A day late a dollar short as my dad used to say. This is the write-up that covers the game the Rox won (or, do they get credit for 2?). Although last night’s snooze-fest was actually an extension of this 16 inning pitching showcase. So as they say, right to the highlights.
Final thought that completely escaped my thinking in my rant in the pre-game write-up for this game. Anderson is what set me off and the decision to not exercise the option on Anderson. I had forgotten to look at the potential value that Anderson might have brought in a trade if the Rox were out of contention. He’s be a short-term rental for a team but for a playoff-hunt club without a good lefty, he would have been a nice addition. Last year the Rox didn’t deal De La Rosa in a trade that would have netted a pretty good prospect. What would Anderson have brought back. If your building for the future seems that would have been an option where you get some veteran stability at the top of your rotation and the ability to flip him for a younger asset. Okay, done now.
The Rox started the game off nice against Anderson with a pair of bunt base-hits from Blackmon and Reyes. A smart strategy against a pitcher who doesn’t field his position like a cat anymore thanks to the surgery last August and in a ballpark where scoring runs is always hard. And it set-up CarGo with a 2nd and 1st, 0-out opportunity.
And I take this moment to say….CarGo had one of those nights you like to pretend never happened. I mean forgetting your anniversary when your other half was planning on a nice vacation away bad. I think the dinosaurs fared better versus the asteroid. 0-7 with 4Ks and 6 men left on base, and here were the first two. Nolan then lined out to third (his night got better) and Morneau rolled over to Utley at 2nd. A promising rally gone like that. And as Rockies fans we says, “Oh, great, here we go again. I wonder if they are selling any faux-crystal lamps from Canada on the Home Shopping Network.
And the narrative just got worse when Chris Russin, who has struggled on the road of late gave up another first inning run. First batter (Ruggiano) on a 1-1 count doubled to left and then after an Utley ground out to Morneau (hitting it to the left-side of the infield so the runner gets to 3rd with less than 2 outs…that is what winning teams do) the vastly underappreciated Justin Turner smoked a ball against the drawn-in infield (do you get the feeling both clubs thought it was going to a be a tight, low-scoring game?) that Reyes deflected and plated Ruggiano. Again, good teams take advantage of the pressure you put on a team, in this case the drawn-in infield. Adrian Gonzalez singled to put runners on 2nd and 1st again. But Russin did what he does so well. A.J. Ellis hit into a Nolan to DJ to Morneau double-play.
After going quietly in the 2nd the Rox again created a scoring opportunity in the 3rd. After Ks of Russin and Blackmon Reyes hit one back-up the middle and then stole his 23rd bag of the year. So with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd up steped CarGo and….you already know how this ends. K number 2 delivered (to be fair CarGo is hitting against a really tough lefty).
Finally in the 4th the Rox broke through and put up a 3 spot against Anderson, which will end up being big because….well, they get stuck there. After a Nolan single to left (did you know that in choosing the best player in MLB in a fan-voted award Nolan didn’t even make it to the final round? But Cespides did?), Morneau hit a soft liner to left to put men on 2nd and 1st with 0-outs. I have to say that I didn’t think Morneau would come back this year and he has played pretty well. My question is why are you playing him, especially against a lefty when you need to continue to develop a Parker or even a Paulsen (learning against a tough lefty). I think this may be the team being classing and giving Justin a chance to re-establish his value for the off-season job search. Then DJ bounced one into the hole where #1 prospect in baseball Corey Seager was able to grab it. In time he will learn to eat the ball there and celebrate the fact you kept the run from scoring on a slow roller into left. But instead he fired it to a moving Turner at 3rd, and he fired it like he was throwing across the diamond. The ball sailed wide and Arenado was about to score with Morneau ending up at 3rd and DJ at 2nd.
In this case they put pressure on the Dodgers and they made the mistake. DJ has done all the little things this season, and even though he will never be a high OPS guy, he right now fits perfectly at 2B. With 0-outs the key is to score the run and Corey Dickerson did that with a ground out to the right-side of the infield to plate Morneau and give the Rox the lead 2-1. And with 1-out and a runner at 3rd, Dustin Garneau, in an 0-2 count did what you wanted him to do, especially as a sub.200 hitter. After Russin struck out the top of the 4th closed with the Rox leading 3-1.
And…the Rox were done with offense until much later. The 5th and 6th they went in order (another CarGo K) to Anderson and in the 7th, 8th, and 9th they went in order against one or another of a stead stream of relievers. They were no hit for 5 straight innings. Oh, and no walks either. In a 16 inning game they had….1! Walk! 1! Enough said.
The Dodgers tied in the 7th. AGon doubled and then AJ Ellis walked (replaced on base by Rollins) and Russin’s night was done. Through 6 innings on a low pitch count Russin had allowed 1 ER on 4 H 1BB with 3Ks. Its that 7th where his stats became less impressive. With Seager due up Weiss brought in Boone Logan, and sadly Boone does what he has done so much of the last two years. He walked Seager to load the bases with 0-outs. Then with a 1-2 count Logan gave up the sac fly to Heisy and it was 3-2, 1-out, men at 3rd and 2nd. Bringing in Logan to face Seager made sense, lefty on lefty. You expect him to execute. But then Heisey, a righty with whom Logan has struggled all year, he is left in. And when another right-handed pinch-hitter comes up, Logan is left in still. And surprise PH Austin Barnes singles to make it 3-3, 1 out, runners at 2nd and 1st. Rusin’s night is over, he now has 3 ER against him and he loses the chance to pick up a win.
Why with extra men in the bullpen did Wesis stick with Logan?
Justin Miller came in and shut things down, but without a strikeout getting two ground ball outs. Keeping the score at 3-3.
Jairo Diaz had another great outing, going 1-2-3 with 2 Ks.
In the 9th the Rox pieced together 3 outs. First Rex came on…and walked his first batter and then on a weird error he leaves with runners on 2nd and 1st. Rex was done. On comes Scott Oberg who promptly picks up the runner at 2nd getting the CS at 3rd. So, 1-out and the runner on 1st (Seager) advancing to 2nd. And then…a wild pitch! Winning run at 3rd and 1-out. Oberg them walks the batter putting runners at the corners. Facing another pinch-hitter Oberg gets Grandal to pop-out. So 2-out. On came Christian Friedrich to face Andrew Eithier who flies out, stranding the runner at 3rd.
We’re going extras….
10th inning the Rox get their first runner since the 4th. Dustin Garneau got the Rox one and only walk with 1-out. Descalso then singled to put runners at 2nd and 1st. Blackmon hits the ball up the middle, it deflects to the SS, but the run does not score. Bases loaded and 2-out. But Reyes Ks End of Rox’s 10th. Christian Bergman came on for the 10th, got two quick outs, gave up a single to Justin Turner who decided to try and stretch it against CarGo. No-no! Out at 2nd. CarGo proves that when your bat is a 0 on a given night you can still impact the game.
Game tied 3-3
11th inning the Rox finally score again. A 1-out triple by the burner Justin Morneau against old Rox Juan Nicasio. He was able to take advantage of the wet grounds due to the rains that fell.
Ben Paulsen took Morneau’s spot at 3rd and scored on DJ’s single on an 0-2 count against a drawn in infield….putting pressure on the other team…and taking advantage. DJ has been the team’s 2nd MVP this year. Rox 4 Dodgers 3.
Sadly the rally dies there when DJ is picked-off first and Ynoa strikes out.
So the home half of the 11th, with Jon Axford on, who has been much better since July ended. He has been getting saves pretty regularly. And he starts strong with a K of AGon but then the old issue arises…he walks the next batter and then gives up a single to Seager to put men on 1st and 3rd. Then a wet-ball deflect single scores the tying run, 4-4. But Axford gets Grandal to bounce back to him, over to Desclaso covering 2nd, over to Paulsen for a double play. Interestingly none of the three players who touched the ball, nor the batter nor the runner had been in the starting lineup.
Some hate the expanded rosters in September but I like it. Players are exhausted and that is when bad injuries can happen. And, it creates weird games like this….
The Rox then get 2 innings of 1H 1K baseball from Brooks Brown (his injury in May hurt that bullpen a lot when they needed guys like him). He handed it over to Simon Castro who gave up a walk but nothing else while registering a K. David Hale added a 1 H scoreless inning in the 15th.
From the 12th through the 15th inning the Rox sole runner was on an error, and the next batter (Parker) struck-out to end the inning.
Which now brings us to the 16th. CarGo fouled a ball off his foot…and struck-out again. This necessitated the use of lefty pitcher Jason Gurka playing for CarGo in right. He hadn’t played in the outfield since junior college baseball but was chosen by Weiss because he is the best shagger during BP. No, really…that was how they chose him.
So with 1-out Nolan, who was still angry for a late and hard slide by Justin Turner:
Took care of things himself….one out deep to center, #39
Rox 5 Dodgers 4
Paulsen and DJ went quietly after that and the ball now went to Gonzalez German and his 5+ ERA. Do you get the feeling his teammates told him either hold-em or we will duct-tape you to the outside of the charter home tomorrow.
He got the first out on a flyball to Blackmon but then gave up another single to the kid Seager (who if he doesn’t throw the ball wildly way back in the 4th is the player of the game and everyone is home in bed early). Seager went 2-6 with a walk and now represented the tying run at 1st. And then German walked Heisey. German got a grounder to DJ but it was not hit well enough to allow them to turn two, but they did get the 2nd out at 2nd, making it 1st and 3rd, 2 outs.
And German put it rest:
Some of the sad stats though in this one.
The Rox had just the one walk, while handing out 8!
The Rox struck out 18 times! But their pitchers managed only 9.
The Rox left 16 men on base…but stopped the Dodgers 23 opportunities.
And as you know by now, a new record for most players used, most pitchers used, and the 4th longest game in Rox history.
On the pre-game for the Wednesday game Corey Sullivan told the fans it was going to be a low-scoring low energy game. He was right, as the Rox lost the last game of the road trip 2-0 despite great pitching by DLR because they got just 2 hits, but, they only had 12 in 16 innings in this one.
So the Rox ended the trip going 5-5 visiting San Diego, Seattle and LA, facing 5 straight lefties and playing a stretch of 21 games over 20 days.
And all they have to look forward to his October golf.