Colorado played like a playoff team tonight beating Arizona with three runs in the ninth. Chris Rusin who was not yet stretched out went five innings on 76 pitches in the best case scenario possible. It was significant because Rockies generally play very well when the starting pitchers give the team quality starts (or five innings from a spot starter). Rusin gave up only one hit and issued three walks.
Tulo2.7 continued to wear out Zack Greinke with an RBI double in the third after Charlie Blackmon singled leading off the inning. He then used his speed to score the second run on Gerardo Parra’s hard one-hop single to left. The Rockies had a 2-0 lead at that point.
Carlos Estevez took over in the sixth and immediately gave up a single to Jean Segura and a moon shot to Brandon Drury that knotted the game at 2-2. But unlike many relief pitchers in the storied history (in a bad way), he settled down and got the next three batters to put the inning down.
It was a pitching chess match the rest of the way. Gonzalez Germen continues to surprise the Rockies with a clean seventh and Chad Qualls followed Germen with another clean inning.
The ninth inning rally was started by pinch hitter Ben Paulsen with a single off Brad Ziegler who has been lights out up to this point. Blackmon singled to left against a slight shift to put two on for Tulo2.7. After battling the tough pitches, he lined a triple just inside the right field foul line to drive in two more runs. With him standing on third and less than two outs, he came home on a NoDo single to add an insurance run for a 5-2 score.
My observation of Trevor Story: Yes, he has been striking out a ton of times. Remember he spent the entire minor league career repeating each level (except ABQ) as he was slow to adjust to each level. The opponents inevitably adjusted to him but Story has been making adjustments back at the pitchers rather quickly. I can safely say that I project his strikeout ratio to trend downward as he gains experience. He is much higher than league average in pitches seen per plate appearance.
Jake McGee came in to close out the game. After he put lead off hitter Paul Goldschmidt with a sawed off bloop single, flashes of Dodgers’ five run rally were replayed in the Rockies fans’ heads. Tulo2.7 made a clean execution of the double play grounder to end Arizona’s hopes. McGee did give up a double but put the game away on the next batter.
Game notes: Mark Reynolds continues to display Gold Glove caliber glove at first base. Goldy had a soft line drive into the 3-4 hole but Reynolds ranged a few steps and made a long dive to catch the ball in the air. He’s been playing like a Olympian gymnast this year especially when he stretches out while keeping his foot on the bag to catch wide throws. He has scooped every ball in the dirt. Blackmon has been a godsend when he was back in the one-hole. The leadoff hitters have been a black hole while Blackmon was on the 15-day DL. He has had two multiple hit games in two games back from the DL. Tonight he scored twice on Tulo2.7 hits. Rockies play much better on the road than at home, but it is more directly related to short outings by the starters at Coors. The SPs down on the farm has been pitching very well. The rainout was the best gift since spring training ended which gave the bullpen much needed rest. Gerardo Parra has a very low baseball I.Q.; he took off for third with two outs and Greinke still holding the baseball (TOOTBLAN). That in addition to a couple of times this year he threw home when there were no play instead of going to second to keep the double play in order.
Colorado improves to 7-4 away from home vs. 4-8 at Coors. While we may never see .500 again, the Rockies are virtually tied for first place (11-12) but officially in third place .002 behind Dodgers and San Francisco. Chad Bettis takes the ball Sunday afternoon against Arizona’s prized acquisition Shelby Miller.