Rox offensive nonexistent in loss

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The Rockies lost by only a run during Tuesday’s game, but it came on one hit and other than that, the offensive was terrible. Jon Gray pitched well enough to earn a win, had the offense done anything to help him, but they just couldn’t do anything against Danny Duffy and the Royals bullpen.

The ninth inning saw the Rockies threatening, but it was a lot less of them finally rallying and a lot more of the Royals giving it to them. With two outs, Jonathan Lucroy looped a ball down the right field line that turned into a triple when Melky Cabrera dove and missed the ball. Kelvin Herrera then walked the next two batters to load the base and got to a 2-0 count before being removed due to an injury. With Pat Valaika at the plate and a 2-0 count, the Royals had to bring in Scott Alexander, but he threw a strike and Valaika swung at the next pitch and grounded out to end the game.

It was a pretty poor approach by Valaika who only needed to work a walk or wait for a pitch he could hit, but instead he swung at a pitch he shouldn’t have and grounded out. Starting with a 2-0 count and facing a pitcher who is coming in to face his first batter is a huge advantage to the hitter, but with the way the Rockies offense has been going there was really no chance.

The only other hit away from Lucroy’s triple was a Nolan Arenado two-run homer. It put the Rockies right back in the game, but with the lack of hits it really didn’t matter. The offense has been abysmal and with the lack of productive outs, even when hits are strung together the Rockies seemingly come away empty.

They really need to show up in Wednesday’s game and stop this three game slide, with hopefully some solid offense. Antonio Senzatela will return to the rotation to face a struggling Ian Kennedy, a good candidate for the Rockies offense revival.

Series Preview: Rockies (68-56) vs. Royals (62-61)

Tuesday, August 22nd 6:15pm: Jon Gray (5-2 4.74) vs. Danny Duffy (7-8 3.82)

Jon Gray opens the series against Danny Duffy and the Royals for a series that will hopefully get the Rockies back on track. Both of these teams are fighting for wild card spots with the Rockies leading the NL by half a game and the Royals back by a game and a half. Both of these teams open with their ace for a game that could be a pitchers duel. For Gray, he will look to get through the third time facing the Royals lineup, something he has struggled with thus far this year. Duffy has been rough his last three times out allowing sixteen runs in three starts, but in all he has struck out eight in each start as well. The strikeout stuff Duffy has could put the Rockies in trouble, as they are a team prone to strikeouts.

Wednesday, August 23rd 6:15pm: Antonio Senzatela (10-4 4.56) vs. Ian Kennedy (4-9 5.06)

Much like Duffy, Kennedy has struggled in the month of August, hopefully a sign that the Rockies can get their offense on track with some consistency. Antonio Senzatela makes his return to the rotation as he has been back and forth between the pen and rotation. He earned his spot back with some successful outings and the Rockies could use his consistency. He isn’t the most dominant pitcher, but he does control the zone well and he will be coming to this start with a new pitch, a curveball. Sensei and the Rockies will hopefully be playing for a series win in this game, but as the late season has gone, nothing is guaranteed.

Thursday, August 24th 12:15pm: German Marquez (10-5 4.24) vs. Jake Junis (5-2 4.99)

Junis, like Senzatela, has jumped between the pen and rotation though he has had mixed success between the roles. Marquez will be looking to get back on track after two rough August starts against the Marlins and Brewers. Marquez has good stuff and can dominate a lineup, but when he runs into trouble it is by the long ball. The Rockies desperately need to win this series as they have struggled recently and the Central teams are creeping in on the wild card, but they do have the benefit of leading the wild card currently.

Rox forget to play until late, lose series

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With the series on the line, the Rockies seemingly forget to play baseball until late in the game, scoring three runs in the eighth ninth to make this game seem closer than it really was. In the end, the Rockies played a pretty poor game in all regards, failing to pitch, play defense, or hit.

While Kyle Freeland was alright against the Brew Crew, he did walk a career high five batters. He only allowed four hits in the game and went 5.2 innings, but ultimately the walks really hurt him. The real pitching struggles came once the bullpen entered as Chris Rusin, Tyler Chatwood, and Scott Oberg allowed five total runs. What was at one point still a reasonable amount of runs to come back from, slowly turned into an insurmountable amount going into the last two innings.

Part of the struggles for the pitching came from the free passes that were allowed, but also from the four errors the Rockies committed on the afternoon. It was a poor game defensively for a lot of guys and that seemed to translate into the offense as well.

Prior to the ninth inning, the Rockies were 0-11 with RISP, a number that almost never amounts to a win. They had a sac fly early in the game to score a run and had another run on a solo homer, but the seven walks and two hits batters that the Brewers gave the Rockies never translated into runs, something the Brewers were able to do.

The ninth inning did see the Rockies score two runs, but the balls were not hard hit and it was mainly poor positioning by the Brewers defense that allowed the balls to get through the infield. The little life the Rockies had in the ninth was what they needed to play with all day long, except it took until they were already down and out to wake up from a Sunday slumber.

While it is not necessarily time to give up on the Rockies playoff chances, they still hold the first place spot and are two and a half games up, it is getting worrisome that they may fall back to some past seasons ways. The remainder of August sees them playing some sub .500 teams, but come September, they face only the NL West in a month that will be the most important month of Rockies baseball since 2009.

Jon Gray will open the Rockies road series against Kansas City to hopefully get the team back on track, but with the inconsistencies lately, it is hard to say exactly what will, or could, happen.

Late home run evens series

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After the Rockies rallied late to tie the game with the Brewers, they looked like they had a good chance to win. However, Greg Holland’s struggles continued as he allowed three runs in the ninth inning to create a three run deficit for the Rockies. There is no guarantee the Rockies would have been able to walk-off on the Brewers anyways, but the late three runs basically sunk them.

Chad Bettis made his second start of the season, and while he was not as flawless as he was his first time out, he was still very good. Bettis had one bad inning, the third inning, in which he allowed three runs. But the rest of his outing was terrific, efficient, and a testament to how valuable he can be. Bettis went seven innings and struck out six, while pitching around eight hits.

But as was his first start, the Rockies did not do much to support Bettis. They scored only three runs in the game, which was nearly enough, but they could never push across the extra run to take the lead. Jonathan Lucroy singled in a run in the fourth inning, and the Rockies got two runs in the seventh with two outs to tie the game. However, a two-run homer in the ninth put them down and out for the loss.

In an important series finale, the Rockies send Kyle Freeland to the mound to try and take a series win. The Brewers send Chase Anderson, fresh off the DL, to try and win the series for them. The Rockies are familiar with Anderson, but he has been solid this year, so this game could go either way. This is playoff baseball for both of these teams and a win either way could have implications going down the stretch.

Rockies slug way to win


David Zalubowski AP Photo

Behind three home runs, the Rockies were able to take the series opener against the Brewers. With a strong performance from the bullpen, the Brewers were unable to score any more than the four runs they got off of Marquez and the game finished 8-4.

Leading off the first inning, Charlie Blackmon did what he has done all year, hit a home run. It was a two strike pitch and he was able to get the barrel on the ball and hit it out to left field. It barely got out, but it gave the Rockies an early lead to set the game up.

German Marquez was decent, but not great on Friday as he allowed four runs over 5.2 innings. The big thing for Marquez was allowing the long ball. He only walked one and struck out six, but when he missed his location the Brewers hit the ball hard. Luckily for him, the Rockies had the long ball as well.

After taking a one run deficit into the third inning, the Rockies got some runs supplied away from the homer. Nolan Arenado hit a triple with two men on to take the lead back from the Brewers and Gerardo Parra hurt his former team with a run scoring single. The Rockies finished the inning with a 4-2 lead. They would score one more run in the fourth on an error by third baseman Travis Shaw.

Gerardo Parra added one more run in the fifth on a solo homer to deep right field and Cargo followed that up a couple batters later with a two run shot, giving him his eighth homer of the year. Cargo is still not worth very much offensively, but he does seem to be coming out of his slump which could mean a lot for the Rockies.

Marquez allowed two solo shots in the sixth before being removed with two outs in the inning. He would have liked to finish the inning, but he just didn’t have the stuff to do it. Luckily for him, the bullpen was strong and did all they needed to do over the final 3.1 innings.

Mike Dunn, Pat Neshek, Jake McGee, and Greg Holland handled the rest of the game allowing two hits and a walk, but they did not allow any runs and gave the Rockies a handy win. The Rockies now go for the series win with Chad Bettis on the mound as the hope to take the offense from Friday into Saturday.

Series Preview: Brewers (63-59) vs. Rockies (67-54)

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Friday, August 18th 6:40pm: Matt Garza (6-6 4.38) vs. German Marquez (9-5 4.13)

The Rockies take on the Brewers for an important series for both teams. The Brewers are in a hunt for either the division title or a wild card spot while the Rockies are leading the wild card right now. After splitting the four game series with the Braves their last time out, the Rockies need to take two of three from the Brewers. They have to take this series to keep the Brewers at bay and guarantee their wild card spot. The pitching needs to be strong, but more importantly, the offense needs to find some consistency. The 17 run game was certainly an awesome one to watch, but outside of that, the Rockies have been struggling for two weeks.

Saturday, August 19th 6:10pm: Brandon Woodruff (1-1 1.50) vs. Chad Bettis (0-0 0.00)

After putting up a dominant performance for his first start of the season, Bettis will look to repeat that result in game two. Brandon Woodruff has made only two career starts, so this is a game that could go either way, as it always is with rookies. Because of the lack of solid scouting report, the Rockies’ hitters will have to be on their toes and keep a good game plan, making Woodruff throw strikes in volatile Coors Field. Giving Bettis some more run support would also be nice to give him his first win of 2017 and hopefully taking this series in a quick two games.

Sunday, August 20th 1:10pm: Chase Anderson (6-2 2.89) vs. Kyle Freeland (11-7 3.74)

Chase Anderson had been very good for the Brewers before being put on the DL at the end of June. He makes his first start since being activated and will likely look to repeat the results he had against the Rockies in the season opening series. Because Anderson used to pitch for the Dbacks, the Rockies have a lot of familiarity with him. Nolan Arenado has had the most success in his career against Anderson, but whether Arenado will play will remain to be seen, as he was removed on Thursday after taking a grounder to the wrist where he got hit. Arenado is a tough guy and likes to get out there, so expect to see him by this third game.

Bad bullpen day causes split series

Jeff Hoffman was not great on Thursday in the series finale, going five innings while allowing four runs. But the real trouble came in the Rockies bullpen when a couple of pitchers relinquished their first runs since July. That, paired with a solid start by Braves starter Lucas Sims, gave the Rockies a split series with the 54-65 Braves.

While the Braves scored the first run of the game on a Tyler Flowers home run, the Rockies did take the lead right back with a two-run second inning. However, the Braves took over from there scoring one in the third and two in the fifth. Their big day was capped when they scored six runs in the seventh, split between Dunn and Ottavino.

Those were the two pitchers who had been good since August started, but this was really the worst day for the Rockies pitching staff in quite some time. Games like this happen, and as the Braves broadcast liked to point out, this was a Coors Field series, but the Rockies have been good at home pitching wise, something that has never really happened.

While the Rockies have pitched better on the road, they still have a sub 5.00 ERA, their lowest home ERA since 2013 when they posted a 4.43 ERA. The young pitchers have had some bumps, but ultimately, this season has been fueled by rookie starters. Both Kyle Freeland and German Marquez have been terrific, Jeff Hoffman has had his solid starts, and Senzatela is proving to be a valuable piece both in the rotation and bullpen. Along with some other guys like Chris Rusin dominating and Greg Holland being as shutdown as he had been, the Rockies have one of the better pitching staffs in history.

The Rockies will now take on a big series with Wild Card implications as they face the Brewers for three games at home. Milwaukee is currently 4.5 games back of Colorado and Arizona for a wild card spot, so this would be a good chance for the Rockies to lengthen their lead. It seems now that the threat for the second wild card spot will come from the central with St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Chicago being the main teams to watch. One of them will win the central, but if two get hot over the final month and a half of the season, the Rockies or Diamondbacks could be threatened.