a great staff and bullpen, and many would say the Rockies have one of the best offenses in the league, but everything was not going their way in this series.

The Rockies actually had half of their hits in the first inning with two singles coming after Nolan’s home run. However, over the next eight innings, the Rockies managed only three hits and didn’t really even come close to scoring.

The Brewers only needed two runs to win this game and they got both of those off of Tyler Anderson. A struggling Rockies bullpen wanted to give out some insurance runs though and the Brewers scored five more runs between the sixth and seventh innings. Chris Rusin and Chad Qualls allowed the runs, but Chad Qualls is largely to blame as one of the runs credited to Rusin scored when Qualls allowed a home run to Ryan Braun, his second of the game.

This series was just another showing of the Rockies playing badly against bad teams. Not many teams can claim to take two of three from both the Nationals and Cubs, but the Rockies make that even rarer by sandwiching those series between two sweeps by teams that are very far under .500.

Now the Rockies will head to the nations capital to take on the Nationals once again, this time on their home turf. Jeff Hoffman will start the series off with his second career start and look to build off the positives he displayed his first time out. The outing ended roughly, but there are certainly things to build off of for this young right. He takes on Gio Gonzalez who the Rockies beat last time out, although that was partially due to him being removed because of a rain delay.