“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.

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


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.

Series Preview: Pirates (48-48) vs. Rockies (56-41)

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Friday, July 21st 6:40pm: Trevor Williams (3-4 4.57) vs. Jeff Hoffman (6-1 4.33)

After sweeping the series with the Padres, the Rockies take on an improving Pittsburg team. With Milwaukee six games over .500, the Pirates and Cubs are still very much in the playoff race, so Pittsburg will be trying all they can to win the series. They had a good series against Colorado in Pittsburg, so the Rockies will try and take some revenge. Having Hoffman on the mound is definitely a good thing as he has been good all year, but Coors has been playing pretty offensively with the weather heating up, so either pitcher could find themselves out of the game quickly.

Saturday, July 22nd 6:10pm: Chad Kuhl (3-6 4.85) vs. German Marquez (7-4 4.34)

With another rookie on the mound and a Pirates rookie on the mound, this is yet another game that could be up in the air. Kuhl has had a strange July starting a game only two days after a previous start and then going seven days before his next start. He will be back to regular rest before this next start which may help him, but again, Coors. Marquez was good for a quality start his last start and will try and build off of that. Like all the other rookies, he has had a good starts and bad starts. The Rockies would really enjoy a quick series win again, which would come along with a six game win streak, but things don’t always work out the way they are supposed to.

Sunday, July 23rd 1:10pm: Ivan Nova (10-6 3.27) vs. Kyle Freeland (9-7 3.67)

Freeland missed his last start with his innings in mind. The Rockies are trying to keep him from running into late season fatigue problems. He faces off against Ivan Nova who has been terrific this year, the best starter on the Pirates. That is saying something as they have Gerrit Cole on the staff, but he has not been the ace that the team had expected. Nova is not the typical ace, but any pitcher that can get outs and keep the other team from scoring runs. Freeland made a spot appearance because of the Rockies getting destroyed by the Mets, it works well to give him the day of rest. Coming back to the rotation should not be difficult, but stranger things have happened.

Rockies clobber Padres to sweep series

When you score in all but one inning and tally 21 hits, you probably aren’t going to lose the game. In fact, the game probably won’t even be close and that was exactly the case on Wednesday afternoon in the final game of the series. With the offense rolling on all cylinders, the Rockies were able to sweep the Padres with a finale win of 18-4.

Nolan Arenado had what could be the most productive game of his career, swatting three home runs, driving in seven, and going 5-6. With the seven RBIs, Nolan took sole possession of the league RBI lead at 80, six over Nelson Cruz of the Mariners.

Along with Nolan’s big offensive day, quite a few other players went off as well. Trevor Story went 3-4 with a two run homer. Blackmon went 3-3 with a homer and three runs. Parra, who for the first time since coming off the DL failed to record an RBI, went 4-5 with two runs. And Ryan Hanigan had three hits on the day to cap off the productive bottom o the lineup.

Jon Gray had all the run support he could ask for and more and while he was not fantastic, he did get through six innings. Gray struck out seven while allowing four runs, all in his final inning of work, on seven hits and two walks. Gray was wild early, but starter to settle in as the game went on and did keep the bullpen work to a reasonable amount.

With the Rockies offense finally clicking on all cylinders, they may have a chance to streak themselves into the wild card lead, and maybe even a comfortable position. The Dodgers are showing no signs of slowing down so they will have to prep themselves for a one game playoff, but even that would be the best thing they’ve had in eight years.

It is hard to remember with how well the Rockies have played, but they were not supposed to do this well this year. It is also easy to be riding high after a sweep of one of the worst teams in the league, but the Rockies need to remain focused and take it to the Pirates before heading out on the road again.

Call it a winning streak, Rox win third straight

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

It has been a long time since the Rockies have been able to string together some wins and despite an ugly game played on Tuesday, the Rockies pulled out the win. They got down three runs early and the bullpen gave up some runs late, but with the offense hitting the best they have in quite some time, they were able to take a classic Coors field game from the Padres.

Antonio Senzatela came back to the rotation after a couple starts in AAA and his bullpen stint and was decent, not great, but decent. He gave up three quick runs in the first because of three hits and a walk, but his team gave him run support, as they have done all year long.

Mark Reynolds tied the game up on a three-run homer in the bottom of the first after Padres pitcher Timet walked two. It was Reynolds 20th of the year and turned an ugly first into a side note for what would be a high scoring game.

Senzatela would give up another run in the fifth, his final inning, to have a final line of five innings, four runs (three earned), with three walks and two strikeouts. He was certainly not as good as he has been in the past, but it was solid enough to keep the Padres from running away with it and the offense made sure to support the bullpen through their struggles.

With Senzatela out, Rusin came on and was not his usual self. Rusin recorded only two outs while allowing three hits and two runs in one of his worst performances of the year. Luckily for him, the Rockies scored four in the bottom of the fifth to give themselves a 7-4 lead. The two runs made it a one run game, but again, the offense rallied for a couple.

With a score of 7-6, a bloop double by Parra scored the first run of the inning and Cargo’s second hit of the game gave the Rockies a 9-6 lead. It was Parra’s second hit of the game and he has had an RBI in each game since coming off the DL. Along with him, Cargo’s two hits were hopefully a sign of him coming out of his season long slump, though we will just have to wait and see.

Greg Holland came on for the ninth inning with a two run lead and struck out the side. It was an easy, stress-free save that gave him his 30th of the year. Along with the game win, the Rockies take the series and can now go for the sweep during Wednesday’s day game. Jon Gray will look to rebound to give the Rockies a sweep of the Padres and perhaps even overtake the DBacks for the wild card lead.