BUBBLE BURST, NEXT HURDLE IS PITTSBURGH
The Colorado Rockies dropped yesterday’s contest with the Chicago Cubs 7-5, closing-out a week of champion bashing and busting a run of 7 in a row. The NL West leading Rockies are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this afternoon, where they kick-off a 3-game set with the Pirates at before returning to Denver on Thursday, when they’ll begin a stretch of 16 straight within the west Division with 3 versus the San Francisco Giants.
Colorado began the week at home, where they took 2 from the defending AL champ Cleveland Indians by scores of 11-3 and
8-1. Antonio Sensatela got his 8th win Tuesday with 6-1/3 innings of 3-run/6-hit pitching and Mark Reynolds homered twice driving-in 5 of the 11 Rockies’ scores. Wednesday saw Nolan Arenado leading the offensive charge with 3 hits in 5 at-bats, a double, triple, and single for 3 RBI as Kyle Freeland registered victory no. 7, also going 6-1/3 and limiting the Tribe to a run on 6 hits.
By Thursday Colorado was off to NL and World Series champ Chicago, where they got to Jon Lester for 4 in the 2nd, and Tyler Chatwood, Scott Oberg, Jake McGee and Greg Holland made them stand-up for a 4-1 win. German Marquez had a rough time of it Friday afternoon, throwing 80 pitches in 3 innings despite allowing only a couple of runs on 2 hits and 3 bases-on-balls. Left-hander Chris Rusin followed with 2 innings of 1-run relief, and Mike Dunn, Oberg, fresh-off-the DL Adam Ottavino, and Holland each threw an inning. Holland earned his 23rd save despite walking the bases loaded with one out. Rockies’ pitchers tallied 9 walks and 2 hit batsmen on the afternoon and RMH bit-off 2 of his fingernails and lost nearly 30% of his remaining hair.
The week’s most anticipated start came Saturday. Jeff Hoffman won for the 4th time in 2017 in his 3rd call-up to the big club and appears to have secured a permanent spot in a Colorado rotation that nevertheless has little room for the right-hander obtained in the epic 2014 trade to the Blue Jays of Troy Tulowitzki. Hoffman gave-up a run over 6-1/3 on 4 hits and a walk, striking-out 8. The one-time Rockie Eddie Butler got the start and loss for Chicago. Butler surrendered 3 of Colorado’s 9 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings. Reynolds and Charlie Blackmon hit Colorado home runs.
Sensatela was back out yesterday, lasting 4 innings despite throwing 36 pitches in a 4-run Chicago 1st. The hapless Jordan Lyles picked-it up for Sensatela after the Rockies had tied it up in the top of the 5th, and had dispatched with 5 consecutive Cubs when the struggling and troubled Addison Russell took him deep with a drive over the left-field wall. Kyle Schwarber followed that up with a more spectacular blast to right, and that would be enough for the Chicago victory.
The Rockies outscored the opposition 42-16 over the course of the 5-1 week. Reynolds has resumed his torrid pace after a brief interval of normal human performance, and Blackmon has evolved into a bonafide superstar. The two sit at 158 hits and 107 RBI between them as of June 12, and the balance of the offense is chugging along with a team batting average of just under .270. The Carlos Gonzalez breakout has yet to materialize, and Trevor Story continues to struggle, currently riding a streak of 9 consecutive strikeouts if I heard that right (and there’s a good chance I didn’t).
The series with erstwhile Rocktober orchestrater Clint Hurdle’s Pirates commences at 5:05 MT at PNC Park and will be followed by more 5:05 starts Tuesday and Wednesday. Chatwood goes at Gerrit Cole tomorrow and Marquez gets Chad Kuhl in game 3. Tonight it’s the rookie left-hander Freeland (7-3, 3.34) going for win no. 8 against righty Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31), who is making his first start since May after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer, a comeback that hits home in a Colorado clubhouse that includes Chad Bettis recovering from the same condition. @Chuck_Nazty gets no rest for the Rockies. He’s batting first in front of the usual suspects in Bud Black’s starting lineup. Max Moroff will lead off against Freeland in a Hurdle lineup that has Gregory Polanco, David Freese, and Jose Osuna in the power slots, and as always includes the perennial all-star Andrew McCutchen.