A) Charlie Blackmon went 5-5 out of the lead off spot.
B) Kevin Correia and his 84 ERA+ started for the Twins.
C) The Rockies outhit the Twins.
D) One team beat the other team by six runs.
If I were told those four things were going to happen today before the first pitch, I probably would have been pretty happy, but alas, the Rockies managed to fall 9-3 to Minnesota thanks to a flood of mistakes. Let's highlight the most infuriating moments.
1) First inning, man on second, Tyler Matzek fields a ball back up the middle. He's got Brian Dozier who wandered off second base dead, but instead of making Dozier commit to a direction, Matzek inexplicably throws behind the runner and wildly to second base. Everybody is safe and both would later score on a Kendrys Morales double to right field. (Kendrys Morales came into the game with a 53 wRC+, just to make that exchange sting a little more)
2) The entire day against Kevin Correia was torture. To Correia's credit, he didn't beat himself and only walked one batter, but at the same time, he also only struck out one and seemed on the verge of coughing up a four run frame at any moment. Rockies' fans waited and waited and waited, but that inning never came. There was traffic in every inning but the fourth (and that seemingly easy put down had about 1,000 feet worth of fly outs), but the Rockies could never get the hits they needed to really inflict any sort of damage. In fact, despite racking up 13 hits on the day, the highest WPA value any of them registered was .062, which came on Charlie Blackmon's RBI single in the fifth to make it 4-1 at the time.
Perhaps the most costly at bat of the entire game came in the fifth when Troy Tulowitzki grounded into an inning ending double play when he represented the tying run. That seemed like the moment the game was going to turn in favor of the Rockies, but with one swing of the bat, most of the air was let out of the balloon.
In general, it was just an unexciting day with a match up that seemed to indicate good things for the Rockies offense. Ugh!
3) The call to end the top of the third inning highlights the single biggest problem with MLB's new home plate collision rule. Charlie Blackmon was ruled out both on the field and after a review when his cleat clearly reached either the knee of catcher Eric Fryer or the corner of home plate before the tag was applied. However, since it was inconclusive as to whether or not Blackmon touched the plate, he was ruled out.
Here's the problem: If Blackmon's foot touched the plate first, he should have been ruled safe. However, if Blackmon's foot hit Fryer's knee first, he also should have been ruled safe because that would mean Fryer was illegally blocking the plate. MLB does have some vague language about blocking a runner when the fielder is "in the act of fielding the ball", but that brings far too much subjectivity into play during moments that decide if runs are going on the board. This play had almost nothing to do with the Rockies losing today - They made more than enough mistakes themselves - But it does highlight a pretty unfortunate hole in clarity that could leave an entire city infuriated this October if their team is eliminated from the playoffs thanks to MLB making this area of the rule book murkier than swamp water.
4) The Twins got an especially infuriating run in the fourth inning. After Josh Willingham led off with a double, Sam Fuld and Eric Fryer each failed to drive him home leaving the pitcher at the plate with two outs and a man on third. Matzek then allowed Correia to pull a double down the left field line to put the Twins on top 4-0. Brutal!
5) After Chad Bettis pitched a scoreless seventh, Walt Weiss really pushed his luck in the eighth by sending him back out there to give up two walks and two singles before finally pulling him in favor of Brooks Brown. Giving a guy like Chad Bettis this much rope in what at the time was a three run game is just asking for disaster. Not surprisingly, it came sooner rather than later. To add just a little extra salt in the wound however, the man who delivered the bases loaded single was Chris Parmelee, who prior to this at bat was 0-28 with runners in scoring position on the season. Parmelee also had just a .154 batting average with the bases loaded coming into today.
6) The Twins put two more on the board in the ninth when a pair of runs scored on an infield single that Nolan Arenado couldn't field and then overran and was out of position to make a play on. It's one of those plays you have to see to understand how stupid it was for Arenado to end up with an error. He certainly didn't make a good play (which allowed the first run to score), but this was a worst case scenario result on the highest order.
7) Carlos Gonzalez had some of the dumbest base running you will ever see in the ninth inning. Again, it really didn't do anything to change the result of the game, but I am stunned at the number of major league baseball players who don't understand that their run means nothing in the ninth inning if it does't represent the tying or winning marker. So down by six, Cargo gets thrown out at third base trying to advance on a ball that briefly got away from new catcher Kurt Suzuki. This came after he was almost thrown out at second stretching his bloop hit into a double earlier in the inning for the first Rockies extra base hit of the game.
I love the hustle, but as with Corey Dickerson a few weeks ago against Milwaukee, there's a fine line between being aggressive and being stupid, and Cargo clearly crossed that today.
Tomorrow afternoon is the final game before the All Star Break, and with a win, the Rockies can actually close out the first half with back to back series wins - Albeit against the lowly Padres and Twins at home. The game also features the most attractive pitching match up of the series with Brett Anderson (0-2, 3.60) making his long awaited return going up against Phil Hughes (9-5, 3.70) who is enjoying a career year now that he's gotten away from homer happy Yankee Stadium.
Games behind: 11.5
Games left: 68
Total comments: 364
Total commenters: 21
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