Well that didn't go so well. The Colorado Rockies looked sloppy and unfocused throughout this whimper of an opening salvo, as the Miami Marlins (the worst offensive team in 2013) put 10 runs on the scoreboard. Jorge De La Rosa and Wilin Rosario butted heads repeatedly, unable to agree on pitch selection. Things came to a head in the fifth inning, when DLR shook off Rosario so frequently and vehemently that everyone in the park knew something was wrong. Walt Weiss had no choice but to yank De La Rosa with the bases loaded. One bases-clearing double later, and that was all she wrote.
It's hard to comprehend how Rosario and De La Rosa could be so unable to work together after two seasons on the same team. But the frustration was evident, and it bled into everyone's performance. DLR went 4.1 innings and gave up 5 earned runs. He was cruising to start the game, racking up strikeouts and grounders to Troy Tulowitzki. Marcell Ozuna connected for a home run against him in the third, but otherwise there weren't any hints that something was amiss. Then that fifth inning arrived.
Wilton Lopez relieved De La Rosa with the bases packed, one out, and Giancarlo Stanton at the plate. Tough way to start his year, especially after struggling in 2013. He allowed a bad luck infield single to Stanton and a smashed, bases-clearing double to Casey McGehee in short order. Suddenly the Rockies were down 6-0, and with Jose Fernandez on the hill, the game was already lost.
Fernandez, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, looks primed for a Cy Young bid. His fastball was punishing and his slider positively wicked. In his six innings of work he allowed a few soft singles and one mammoth, rage-fueled home run to Carlos Gonzalez. He struck out nine Rockies, but it felt like more.
What else is there to say? The offense, apart from Cargo's blast, was comatose. De La Rosa was lousy, Lopez was lousy, and Chad Bettis, the Spring Training wunderkind, was lousy. You could not script a worse way to start a season.
And yet ... this is baseball. There will be 161 more games. Monday was a worst-case scenario, but it has absolutely no relation to how things proceed from here. There's a brand new game tomorrow. They'll just have to dust this one off and focus on the next day. At least Jose Fernandez won't be pitching.
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