In our FirstLook at tonight’s game, I declared “Wrong Gonzalez” as what we’re watching. I hate it when I’m right, in a 6-3 loss to the Dodgers.
Jordan Lyles had a solid 1st, an OK second allowing a Kendrick 2B and Grandal RBI, and then ran into trouble in the 3rd. Greinke 1B, Rollins walk, Puig single, bases loaded for Adrian Gonzalez. He grounded into what probably should have been an inning-ending double play, but DJ LeMahieu’s turn ended up in the dirt in front of Morneau. DJ was flaming upset, firing his glove in the dugout after the inning ended. By rights, the damage should have been a lot worse.
Two innings later came “ReLoad”. (Yes, it’s a Metallica reference. Fortune, fame, mirror vain, gone insane …) Pederson walk, Greinke sac bunt, Rollins walk, Puig buzzed followed by a menacing stare and a walk with 1B open, and AGon to the plate. This time, the hottest hitter in baseball didn’t miss, with a long 1B driving in two runs for a 4-1 Dodger lead.
Greinke was pretty much in the rocking chair after the 1st, until giving up a revenge shot to DJ LeMahieu in the 7th which closed the gap to 4-3. Like a good team should, the Dodgers immediately responded on Brooks Brown, Rollins 2B, Puig 2B, Kendrick 2B, and that was pretty much game over. The Dodgers’ pen looks solid even without Kenley Jansen.
Although the score was almost the same near the end, and Lyles coughed up 5 BB:
Am I watching a rerun of yesterday’s game?
— Kent Gardner (@RWOrockymtnhigh) April 19, 2015
I don’t think this was the same game. Subtract a missed DP turn in the first AGon high leverage spot, and retire AGon in another high leverage situation, and it’s still a 2-1 ballgame. Yeah, Brown got pummeled later in his inning when things were pretty much decided. The Dodgers’ were 5-for-12 with RISP, and it was only that bad because of two outs made in the 8th. Arenado was upset he didn’t snag two doubles scorched between him and the 3B line.
The point: the Rockies were in this one until the 5th, unlike yesterday when the Wall of Kershaw was too tall to climb after Kendrick belched up a few runs right away.
The operative word is ‘were’. Starters are still giving way too many free passes, and just plain not executing pitches. That is fatal when a real hitter steps to the plate. Something I’m watching now is how many times our pitchers miss the glove. Watch Raffy. He rarely misses his target. Watching innings from Lyles tonight, Hundley is reaching all over the place. It’s like a high school game where stuff is enough and location is not that important. At this level, especially in Los Angeles, location matters.
Somebody Tweeted during the game “the Rockies starters xFIP is 141, that’s really, really bad.” That would be really bad. It’s more like 5 something (it was 5.01 before tonight, according to FanGraphs), and it’s the worst in MLB right now.
We have a fair-weather offense, a gritty defense, a new closer who may never see the ball, and a control-challenged starting staff that can’t match up with most opposition we will face in the NL West for the next few weeks. Unless these starters – or some different ones, DLR gives me some hope – find a way to hit the glove consistently, and fast, this is going to avalanche into bullpen problems, injured arms, and an epic audition come June. Too negative? Let’s discuss where I’m wrong.