I am well known for going line-by-line through the game. I don’t have the heart to do that after tonight’s game. I will hit the highlights and lowlights that is all
1st inning – Rockies put two on, Dickerson drills a ball to the gap and Dominic Brown, a horrible left-fielder, lays outs and makes a great grab (in the 1969 World Series one of the three greatest WS catches was made by Ron Swovoda laid out to make a fantastic catch…but he was known as a horrible fielder throughout his career – the old blind squirell and nut thing). Hard to say wasted when it took a great play to keep it from being 2-0.
2nd inning – bases-loaded after 2 quick outs thanks to error, infield single, and walk. DJ quickly gets behind 1-2, grounds out meekly to Utley. 3 men stranded.
3rd inning – with 2 runs already in on a homer from Morneau and a double from Rosario, Rutledge flies out and after an intentional walk, Lyles grounded out to SS. 2 men stranded.
5th inning – single and walk to start inning. Rosario Ks, Rutledge Ks, fielders-choice. 2 men stranded.
6th inning – Barnes leads off with a double. Blackmon smokes the ball alas right at Utley (he had to jump a bit). Great stroke, just at someone. I can see argument for bunting there, but CB would have driven it in if not for Utley’s catch.DJ rolls out to SS. Morneau walks, and on the first pitch of his AB, Cuddy knocks the ball 2 feet in-front of the plate. 2 men stranded including lead-off double.
7th inning – this one really hurts. 3 straight walks to start the inning. Now at Culberson’s spot in order followed by pitcher’s spot. Phillies call on Mike Adams. I knew Adams was tough on the Rockies. Before tonight, 25 appearences, 23.2 innings, ERA – 0.38.WHIP – .634. Those numbers were about to get better. Weiss goes to CarGo for pinch-hit role (lefty-righty, okay, I get it). CarGo promptly softly hits it to pitcher, to catcher-to-first, 2 outs, no runs. Then Tulo comes up (I would have hit Tulo first only because he can loft the ball better right now and all you needed was a sac fly – so my only complaint there about Weiss there). Adams gets Tulo to strike-out. Technically 2 men stranded, but really 3 since we had bases loaded AND 0 OUTS!
8th inning – a homerun from DJ. Just had to write that because I might never write it again. With 2-outs singles from Cuddy and Dickerson, but Rosario flies out deep to center. 2 men stranded
That is a lot of stranded runners – 15 in total! RoxnSox during the game chat said – don’t you deserve to lose when you leave 15 runners? Yes, but it seemed like we were due a win in a game like that…alas
Jordan Lyles was not sharp for the 2nd time in 3 outings. He gave up 2 runs in 5 innings before reaching close to the magic 100 pitch limit. He was more like the Lyles of early April than mid-April to mid-May. He pitched well-enough to give them a chance to win though but asking the relievers to go 4 is tough.
Matt Belisle was solid in the 6th. Rex came in and got the 7th dealt with in his usual (this year) rough manner, but no runs. Weiss called on site-favorite Nick Masset who was, to put it nicely, nasty. Those hoping to see Masset close at some point may have been disappointed by his last 2 outings but he was nails in the 8th. Throwing only 12 pitches I wondered if they might try and get him to go the 9th as well. But Hawkins was ready.
The 9th started out fine. Fly out to Blackmon. Next, a roller to 2nd, fielded by Rutledge and thrown over Morneau (which is tough because he is a big man). That error set in play a whole bunch of things. But really, this all goes back to the injury to Nolan. That injury put Culberson at 3rd base everyday now. And when the decision was made to go to CarGo for Culberson (Culberson in hindsight could have done a better job in the 7th than an injured CarGo), it meant that DJ moved to 3rd and Rutledge to 2nd. We all love Rutledge’s offense but…his D, especially at 2nd, is dreadful. Not quite EY Jr level bad but close. So the injury in game 1 of this road trip leads to having Rut at 2nd in the 9th when normally he would have been on the bench for defensive replacement of either Culberson or DJ. The plight of small market teams is an injury to a key player usually has reprucssions elsewhere – just like last year’s injury to Betencourt caused the whole pen to slowly fall apart even as Rex was still throwing great now in the 9th.
Anyways, all was not lost. Hawkins made his one bad pitch to Ben Revere who lined the ball to right but Cuddy got to it quick and held the runners at 2nd and 1st. Hawk then got Rollins to foul-out to Tulo along the left-field side….except Tulo dropped it. Fortunately, Rollins lined out later to Blackmon, so 2-outs. Next up Utley and Howard.
Throughout this year a lot of us have yelled at Weiss for following “the Book” and using his “closer” regardless of matchups. It has driven us crazy. It has prompted many of us to say he is too locked into the way he was taught, too passive (again, in-game chat discussion that I disagreed with for this game). Weiss was stangly aggressive all-game, using Barnes in the 6th, pulling the CarGo card in the 7th as well as the Tulo card. So tonight, he is aggressive with the pen. He went and got Boone Logan.
Logan was given a 3-year $15 million contract over the off-season, and the deal was generally celebrated by the baseball analyst as Logan has been a solid reliever with no injury history. For much of the past few years he has been the lefty-specialist in Yankee land. This is his job – get tough lefties. But strangely they have used Logan less than any other reliever not sent-down to the minors. He has gone 6, 4.2 and 2 days in-between his last 4 outings and he has not thrown a whole inning since May 9th. What is more he has given up one walk-off this year already and gave up Ben Revere’s first homer in nearly 1500 ABs last night. Hawkins had not done badly tonight and was nails last night. Should Weiss have gone to Boone? A question we all thought was a clear yes before the AB to Utley.
He got behind to Utely first 3-0. On the next pitch Utley was just a little early and fouled it off down the right field line. The next pitch….ball didn’t get far enough away and …fly ball to center, run scores, 3-3. Revere at 3rd and Utley going to 2nd on the throw. Wow! After all that game tied.
Not to worry – Boone had faced Howard 5 times…and given up 4 hits. And after 6 pitch battle, it was 5-6, now with a homer as part of it (if you are going to lose, why not the walk-off homer type). Did Weiss know about his numbers against Howard? If so, why did he go to him? You had to know it was possible that Utley would keep it alive by walk or error or hit. I would not ever let a pitcher who was being hit .800 by a certain hitter anywhere near that hitter with the game on the line.
And that is again where the injuries come to play. This team was supposed to have 3 lefties in the pen, but due to injuries Franklin Morales was moved to the rotation (where it appears he is staying…why we do not know). Utiley vs Morales – 0-3, Howard…0-5. Yea, think he might have gone to Frankie there insetad? Injuries matter because they cause people to not be available when and where you might want and instead using them in a place they are less suited for by nature.
So that was the game. It stunk. Yes they left 15 on but they also pitched well enough before the 9th to earn the win. The defense before the 9th was good enough to earn the win. And heck, DJ hit a homer!
So we are now 6 back of the Giants, as they continue to play a lot of games at home against sub.500 teams. I will post a link tomorrow about the Giants showing they are in fact, the 2nd luckiest team in baseball and while they are getting good work from certain players, they are also getting play from some players that is way out of line with reality. Not that they are going to fade. All the Rockies can do is their part. So the road trip just went in 2 batters from 3-3 to 2-4 and they have a day off to think about it. We have seen this team turn every one of these heart-breaking losses (now 2-9 in bullpen games) around the next game, showing resiliency and winning after one of these games. They might go to Cleveland and sweep the Indians. But right now….I just don’t care. I need a day off from baseball like I watched tonight.
It’s a long season. I remain an optimist, but as I said, injuries matter and the injury to Nolan is starting to matter more and more. I proposed in my “Is it Time to Panic?” post that they go and make a trade to get a bat that has struggled and might need a new start. I don’t think they are going to do that. They are going to try and make do until they know how long Nolan is out. It’s a long season…but wow, I am ready for this team to have a nice long winning streak…starting Friday in Cleveland.