ROX BREAKING BAD IN 2019
Chris Iannetta launched a solo shot high and deep into the left-field stands of a packed Tropicana Field in the top of the 11th last Wednesday, putting the finishing touch on a Colorado Rockies’ 1-0 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays. Save for that tepid bit of heroism, Colorado went otherwise winless over the first full week of the 2019 MLB campaign. The Rockies busted out of Florida sitting on 3 wins over 4 losses and headed back to Denver for the traditional Opening Day lovefest at Coors Field, only to find the NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers eager to provide the competition, and the Dodgers obliged, sweeping out of Lodo with a 5 game NL West cushion over Colorado, which had figured to be their fiercest competition. “Fierce” is not an adjective currently being used to reference the Rockies.
A Glass Half-Full guy such as myself will tell you this is no reason at all for concern, it is an odd anomaly that will work itself out later in the spring, when Colorado wins rather than loses 15 out of the first 18 games in June. A Glass Half-Empty guy might remind you of sd carp’s often expressed fear prior to the 2018 campaign: the Rockies have been uncommonly fortunate and injury free in consecutive Wild Card bid seasons. The jig may be up.
Daniel Murphy went down with a broken finger in game 2. Ryan McMahon joined him on what is apparently now known as the “IL,” which back in Toledo we used to think meant “International League,” after the Tampa series with a bad elbow. Shaky Jake McGee is also taking a breather, suffering a “sore left knee,” which many will tell you is less embarrassing than getting released. Tyler Anderson was terrible for a 2nd straight start in Friday’s opener, and those of you who foolishly pay attention to what I think know that whenever Anderson is bad you need to suspect injury. Anderson’s name also now appears on the IL. And no sooner had you recovered from watching Charlie Blackmon chasing a ground ball the wrong direction in right-field, the sight of David Dahl wincing after a swing and a miss set your heart a-flutter. Rockies’ team doctor Harry Ralston Black described it as “an abdominal thing somewhere below the oblique,” just in case you’re seeking a little more wishfully optimistic thinking.
Otherwise circumstances have developed quite nicely for the Colorado squad, until you consider they’re only scoring at a pace of 3.1 runs per game, and have been shut-out twice, along with that rousing 1-0 romp over the Rays on April 3. The gimpy Dahl is setting the offensive pace at 12 out of 35, Chuck N is a decent 12 out of 40, and the other-worldly Nolan Arenado is 11 for 39. Then you drop down to Trevor Story at 8 for 36. The heirs of DJ LeMahieu are 8 for 57, and the catchers are a combined 8 for 34. Hitting coach hate has broken-out anew on the RWO, accompanied by a man-crush on some dude named Von Scoyok, who no one realized was even walking the face of the Earth prior to last night’s ESPN telecast.
Everybody saw, and wants to forget, but Friday it was Anderson getting shelled in a sorry home opener that ended 10-6 LA. Jon Gray had a fairly decent outing Saturday night, but the 7 runs the Dodgers managed were 5 better than the 2 the Rockies tallied-up there. Sunday’s Chad Bettis game plan was nothing Los Angeles hadn’t had a chance to feast-on before, and by the time Colorado came to the plate in the bottom of the 6th it was 11-3 Dodgers on the way to a 12-6 loss.
3 games remain on this opening home stand, and my one-time boys the Atlanta Braves are visiting down at the old ball park for 3 ahead of a first Colorado left coast journey starting in San Francisco on Thursday. Right-hander Julio Tehran (0-1, 3.60) gets it for Atlanta versus Rockies ace and left-hander Kyle Freeland (1-1, 2.31) in a 6:40 MT start at Coors Field. Tomorrow it’s my birthday and the Braves are afraid to reveal who they’ll roll out to face German Marquez, again at 6:40, and Wednesday afternoon it’s the Rockies who are keeping it mum about who will take Anderson’s slot and face up to Kevin Gausman in a 1:10 pm tilt.
It could get rockier, but hang tight for those first 3 weeks of June.