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.

17 run rout powers Rox to win

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If you take all of the runs the Rockies scored in the last five games, it would still not be more than the 17 runs they scored on Wednesday. The Rockies absolutely exploded for all of the runs on eighteen hits and powered Jon Gray to his fifth win of the year. Gray was not perfect, but he was solid and he got through six innings.

The scoring started early for the Rockies, but it did not stop until the very last inning. They scored in all but two innings and scored more than one run in five of those innings. Every starter except Gray scored a run and Cargo was the only Rockie to not earn a hit, though he did hit the ball hard.

What really pushed the Rockies offense ahead in his game was the fact they hit with RISP. They went 9-19 on the day and seemingly came through with the clutch hit every other time. The Rockies had five two-out hits on the game that scored runs, another sign that they were clutch in the game.

The big player in this one was Trevor Story who came through huge with all three of his hits. Story had two home runs, six RBIs, and gave the Rockies the anchor they needed at the bottom of the lineup. Some other key players were Lucroy and Arenado who both had two doubles, Reynolds who had a three-run homer, and Parra who had three hits and four RBIs.

There was really only positives in this game, but if there was one thing to improve upon it would be Gray’s struggles the third time through the lineup. He was really good the first two times through, as he has been in most starts, but ran into his trouble in the sixth inning. He walked two and allowed a single before allowing a two-run single to give the Braves their only runs of the game. Regardless of the bad inning, Gray still got through six innings and earned a quality start.