HOT ROX HOST ASTROS, A’s
The Colorado Rockies’ 7 game winning streak came to a close Sunday afternoon in Phoenix. Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks lived-up to his credentials, notching win no. 11 of 2018 over 8 innings pitched, 1 run on 2 hits; 13 strikeouts. Unspeakably Awful Ian Desmond (UAI) was the sole Rockie to despoil Greinke’s outing, knocking a 2-2 fastball over the right-field fence in Chase Field with 1 out and nobody on for his 19th big fly on the current campaign. Colorado did however take the 3 game series 2-1, coming-out of the All Star break with a tough draw but giving no quarter. The Rockies have taken 6 consecutive series and are 18-4 over the stretch, dating back to June 29.
Rested and ready, the contest Friday evening was a bit of a slob-fest capped off by some epic slamage. German Marquez and Robbie Ray got the starts, with Colorado getting 2 up on Ray out of the gate before Marquez gave them both back, and another beside. Ray and Marquez battled it-out for 5 innings, the Dbacks a run better at 6-5. Chris Rusin had another iffy appearance, coughing-up 2 more to run the Arizona lead to 8-5, but then came the top of 7. Red bearded Archie Bradley took over for Ray and Silvino Bracho, and walked Charlie Blackmon leading-off. Nolan Arenado singled Chuck N over to 3rd, and after all star hero Trevor Story struck-out on 3 pitches, Carlos Gonzalez knocked-in Blackmon and delivered Arenado to 3rd with a sharp liner to left. UAI struck-out (what would you expect), then Gerardo Parra, the Major Fail, took a walk to load the bases. Tony Wolters followed Parra, and he walked too, bringing the Rockies to within a run at 8-7, reliever Scott Oberg scheduled to hit. Colorado manager Bud Black turned instead to his bench, calling on the enigmatic Raimel Tapia. Tapia dug himself an 0-2 hole, looked at 2 errant fastballs to work himself even, then blasted Bradley’s final offering deep into the Arizona night for the Rockies first lead of the evening. Brian Shaw was nicked for a run but recorded 5 outs, and the Dbacks got another in the 9th amidst a 4-out save by Adam Ottavino, as Colorado held-out to prevail 11-10.
Saturday’s win was a crisper affair, if you could call it that. Kyle Freeland was less than optimally sharp; in the 4th he hit Ketel Marte leading-off then walked Paul Goldschmidt and AJ Pollock to load the bases for a Steven Sousa single, Nick Ahmed sacrifice fly, Chris Owings single, and 3-0 Arizona lead. Freeland left after 5, giving-up another after the Rockies got him 2 back, then Colorado got even in the 6th when Gonzalez led-off and reached on a surreal throwing error by Dbacks starter Zack Godley. Story and UAI followed with singles, Gonzalez scoring to make it 4-3, then after Garrett Hampson was walked, Bracho, on for Godley, wild-pitched Story home before Chris Iannetta flew-out and Tapia lined into a double play. The rivals traded runs in the 7th, then it was time for pinch-hit hero part 2 in the 8th. Hampson struck-out, and Iannetta flew-out again, once more with Oberg on deck. Black turned Saturday to Tom Murphy, who took one swing and turned Yoshihisa Hirano’s 83 MPH splitter into a Colorado game winner.
Hampson is on for DJ LeMahieu, who has apparently become the victim of sdcarp’s off-season premonition of less favorable injury fortune. LeMahieu adds a perilous oblique strain to his 2018 portfolio of sore back and bruised thumb incidents, and the hope is it’s not a serious one. Good luck with that. Chad Bettis and his “hot finger” had a 4th inning setback in Albuquerque Saturday afternoon, and with Marquez now in Venezuela on paternity leave, the Rockies are working strong on position players, short on pitchers. Hopefully Marquez can make it back from the troubled South American nation without getting fleeced for every dollar left in his wallet, and presumably the Rockies know the right people with ICE to get the right-hander back into the USA. And don’t try to bring the baby back with you, for heaven’s sake.
Now come the Champions, the Houston Astros and MVP Jose Altuvé are on at 20th and Blake for 2 against surging Colorado. The Astros continue to lay down the heat, leading the American League West by 5 games over the Mariners, who are said to consider the Rockies rude and inconsiderate, at 66-36. Righty Gerrit Cole (10-2, 2.52) the former Pirate, takes the hill for Houston against left-hander Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.72) in a 6:40 tilt down at Coors Field. Jon Gray earns another big league spot tomorrow versus fellow righty Charlie Morton, same time, same station. There’s another off-day Thursday, then the A’s, still working out of Oakland, California, invade Lodo for 3 on the weekend. RMH will line sdcarp up with some lusty smack in advance of that one.
A bunch of American Leaguers I’ve never heard of are going to be lurking around the old ballyard the next couple of days. Come on now Rox, don’t make me wonder: “who the hell is he?”