As the season heads to its final month there are a lot of teams simply playing out the string. Oh, the ones out of it can focus on being a “spoiler” to a contender, but the fact remains the teams are where they are in the pennant race because one is really bad, and the other good. But at least they are interesting games in and of themselves.
Then there are the games where two teams with their golf clubs already fastened and their tailor working on this season’s golfer’s wardrobe. As a general rule these games are just horrible to watch.
But when the two teams are trying to figure out who they have, what these guys can do, and what they need to shop for during the offseason you get some occasionally good games (yes, still with plenty of mistakes, but entertaining baseball). Such was the case Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Game 1 featured a pitching matchup between Yohan Flande against Rockies killer Patrick Corbin. Corbin is 5-1 with a 3.90 ERA and a WHIP of 1.283. Needless to say a tough chore.
The good news for the fans there is they got treated to an extra base bonanza. The Dbacks hit 2 homers, 2 triples and 3 doubles as part of their 10 hit attack. That’s right….they had just 3 singles in a game featuring 7 extra base hits. Wow!
The Rox joined the theme of the day with three homers of their own (all solo shots) and three doubles. Half of their 12 hits went for extra bases. So while the score wasn’t particularly “Coorsish” at 6-4, the excitement was certainly there.
Flande did another nice job. Look, we know he can’t get through a third time through the lineup. Fine. But he can be really effective the first two times. He allowed a 2nd inning homer to Jarod Saltalamacchia and a third inning double to score a run. He gave up 5 hits and 3 walks (not typical of Flande but the umpiring evidently was questionable again) and left after 5 with the score 2-2 after throwing 79 pitches.
The Rockies had knotted it up at 1-1 in the bottom of the 2nd on an absolute bomb of a homer by DJ. DJ is built like Tulo but has always swung like Juan Pierre but clearly when he gets one…he can do some serious damage. The ball travelled up about 2/3rds the way up in center-left. Watch it here:
The Rox tied it up in the bottom of the 5th when Kyle Parker, who has been struggling but whose bat has to intrigue crushed one about 5 feet further according to StatCast:
The score remained 2-2 until the 6th when Saltalamacchia drove in a run with a ground ball off of Miguel Castro. Castro allowed 3 hits and one walk in 1.1 innings…and they all scored. In the 7th he got himself into trouble when he gave up a lead-off double to the 8 hole hitter and then walked the pitcher Corbin. How many runs would the Rox save over the course of a year if they just stopped giving walking the opposing pitchers (Corbin was still in the game in part because he was throwing well and in part because it was a double-header, which because of Flande’s limitation, the Rockies had to deal with in another way. And that way blew up when Castro, one of the three good looking arms from Toronto, when after getting the first out of the inning he gave up a big fly to Philip Gosselin, his first of the year and perhaps of his career. It blew the game wide open.
But in the 8th the Rox tried to mount a comeback. Blackmon singled to center but on a 1-1 count Jose Reyes ground into a 4-6-3 double-play. It became a big issue because next up was Nolan Arenado and NoDo hit his league-tying 31st homer (some guy named CarGo also has 31) to dead centerfield:
But instead of the score being 6-4 or perhaps even 6-5, the score remained 6-3. That was important because the rally fever from Monday night came infected the Rox again in the 9th. Todd Hundley had his 20th double of the season to start things off. But Kyle Parker struck out for the first out. CarGo, who was sitting during the day game, came up as a pinch hitter and banged his 22nd double of the season to left to plate Hundley making it 6-4. Again, if not for the double-play its 6-5 and they have the tying run at 2nd with 1 out and two of their more clutch players coming up. But Ben Paulsen couldn’t make it two in two days, striking out and Blackmon popped out short to end the game.
Oh, and the Rox pulled off another triple play. In fact, if Reyes had been a little more, you know, excited, he could have had an unassisted triple play:
So in game one, lots of power, decent hitting, decent if too short starting pitching, and good relief work by the rest of the pen aside from Castro. That includes a clean inning from Rex Brother on 9 pitches…8 of which were strikes. He didn’t K anyone but he got through a quick successful inning. Recently added Jason Gurka got in his second game and did much better, closing out the 9th a hit and a walk. But Germen, Brothers and Gurka kept the Dbacks at 6.
All in all…another in a long line of losses but an interesting ball game.
The nightcap featured a battle between the Dbacks De La Rosa (Ruby) and Kyle Kendrick, fresh off the DL. Kendrick actually did pretty good, going 4 innings on his limited pitch count of 72 pitches allowing one run on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2. Bet you can guess how the one run scored. Kendrick allowed his 27th homer of the year (last year playing in a serious hitters park in Phili he only allowed 25 – only, right – but in 82 more innings) to Paul Goldschmidt, his 27th as well. No shame in giving one up to him…he is a superstar as they say.
Kendrick was followed by Christian Bergman who has quietly done a nice job as the Rox swingman/long reliever (aside from his stint on the DL), and he gave the Rox 2 innings of 1 hit pitching. Which brought us to the 7th again. The Rox were winning 3-1 when Scott Oberg came on to pitch. Look, I like Oberg and maybe in time he can be a solid part of the pen. But right now, be it because of the wear-and-tear of all the innings and appearances (50 covering 47 innings) he simply isn’t very good right now (6.13 ERA tells you a lot as does the 1.55 WHIP). Oberg is a Rox draftee, 15th round in 2012, so you know they are cheering for him…plus he’s cheap. But the last week he has cost the Rox several games.
Oberg started the inning like you do not want to….ever. He hit Gosselin on his 2nd pitch. Then he walked Owings to put men at 2nd and 1st with no hits (well, aside from the batter). Up next was Rockies killer Aaron Hill and he promptly doubled to left (on a 1-2 count even). This was enough for Walt Weiss who took out Oberg and brought in Jairo Diaz. Diaz got the first out of the inning. But the next batter, A.J. Pollock 93 mph fastball that got way too much of the plate and deposited it into the bullpen. From a 3-1 lead the Rox now trailed 5-3. The Dbacks closed out the final three innings thanks to two innings for a save by the other Rockies killer, Josh Collmenter, who evidently stinks against everyone not in Colorado.
On the offensive side the Rox got some nice contributions from Cristhian Adames, who doubled and scored in the first on a Nolan Arenado single and Ben Paulsen who served up a run scoring double to plate Arenado. The only other Rox run, was another homer from that man Arenado, his league-leading 32nd and league leading RBI 98.
There were also some nice plays, three I think, by Nolan, including a spiffy double-play starting grab and throw a throw from behind the bag and then a nice barehanded play. Simply great fun to watch him play defense.
But as great as he was, the Rox committed 4 ERRORS!!! Descalso had one fielding, Kendrick on a bad pickoff, Adames fielding and Garneau throwing.
Even against a pretty bad Dbacks team you cannot make mistakes and win games, and this one was there to win. But the Rox did not walk while walking three Dbacks, the Dbacks had one error that didn’t impact the game much, the Rox 4 which didn’t result in unearned runs but ran up pitch counts.
And so it was one of those games….one of those doubleheaders that makes you realize that this is not just a lost season, it is one you hope the team loses in its video archives and simply starts thinking of 2016.
The Rox remain tied for the least number of wins in the race for the top overall picks, though Philadelphia has two more losses. There is a chance not one baseball club loses 100 games this year, but there still is a lot of bad baseball being played…and sadly a lot of it is being done in Rox pinstripes.