Three Rockies pitchers had a chance to show they didn't deserve a demotion after this game. All of them failed, but as we're about to see, not all failures are created equal.
Franklin Morales, who can't be optioned to the minor leagues without his consent but can be demoted to the bullpen, started the game and didn't fare too well. We'll get the tiny positive note out of the way first, he pitched into the seventh inning.
That's about the only good thing you can say about the guys in purple on the mound tonight. Morales surrendered eight hits, handed out four free passes, and served up a pair of long balls on his way to giving up six earned runs in a losing effort.
He was very emotional as he walked off the hill; a man who knew he'd blown what will likely be his last chance to earn a spot in a major league rotation for quite some time.
RhodeIslandRoxfan's sentencing for these sins: A demotion to the bullpen to be used as some combination of a lefty specialist and the mop up man for when things get out of control like they did tonight.
Surprisingly, Morales left the mound with the game still very much in reach. When Chad Bettis came through the bullpen door, the score was still a very manageable 4-2 with two men on base. In fact, the Rockies were a double play away from getting out of the inning and really making it a game.
Unfortunately Jose Abreu, who the Rockies very nearly signed this off season, had other ideas. He put together an exceptional at bat against Bettis and eventually got a pitch he could hammer over the left field wall just beyond the outstretched glove of Brandon Barnes to extend the Chicago lead to 7-2. It would be the first of two impressive home runs Abreu would hit in this game. The second coming an inning later to the opposite field well over the bullpen wall. (I think he would have done Okay for himself as a Rockie)
Bettis however settled down and got Dayan Viciedo to ground out to Troy Tulowitzki for the second out and and then struck out Conor Gillaspie to end the inning.
It wasn't a good outing, but it wasn't absolutely terrible either. Or to put it another way, I credit Abreu more than I blame Bettis for the home run that blew the game open.
RhodeIslandRoxfan's sentencing for these sins: Bettis becomes the eighth man in the bullpen behind Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle, Adam Ottavino, LaTroy Hawkins, Boone Logan, Tommy Kahnle, and Franklin Morales. He's not a worse pitcher than all seven of the guys in front of him, but he does have options to the minor where others don't. Bettis gets to stay as long as the Rockies use an eight man pen. If not, he goes to Colorado Springs.
Little did we know, the bad pitching on the night was only just beginning. Wilton Lopez came into the game in the eighth and started this.
In the inning, he gave up (and I hope you're sitting down) three home runs, a double, and four singles while recording only two outs. Nothing about this was bad luck either like some of his outings last season. These were batting practice rockets coming off the bats of a lineup that let's face it, isn't very good.
RhodeIslandRoxfan's sentencing for these sins: A trip to Colorado Springs to figure out his issues there. This was the worst outing he's ever had in a Rockies uniform (and that's really saying something) and it came on a night where roster spots were on the line. He's out of chances as far as I'm concerned. BUH-BYE WILTON!!!! See ya in the next Pebble Report!!! - (We can only hope)
Offensively, the Rockies actually played a little better than the three runs they scored indicated, but they hit some line drives right at people, especially the third time through the lineup. Doesn't really matter though when the pitching gives up 15.
This game is an excellent example of why the Rockies need their rotation to stay healthy. That's how you keep things like we saw tonight from happening again. The top pitchers on this team are actually pretty good.
Games behind: 2.5
Games left: 153
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