RWO IN TURMOIL AS ROX STREAK BACK TO DENVER
It was only a week ago, and the Colorado Rockies had dropped the first of 3 versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, making it 3 consecutive losses on the tail of a dismal 2-run/3-game performance in south Florida. Kris Bryant had scored the winning run after tripling to lead off the bottom of the 6th against Kyle Freeland. The RWO was restive. Agbayani, in fact, was looking for trouble. At the tail end of an otherwise unremarkable lament about how much greener the grass still is in Chicago, he dropped the following hay maker: “Nolan Arenado is a superb all around third baseman; Kris Bryant is even better. Not by a wide margin, but better. That’s illustrative of the gap that remains between the Cubs and us.”
RMH, blind-sided, hit the turf. Suckered, the big man struggled to his knees, sorting through the stars. Then: the right-cross. Delivered by sdcarp, to wit, “Bryant is better. I agree. The ability to play OF (fairly well) is a plus. He also has more speed.” Back to the pavement for a 5-count, you cannot, alas keep a raging purple Kool-Aid besotten partisan on his pins for long, and arise did RMH, blasting away, 6 retorts of varied effectiveness in all, and then in the middle of all of it, the subject of the melee began to have his own say. Leading-off the 4th (on Tuesday) Arenado deposited one over the barely budding ivy to extend a narrow Colorado edge over Kyle Hendricks to 3-1, and the Rockies would ride that lead behind seven 1-run, 3-hit, 6-strikeout innings from Jon Gray, a frame from Adam Ottavino, and a save by Wade Davis.
The losing skein busted, Colorado took-off on another Wednesday, heading in the opposite direction. Arenado delivered twice more, a 2-run shot off Yu Darvish in the 1st and a 3-run job way out there beyond left-center field against Luke Farrell in the 8th. The Rockies plated 6 more along the way to an 11-2 win started by the left-hander Tyler Anderson, who had purportedly exited his previous appearance near death after an inning and a third. Death defying, Anderson went 7, surrendering 2 on 3-hits. He struck-out 9.
Thursday was on off-day in New York City, then Friday night at Citi Field German Marquez limited the Mets to 2 opening inning runs over 6, benefiting from 5 first inning Rockie tallies, and single scores in the 2nd on Charlie Blackmon’s 11th blast of 2018, a gigantic fly way up into right-field by Tony Wolters in the 6th, and an Ian Desmond RBI in the 7th. Regrettably, it was a rough evening for the Colorado bullpen. A rusty Chris Rusin returned from the Disabled List and surrendered 2 in the 8th, then shaky Jake McGee failed to get anyone out in the 9th, leaving one in and one on for Davis, who eventually struck-out Michael Conforto with 2 aboard and New York trailing by nary a run. Saturday was shut-out day. Chad Bettis was the star. He held the Mets scoreless for 7, Arenado had a solo-shot in the 1st, and David Dahl drove-in a 9th-inning insurance run with the bases loaded and 2-out. Ottavino and Davis mopped-up behind Bettis as the Rox prevailed 2-0.
And Sunday Freeland, who lost despite seven 3-run/6-hit frames on April 30, was back for 7 more. He gave-up 2 in the 1st on consecutive singles by Juan Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, and Asdrubal Cabrera, and a Todd Frazier sacrifice fly, then surrendered but a hit and a walk the rest of the way. Colorado got one back on a Desmond home run off of Noah Syndergaard in the 2nd, managed only another to tie things-up after loading the bases with nobody out in the 3rd, then Desmond blasted the coup-de-gras in the 8th off of Hansel Robles, a no-doubter way-out over right-center field.
The Rockies are riding a 5-game winning streak back into Coors Field this afternoon, when Gray (3-4, 4.99) takes the hill against lefty Andrew Heaney (1-1, 5.31) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, in an interleague contest slated for first pitch at 6:40 MT. The Angels are leading the American League West by 1/2 game over the defending World Champion Houston Astros, and defeated the Mariners 8-2 Sunday in Seattle. The Rockies miss the world-renowned 2-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, at least on the mound. Jaime Barria goes-up against Anderson tomorrow afternoon.
DJ LeMahieu hit the DL with his hamstring on April 30 (retroactive a couple of days), and Daniel Castro has been up from Albuquerque to fill-in, along with Pat Valaika. LeMahieu is slated to return this evening, and while Castro hasn’t exactly set the league a-blazin’, the struggling Valaika is likely the odd man out. Antonio Senzatela was optioned to the Isotopes upon Rusin’s return, and had a sweet first outing on his way back into a starter’s role, and how good does that sound as the Colorado pitching staff is riding something like 8-straight quality starts? Harrison Musgrave remains the long man in the ‘pen, and Brooks Pounders is still in the mix, unscored-upon in 2 single-inning appearances.
The 20-15 NL Central 2nd-place Milwaukee Brewers follow LAAo’A into Lodo Thursday for 4 over the weekend, and it’s not going to ease up until November. The road’s been unusually friendly. Time for some home cookin’.