REINFORCED ROX HOST METS, PHILLIES FOR 3 APIECE IN LODO
The Colorado Rockies took 2 of 3 from the Washington Nationals in the District of Columbia Saturday and Sunday, recovering from a sweep at the hands of the St Louis Cardinals earlier in the week at Busch Stadium in St Louis, finishing week 16 of the 2017 MLB season 2-4. The Rockies are winning at a clip of .566 with 2 games to play in the season’s second 1/3 as the calendar turns to August and the post-season beckons in the distance.
Colorado added catcher Jonathan Lucroy for a player to be named from the Texas Rangers late Sunday with yesterday’s non-waiver trade deadline looming. Right-handed reliever Pat Neshek came over from the Philadelphia Phillies for 3 minor leaguers on Wednesday, the Rockies dealing judiciously for two veterans with expiring contracts as the stretch run approaches. Long suffering Jordan Lyles was designated for assignment to make way for Neshek, and Tony Wolters was optioned to AAA Albuquerque to accommodate Lucroy, who will team with fellow veteran Ryan Hanigan in a break from Colorado’s original plan to roll with young catchers Wolters and rookie Tom Murphy.
The Rockies crashed and burned in St Louis. The somewhat forgotten sea level blues returned to haunt them Monday and Tuesday when they managed only 2 runs each night. Antonio Senzatela was ineffective in his second start back from a brief stint in the bullpen and lasted only 4 innings Monday, surrendering 4 runs the offense couldn’t match on 6 hits and 2 walks. Senzatela struck-out 5. On Tuesday the offense wasted a decent 5 inning appearance by Jon Gray, who held the Cards to 2 on 8 hits. Colorado got one back in the 7th and tied things in the 8th on a solo shot by Trevor Story, but St Louis walked-off as manager Bud Black tried to get 2 innings out of Jake McGee. Harrison Bader doubled to lead off the 9th, moved-up on a ground ball, and scored on a Jedd Gyorko sacrifice fly. McGee landed on the Disabled List with a strained back to thank for his efforts.
The hitters began to emerge Wednesday, and had a 4-2 lead going for Jeff Hoffman as he headed into the bottom of the 4th. Hoffman left it with Colorado trailing 7-4 after 5 of the first 6 Cardinals batters reached and scored. St Louis would prevail 10-5.
In DC for the weekend, the team was off Thursday and rain washed-out the festivities Friday, leaving a single game Saturday followed by a day-night double header on Sunday. German Marquez was dazzling in the Saturday contest, perfect over 5-1/3 until Matt Wieters dumped a hump-backed liner in front of left-fielder Gerardo Parra. Parra spit on it, slapping the offending single to the ground with his glove before tossing it back to the infield. Parra for President. Wieters would score on a Howie Kendrick double, and Kendrick would follow on a single by Wilmer Difo, but Marquez regrouped and made it through 7. Neshek made his first Colorado appearance in the 8th and got a taste of the defense behind him, getting outs on 3 outstanding plays. Greg Holland logged save 32 in the 9th.
The Rockies took the day game Sunday 10-6 behind Kyle Freeland and 6 extra-base hits, then went back into hibernation and wasted another decent start by Gray, falling 3-1 to the Nats and Edwin Jackson, a guy we usually pound.
Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado and Parra continue to lead the offense, and Story is quietly transforming back into the form he strutted in 2016, getting a lot of RBI among a lot of strikeouts. Mike Dunn has regained his mojo out in the ‘pen and Scott Oberg has made it through 2 consecutive outings without allowing a run.
The New York Mets are in Lodo this afternoon for the first of 3 tonight, tomorrow and Thursday afternoon, when there will be no TV. Steven Matz (2-4, 5.51), who Colorado roughed-up on July 16, gets the call for New York against Hoffman (6-3, 5.58), who is looking to rebound from a rough July of his own. First pitch is 6:40 MT down at the old ball yard. Tyler Chatwood returns to the Rockies’ rotation tomorrow, facing Chris Flexen, and Marquez will go Thursday against Rafael Montero. Neshek’s old boys from Philadelphia visit on the weekend for another 3 before the group heads out on a short but lengthy 5-game jaunt through Cleveland and Seattle.
The once lucrative Lucroy is hitting 8th in Black’s lineup with the stretch and meaningful games in September on the horizon.