“The Man” Marquez dominates Nats


Mark Tenally/Associated Press

What does it take to shut down the top NL offense at home? Apparently an excellent fastball and a dominant curveball, at least when it comes from the hand of German Marquez. After the sweep in St. Louis, this is the exact kind of game the Rockies needed to rebound, and it gives them momentum going into the double header on Sunday.

Tanner Roark had been very good for the Nationals since the break, and he was by no means bad on Saturday, but the Rockies got to him enough to get him out of the game in five innings while also scoring some runs off of him. Roark did strike out eight in the short time he was out there, accounting for over half of his outs, but he also allowed a homer and some rallying in the fifth.

The first of the four Rockies’ runs came in the second inning. After a walk to Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story took a two strike pitch to the opposite field that got out for a home run to give the Rockies an early lead.

They would give Marquez and the bullpen some insurance in the fifth, which also started with a walk. With two outs and DJ LeMahieu on first, Gerardo Parra did what he has done all year long and drove him in with an opposite field double. It was Parra’s 44th RBI which is notable for the time he has missed on the DL. Reynolds then drove in Parra on a ball to right field to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead.

Marquez finally ran into trouble in the sixth allowing three hits and two runs, but ultimately kept the Nationals from rallying anymore by striking out the side. Marquez would go one more inning finishing with a career high 10 strikeouts and zero walks. He took a perfect game into the sixth inning and really gave the Rockies a much needed boost.

The newcomer Pat Neshek came on in the eighth and worked a flawless inning before handing the ball to Holland who did the same for his league leading 32nd save. The Rockies may still make a move for another bullpen arm, but the addition of Neshek is an obvious boost and really helps the bullpen out, especially in games where the starter goes deep and he can be used effectively.

The Rockies will now try to at least split the double header to take a series win, but perhaps an early win will give them the momentum for the sweep. They do get the benefit of not having to face any of the Nationals top arms, but the Rockies have seen struggles against rookies, though those did come in the middle of an offensive slump.

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Series Preview: Rockies (58-45) vs. Nationals (61-39)

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Friday, July 28th 5:05pm: German Marquez (8-4 4.20) vs. Tanner Roark (8-6 4.83)

After getting swept by the Cardinals, the Rockies absolutely need to rebound against one of the best teams in the league. They had an extremely rough series against the Nats at Coors earlier this year, so hopefully they can enact some revenge on the Capitol’s team. The Rockies made a move for Pat Neshek and are expected to make another move before the deadline, so this could be a series that sees a different team. Along with deadline moves, Chatwood is likely to find himself with a more permanent role after Holland comes off the paternity list, Dahl is raking down in AAA, and Bettis is well on his way to a return. Depth is key for playoff teams, especially down the stretch, so any of these players will be welcomed with open arms when the time comes.

Saturday, July 29th 5:05pm: Kyle Freeland (10-7 3.64) vs. Erick Fedde

The Rockies will face rookie and first time starter Erick Fedde in game two of the series as there best rookie takes the mound. Kyle Freeland has been very good for the Rockies and if not for Cody Bellinger, would probably be getting more ROTY consideration. But awards mean nothing in a playoff race so Freeland will be looking to get a win during this game rather than any end of the season award. The hardest part for Freeland, and Marquez as well, will be keeping a scorching hot Nats offense down. That was the same task that the Rockies failed at during their first series, so hopefully they learned from that and can rebound.

Sunday, July 30th 11:35am: Jon Gray (3-1 5.84) vs. Edwin Jackson (1-1 4.76)

Jon Gray has not pitched how the Rockies, or himself, have wanted him to pitch recently. He did do a little better his last time out as he did not walk a batter, but he still only got through five innings and gave up eight hits. Gray will be looking to up his efficiency as well as giving the Rockies what is hopefully a series win. He is the veteran of the staff in this series so regardless of what happens in the first two games, he needs to come out and shut down the Nats offense to the best of his abilities. Luckily for the Rockies, they do not face Strasburg or Scherzer in this series which really increases their ability to win.

 

Hoffman struggles in second straight, Cards sweep

Jeff Hoffman went four innings on Wednesday allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits. It was the second straight bad start for Hoffman and it sealed the Rockies fate. Aside from the walk-off loss, the Rockies were pretty much out of all of these games quick and early.

Thursday’s game had the Rockies winning by two runs two separate times, but once the Cardinals took the lead, the Rockies offense fell flat and the Cards never looked back. The bullpen once again struggled and with the inconsistencies on offense, this is a series the Rockies just want to forget about and move on.

The first inning was a good start for Colorado with a walk and two-run homer from Nolan Arenado to take a lead, but it was immediately erased in the bottom half of the inning. The Rockies took the lead back in the third when Gerardo Parra had a clutch two-out, two-run double. Parra has been the most consistent player since coming off the DL and the other players would really love to mimic his production.

The fourth inning saw the Rockies fall apart, mainly on the mound. The Cardinals loaded the bases before the Rockies even recorded an out and even after the first out was recorded, the Cardinals got five runs in the inning. Hoffman would get out of the inning, but he was removed after getting the third out for a pretty bad final line. He had been really good early, but the rookie pitchers have been struggling and really need to rebound.

The Rockies wild card lead is down to four games over Milwaukee, but they are making moves to hopefully improve their recent struggles. Last night they acquired Pat Neshek for three minor leaguers, none really of importance as of yet, but it brings some much needed bullpen help. The Rockies may still make another move, for a catcher, bullpen arm, or possible starter, but that will remain to be seen.

Walk-off sac fly wins series for Cards

After a missed call by the home plate umpire, a perfect bunt and a shallow fly ball to right, the Cardinals were able to score the game winning run on a sac fly. The play at the plate was a close one, and probably should’ve been handled by Ryan Hanigan, but instead it was botched and Colorado’s late game tying efforts were made worthless.

The game looked as though it would turn into another ugly one, as Jon Gray gave up two runs in the first, and quickly. Gray was able to settle down however and although he only got through five innings, it wasn’t a bad start. He did strikeout six and walked none, but the Cards had eight hits through five against him and did score the two runs early to build some momentum.

The two runs held up for a while as well with the Rockies recording only two hits against Lance Lynn through the first six innings. The offense had very little luck in this game and it took until the seventh to score a run. After a walk and a double, Lynn was removed for Siegrist who would face Parra. Parra, as he has done since coming off the DL, lifted a ball to give the Rockies their first run on a sac fly. Then Mark Reynolds walked to put two on for Cargo. But as the Rockies did all day long, Cargo grounded into a double play, one of three on the night for the Rockies.

With two strikes and no outs, Trevor Story tied the game up at 2-2. Story lifted a ball to left field that got out for his 14th homer of the year and the game was tied, erasing the two run deficit the Rockies had an inning earlier.

The Rockies threatened to break the tie in the ninth with two outs, putting men on first and second, but Trevor Story struck out looking to end the threat. The Cards then had a good chance to walk off on Colorado.

Jake McGee remained in the game to work the ninth and immediately got hurt by the umpire. With two strikes, the ump missed a call that would end up resulting in a double from Harrison Bader, his first career hit. A sac bunt moved him over to third and Jedd Gyorko came up, needing only a ball in play to possibly win the game. The Rockies played it well, shifting him to the right side of the outfield, even going as far as to remove the left fielder, but the throw from Cargo short hopped Hanigan to allow Bader to score.

It is hard to entirely blame Hanigan as the throw could’ve been better, but it was still a play he should have made, especially being a veteran. Regardless of the outcome, the Rockies still have another game to play and a game they need to win to avoid the sweep. Hoffman is on the mound and will hopefully do better than his three innings he gave last time out.

Bullpen struggles continue for Rockies

Along with a rough start by Senzatela, the bullpen also struggled during the series opener against the Cardinals. Only three pitchers had to pitch in the game, a welcome surprise when the team gives up eight runs, but you would have liked to use more pitchers in a win than less pitchers in a loss.

In two starts since returning to the rotation, Senzatela has failed to get into the sixth inning and given up four runs in each start. He has also struggled with fastball command walking five in only nine innings. What Senzatela did early in the year, throwing strikes, commanding the fastball, pitching to contact, has escaped him recently. With no great secondary pitches yet, Senzatela really needs to dominate with his fastball, and he has just been slipping with that the later we get into the year.

Senzatela may find himself back in the bullpen when a starter returns, or if the Rockies make a move for a starter, which does not seem to be the case. They did make a move for a bullpen arm, but it was not one to be excited about and should hopefully be only a warmup come the deadline in six days. A frontline starter would be nice, but the focus still needs to be for a bullpen arm who can either bridge to Holland or eat up innings without being a complete train wreck.

With the offensive struggles on Monday, people may be looking for a bat as well, but that has to be the least important piece. A bench piece would be nice, but both Cargo and Story have been much better over the last week and the rest of the offense is doing very well. There are still reinforcements waiting down in the minors, but the Rockies will probably not make a move for one of them until September, unless of course an injury occurs.

The Rockies can still win this series with the Cardinals, but they need to improve both offensively and with the pitching to get the win. They have Jon Gray on the mound and he will try and get some quality innings for Colorado and they will need it while facing Lance Lynn. It has been feast or famine for Rockies players against Lynn, so hopefully the buffet is on on Wednesday.

Rockies bounce back after tough loss

After a huge loss on Friday night, the Rockies had a nice bounce back game on Saturday with a nice 7-3 win. Some clutch two-out hits and a really great outing by German Marquez fueled the win. The Rockies now have a chance to win the series on Sunday with Kyle Freeland on the mound, and his last start was nearly history.

Pittsburg did get on the board first and the game looked as though it would end up similar to Friday’s game, but he kept his cool and turned in a really good start. With two walks and a double, the Pirates had a 1-0 lead and they had a good opportunity again in the third. With Starling Marte reaching base with a leadoff single, the Rockies were playing with fire. Marte managed to steal second, but he was quickly erased on a line out double play.

In the bottom of the third, the Rockies got their first three runs. A one-out single and double put runners at second and third for LeMahieu who was able to hit a sac fly. Nolan Arenado and Mark Reynolds then had a couple two-out hits to score two more runners to take a 3-1 lead. The Rockies would only need one more run to win the game, but they got a few more as the game would go on.

Trevor Story, LeMahieu, and Desmond all had RBI singles as the game would go on and Alexi Amarista doubled in a run in his only at-bat. With Marquez going seven innings in the game, the bullpen did not need to cover that many innings and Bud Black even opted to use his closer in the eighth inning for a four out save. With two runs getting scored in the eighth, Holland probably could’ve been removed for someone else, but Black left him in and he gave up one run, but still earned the save and finished the game.

There was some drama in the game when the benches cleared after an inside pitch to Cargo, but it is unlikely there is any continuation of this in the finale of the series. This is similar to some drama that came in the first series of the year between these teams, but it was just some typical drama that Pittsburg always seems to be involved in.

Rockies flogged by Pirates

pirates-rockies-baseball-61994-jpg.jpegAP Photo/David Zalubowski

In the series opener against the Pirates, Jeff Hoffman could not even get out of the fourth inning and the Rockies never stood a chance. Scoring 13 runs certainly didn’t help anything and Hoffman’s four walks gave the Pirates an opportunity to score early and often.

Hoffman’s line was not a pretty one, in addition to his walks, he allowed seven runs and nine hits while only striking out two. A patient Pirates team is the biggest reason for this loss, as the Rockies still managed to score five runs and even had an early lead by scoring three in the first.

But whatever momentum the Rockies had was eliminated quickly as Hoffman could just not get outs. The bullpen was no better as Lyles, Oberg, and Diaz all allowed runs over the final six innings.  Eighteen hits and thirteen runs is the quick way to a loss and the Rockies just need to rebound in game two.

German Marquez has a win this year already against the Pirates and the Rockies have some good offensive momentum, despite losing on Friday. With a good, young pitcher and the offense finally rolling, the Rockies can win any game even with a bad performance, but the bullpen needs to do their job much better and the team really has need of an extra bullpen arm, or even two.

With the deadline nine days away, the Rockies are not expected to be big buyers, but they are expected to be buyers and should make at least one move. Some would like to see a bat added along with a bullpen arm. Some want to see a starter, but almost everyone agrees that the bullpen arm is an absolute necessity.