ROX ESCAPE NEW YORK WITH ONE; PADRES IN LODO TO OPEN 6 GAME STAND
The Colorado Rockies defeated the New York Mets Sunday afternoon behind an offensive surge and 6 innings of 4-run/7 hit pitching by Jeff Hoffman (6-1, 4.33) to salvage one win in the weekend series at Citi Field, after posting moderately revolting losses in their first two games back from the All-Star break.
“Less Than Zero” is the name of an Elvis Costello song released back in 1977, as well as the title of Bret Easton Ellis’ astonishing 1985 debut novel. It is also a description of what Jon Gray had going for him Friday evening in Queens. Gray gave-up 2 in the 2nd, and 3 of the 6 runs that would eventually be charged to Gray had scored by the time Bud Black rescued the right-hander with nobody out in the 3rd. Zac Rosscup would make his first Rockies’ appearance in relief of Gray, and while Rosscup was less than spectacular in 2 innings, at least he got out of the inning, which wasn’t going to happen for Gray. Colorado’s offense got one in the 1st, and tacked on another in the 6th off of Jacob deGrom of New York, who lasted 8. Josh Edgin finished-up for the Mets.
Tyler Chatwood was working-up another stink-fest on Saturday, down 3 while having walked 3 with only one out when Black extracted him for what turned-out to be a strained calf muscle that has landed the right-hander on the 10-day DL. No sooner had I “figured-out” the bizarre odyssey the Rockies have been putting Antonio Senzatela through meant that Chatwood was likely to be dealt before the deadline (and wouldn’t a crackerjack outing in the big city be just the thing), than the 27 year-old busted-up that piece of guesswork. Chris Rusin picked-up the pieces for Chatwood and got nicked for 4 against his ledger, although 3 were unearned. Then, throwing further water on my Senzatela speculation, July 9’s big hero, Kyle Freeland, handed-in 3 scoreless in relief of Rusin, as we learned Freeland will be the next of the rookie starters to get an “innings management” break in the action. Seth Lugo was the Mets hurler to shut down the Rockies on Saturday, limiting the “attack” to 3 runs on 7 hits over 6-2/3.
Sunday things went further into curiouser and curiouser (cried Alice) territory, as New York’s Steven Matz (2-3, 4.48) got his shot at a start with Less Than Zero. The Rockies climbed all over Matz right out of the gate. DJ LeMahieu, who would go on to a 4-hit afternoon, singled with one out. After Nolan Arenado was retired on a pop-up, Mark Reynolds doubled, LeMahieu to 3rd. Ian Desmond, back from a calf-strain of his own, singled-in the runners, then Colorado right-fielder Gerardo Parra singled Desmond over to 3rd where he would score on a Trevor Story double, Parra following with run no. 4 of the 1st. Matz was back for the 2nd, greeted by Charlie Blackmon with a double. After LeMahieu’s second single knocked Blackmon over to 3rd, Arenado launched his 18th 2017 home run over the center-field wall, and that would do it for Matz, who would last only an inning plus,
surrendering 7. Gray was a comparative iron man Friday, lasting 2-plus, although Gray surrendered 9. The Rockies would go on to build the lead to 9-0, then Hoffman got nicked by a Lucas Duda home run in the 4th, a 2-run shot by Asdrubel Cabrera in the 5th, and gave-up one in the 6th on singles by Jay Bruce and TJ Rivera, a fly ball, and a sacrifice fly by Colorado fan favorite José Reyes, which tightened matters up to 9-4. But Blackmon launched his 21st in the 7th, and Parra took Neil Ramirez deep in the 8th, both 2-run jobs, and the Rockies would run off to a 13-4 win.
They’re back in Denver this afternoon, hosting the San Diego Padres for the first of 3 in a 6:40 start tonight at Coors Field. There’s an off day Thursday, then Clint Hurdle and the Pirates visit for another 3-game set over the weekend. Colorado is still seeking to reestablish the winning momentum that carried them for the better pat of the spring, so a strong dose of home cooking will be appreciated by the partisans. German Marquez (6-4, 4.36) gets the start tonight, facing Luis Perdomo (4-4. 4.54) of the Padres. Perdomo got a look at the Rockies on May 4 in San Diego, going 6 and giving up a run on 5 hits in a game Colorado would go on to win 3-2. Marquez got his look at San Diego about a month later, losing on June 2 and suffering through 6 runs on 8 hits over 5 innings, yet striking-out 9 all the same.
The aforementioned Senzatela gets his call back to the Major Leagues for the Rockies tomorrow against Dinelson Lamet, and Wednesday afternoon Gray gets a reset against San Diego’s Clayton Richard. There will be no TV for the Wednesday matinee, but the newly rebranded ATT Sportsnet will have the action tonight and Tuesday, wowing us with that new graphics package I have to admit looks pretty slick.
It’ll be partly cloudy and hot over at the old ball park for tonight’s contest, 89° as things get going for a pleasant night of baseball featuring a mild breeze out of the north at 4 MPH.