PITCHING IN SUDDEN CRISIS AS ROX GET SWEPT IN LA;
GIANTS AWAIT ONE-TIME CONTENDERS AT AT +T
Rattled mildly by blow-out losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday and Thursday, then stymied by Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood on Friday, the Colorado Rockies were looking forward to some veteran stability and strong outings from Tyler Chatwood, facing Clayton Kershaw Saturday night, and while it’s a tendon snapping stretch to call him a veteran, Tyler Anderson, returning to the rotation on Sunday. Instead, Chatwood delivered a stink-fest that still lingers, walking 8 in 3-1/3 and surrendering 4 runs that were plenty for Kershaw and three relief pitchers. Anderson, as it turns out, was not in-fact healthy (a touchy hamstring is thought to be the latest aggravation) and yesterday afternoon made it only an out into the 3rd, leaving matters to an already overworked bullpen with results so bizarre they defy credibility to recount.
Wood is now 8-0 and has a 1.86 ERA. Colorado got 1 against him in the 2nd on a Trevor Story single and Tom Murphy double, but Kyle Freeland was not his best, allowing single runs to the Dodgers in the 1st and 4th, and 3 in the 2nd that the offense had no answer for. They loaded them up in the 1st versus Kershaw the next night but the big lefty got strikeouts of Ian Desmond and Story to escape unscathed, then Chatwood simply said “here it is, take it.” LA obliged. And Sunday had the Twilight Zone ditty winding early as Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy had very little command, walking 2 and throwing 3 wild pitches as the Rockies took off to a 3-0 lead. McCarthy was shaky in the 3rd as well, as Colorado used 2 singles and an error to run the score to 5-0.
Then Anderson served-up 2-run homers first to Kiki Hernandez and a batter later to Cody Bellinger, and exited in favor of Jordan Lyles, who got out of the 3rd and 2 outs into the 4th before giving way to Scott Oberg. Oberg was good for 4 outs without incident, getting through the 5th, and gave way to Jake McGee, who got LA in order in the 6th and had 2 out and one on in the 7th when Logan Forsyth doubled, putting Dodgers at 2nd and 3rd. On came another Rockies veteran, the right-hander Adam Ottavino, counted-on for big things but lacking command and ineffective much of the year. Ottavino was a wreck, walking Austin Barnes then uncorking consecutive wild pitches to clear the bases and move Los Angeles into a 7-6 lead before striking out Yasmani Grandal.
By the 8th Ottavino had transformed into a quivering chunk of grape Jello shimmying away on your 9 year-old’s dessert plate. Joc Pederson had a lead-off double and moved to 3rd on a sharp line drive that Chase Utley drilled at Raimel Tapia. Ottavino walked Chris Taylor, then cranked loose a wild pitch with Hernandez batting to score Pederson. Hernandez eventually struck-out, but Ottavino had another crazy one in him, letting it fly to score Taylor with Justin Turner, who went on to walk, batting. Hoping to save an unnecessary appearance by Greg Holland, manager Bud Black stuck with no. 0, who unfortunately still held the coup de gras in his back pocket. Boom! Another blast from Bellinger, another lopsided defeat. Humiliation in Hollywood.
Manager Black was reflective, touching on the exhausted staff, bewildered by the Ottavino implosion. As far as the smack-down went, Black sought an upside, indicating the current slide gives the Rockies a ton to contemplate as they consider the responsibility of contention. Colorado has prospered, at times spectacularly, behind the corps of rookie starters, but it needs some veteran help, and Chatwood, Anderson and Ottavino have certainly been major disappointments.
Tonight the Rockies find themselves at AT+T Park in San Francisco, site of any number of recent triumphs, but you can bet the hated Giants are waiting in voracious anticipation to seize upon the wounded carcass. In 5 short days Colorado has dropped to 4-1/2 behind the Dodgers and 2 behind the Dbacks. No talk about post-season potential is about this week. German Marquez (5-3, 3.92) gets tonight’s start, 8:08 MT in the City by the Bay. He’ll face the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija (2-9, 4.74) as the Rockies look to get well against an opponent no doubt itching for a fight. It’s a 3-game set ahead of 3 in Arizona to close-out the 9 game trip and 16 game run through the West. Jeff Hoffman gets a reprieve and another start tomorrow against San Francisco’s Matt Cain, then Wednesday afternoon it’s TBD, presumably Jon Gray, against the lefty Ty Blach.
Try to stay cool, it’s gotten ugly.