SWEPT BY BREW CREW, ROX TAKE SERIES FROM NATS;
HOME TO DODGERS, DBACKS
RMH was on the case early Monday with a whine. Bob K followed with the facts: the Colorado Rockies have a winning record against winning teams and a losing record against losing teams. ROOT and the Post, late on the uptake as usual, were all over the story by Tuesday, and the Rockies proceeded to execute the self-fulfilling prophesy, losing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to the Milwaukee Brewers. They ran the losing skein to 4 Friday night in Washington, then outlasted the Nats over 11 innings Saturday afternoon, and modestly bested them on Sunday, salvaging the last 2 of 6 for week 20 of the 2016 MLB season.
That undoubtedly contributed to a more pleasant flight back to Colorado Sunday evening, but a week earlier the Rockies had taken home series over Washington and the Chicago Cubs, working their way back to within 4 of even .500. Returning west again short by 6, Colorado had to be asking, like Roxnsox did Wednesday, “What is this team?” The phenomenon lends itself to much rank speculation: is this just a phase a rising contender needs to overcome? Is it simple immaturity? Is there faulty leadership? Or was it all just another run-of-the-mill bad road trip, disguised by the competition?
Whichever, the losses in Milwaukee were emblematic. Monday Chad Bettis surrendered 4 and the offense only managed 2. Tuesday Jon Gray turned a 4-2 lead over to the bullpen, which transformed it into a 6-4 loss. Wednesday was a combo job: Tyler Anderson retired after 5 trailing 2-1, and by the 7th Chris Rusin and Chad Qualls had given-up 5 more. The offense for its part declined to build on the single opening inning run. In Washington Friday the Nationals nickel-and-dimed Jeff Hoffman for 4 runs in 6 innings, then Matt Carasiti coughed-up a 4-spot in the 7th, which made a 3 run top of 9th the Rockies worked against Shawn Kelley a wasted effort.
Saturday afternoon Jorge De La Rosa held the Nats to 3 over 5, and got solid relief from Jordan Lyles, Boone Logan and Carlos Estevez, but Adam Ottavino blew a save and allowed a run for the first time since back in the Carter administration, and the contest went into overtime. Jake McGee got Colorado through a scoreless 10th, then the Rockies got loose in the 11th. Cristhian Adames led off with a single and scored behind a Charlie Blackmon home run, then DJ LeMahieu singled and Carlos Gonzalez homered to make the score 8-4. Nolan Arenado would follow with a single and score on a David Dahl double, then Carasiti closed things out despite singles by Danny Espinosa and Ben Revere.
Bettis (11-7, 5.17) was back out Sunday, this time bull-dogging it through 7, surrendering 2. The offense got to Lucas Giolito (0-1, 5.63) for 4, 3 in the 3rd when Gonzalez singled with 2 out and Arenado and Dahl followed with homers. Logan gave-up a solo shot to Bryce Harper to get Washington to within 2 with nobody out in the 9th, but Ottavino was not to be denied this time, coming on and dispatching Anthony Rendon, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman for his 2nd save and the Colorado victory.
Arenado has broken away from a brief cold spell, and Blackmon continues to rake. LeMahieu banged-up his wrist Monday and missed the next 3, which hardly cooled him off (he was 3 for 5 Saturday), and somebody named Cardullo, Stephen, a 1st-baseman, was called-up from Albuquerque to replace Ben Paulsen.
The Los Angeles Dodgers visit Coors Field tonight for the first of 3 as the Rockies move back into a long stretch of Western division contests. The Arizona Diamondbacks follow an off-day Thursday for 3 over the weekend. Kenta Maeda (13-7, 3,37) gets the call for LA against Colorado’s big Jon Gray (8-6, 4.61) in a battle of right-handers tonight, starting at 6:40 MT. Maeda stifled the Rockies back on August 4, holding them to 2 in 5-2/3. Maeda was out Tuesday versus San Francisco, winning again on 5 innings of 3 run 6 hit ball. Gray pitched Tuesday as well, in Milwaukee, allowing 2 runs in 6 innings on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 10 strikeouts.
The surging Dodgers have overcome the Giants and lead the NL West by 2 going into tonight. The veteran Chase Utley leads off at 2nd-base followed by left-fielder Howie Kendrick and shortstop Corey Seager. The recently acquired Josh Reddick has settled into the 6-hole, playing right-field. It’s a pretty standard order for Walt Weiss and the Rockies. Gonzalez, Arenado and Dahl go 3-4-5. Gerardo Parra is again at 1st, hitting 6th, and Daniel Descalso will be the shortstop, hitting 8th ahead of Gray.
It’s been raining in Denver and the temperature has dropped to 65°. The rain is scheduled to taper off as game time approaches, but clouds and temperatures in the 60°s will linger throughout. The wind will blow-out toward right at about 7 MPH. ROOT’s got the TV and radio’s on KOA and KRNV.
LOS ANGELES (73-57)
Chase Utley (L) 2B
Howie Kendrick (R) LF
Corey Seager (L) SS
Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
Yasmani Grandal (S) C
Josh Reddick (L) RF
Joc Pederson (L) CF
Rob Segedin (R) 3B
Kenta Maeda (R) P
Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
Carlos Gonzalez (L) RF
Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
David Dahl (L) LF
Gerardo Parra (L) 1B
Nick Hundley (R) C
Daniel Descalso (L) SS
Jon Gray (R) P