The Colorado Rockies had an excellent chance to set the tone for a winning road trip as they came to the plate on Memorial Day at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. They had survived Atlanta, even managing a victory, and were facing less than an ace for a change in the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.04). Instead, as is so often their policy, they made Kendrick look like Nolan Ryan, extended a scoreless streak to 20 innings, and lost 9-0. They’ve been outscored 16-0 the last two days.
Colorado had plenty of opportunities. They got the lead-off guys on in the 1st and 2nd but hit into double-plays immediately following. They got starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (0-4, 5.20) to 2nd with 2 out in the 3rd but the overpaid Michael Cuddyer flied to center. Troy Tulowitzki singled to lead-off the 4th, and after fly-outs by Carlos Gonzalez and Wilin Rosario, both of whom are killing the Rockies, Justin Morneau singled to put runners on 1st and 3rd. But Josh Rutledge could only manage another fly-ball, which Ben Revere corralled in center-field.
Meanwhile, Chacin had faced the minimum through 3, but with 2 out in the bottom of the 4th Chase Utley managed an infield single, inspiring the right-hander to start throwing wild pitches. Utley advanced to 2nd and scored on a single by Ryan Howard, the first of 5 RBI for the struggling Philadelphia slugger. Chacin then wild-pitched Howard around to 3rd, but he got out of trouble when Marlon Byrd grounded to Charlie Culberson. The Phillies got another run off Chacin in the 5th on a walk to Domonic Brown and singles by Cesar Hernandez and Revere, then in the 6th Utley led-off with a single and came around when Howard followed with a home run. Chacin hit the showers.
Colorado had stranded Charlie Culberson at 2nd with 1 out in the 5th. Tulowitzki and Gonzalez were aboard in the 6th for a Rosario strike-out, Morneau ground-ball and Rutledge pop-fly. They got 2-out singles from Charlie Blackmon and Cuddyer in the 7th, but Tulowitzki struck out. Then Nick Masset got in trouble in the bottom of the inning, Rex Brothers continued his regression, and 8 hitters, 5 runs, and a John Mayberry home run later, it was over. The Rockies went meekly in the 8th and 9th.
There’s a silver lining in everything, the loss and general away-from-Coors futility arousing the RWO faithful, which responded with 16 ire-filled comments, including a panic-filled rant by RMH and an entire column from Dr_C on the history and social impications of panic.
All is not yet lost. Five games remain on the trip. This is no longer the 2012 Rockies, but the current version needs to rise above what roxnsox has astutely defined as “it.” It’s time for somebody like Gonzalez to demonstrate some leadership, put the team on his back and make this Road Phobia a “former phenomenon.” It won’t be easy. Lefty Cole Hamels goes for the Phillies tonight, but the Rockies counter with Jorge De La Rosa. The DeaLeR was dealing on Thursday before the apocalypse descended on Coors Field. Game time is 5:05 MDT.