Brett Anderson appeared headed for his fourth consecutive quality start when he retired each of the first nine men he faced, but the baseball gods must have felt a disturbance in the force. The Rockies already have Jorge De La Rosa, who has now gone at least six innings deep in each of his last eight outings, and they're scheduled to activate Jordan Lyles from the DL before Wednesday's game.
This is obviously way, way more competent starting pitchers than the Rockies are allowed to have in 2014, so of course, the baseball gods did something about it.
In the top of the fourth inning, just 33 pitches into his outing (25 of which were strikes), Brett Anderson's backed locked up. He walked off the field gingerly and in pain, and according to Nick Groke, another DL stint is likely.
Sounds about right.
Even with the Anderson misfortune, this is still a game the Rockies should have won. After receiving three innings of one run baseball from Franklin Morales where he didn't walk a single batter, the Rockies took a 3-1 lead into the seventh inning.
This is the point where the plate became as difficult for Rockies' pitching to find as the lost city of Atlantis. In a disgusting display of of ineptitude, Tommy Kahnle, Nick Masset, and Rex Brothers combined to WALK SIX BATTERS IN THE INNING!!! The Cubs scored three runs in a frame in which they didn't record a hit or get the benefit of an error. Of course, they probably would've scored about six or seven runs in the inning if the two balls they did put in play weren't screaming line drives right at Colorado outfielders, but the inability to find the zone we saw in this inning is something that should never happen in a major league baseball game. (The Yankees and Tigers also played a 12 inning game on Tuesday and neither team walked a single batter)
Then there were the wasted opportunities on offense. The Rockies did manage to outhit the Cubs 15-8, but there were several moments where you were left scratching your head. Brandon Barnes, who had a WPA of -4.12 in this game, was thrown out at third base with nobody out in the second inning, the Rockies left two men on base in the fifth, they left the winning runs on base in both the ninth and eleventh innings, but the most frustrating exchanges came in the sixth and the tenth.
In both of those innings, the first two batters reached. In both of those innings, Walt Weiss elected to bunt - And in both of those innings, the Rockies failed to score a run. These two frames also perfectly illustrated why both of these teams are currently residing in the cellar of their divisions.
In the sixth, Brandon Barnes was unable to advance the runners, but the Cubs wild pitched the runners over to second and third anyway. DJ LeMahieu then returned the favor by striking out when only a ball in play was needed, and Corey Dickerson followed suit to end the inning.
In the tenth, Weiss decided to have the hot hitting Drew Stubbs bunt the runners over to second and third. This time, the bunt was successful, but it put Wilin Rosario and his enormous strikeout rate at the plate in a contact situation. The Cubs then elected to walk Rosario, which ended up working out for them because Brandon Barnes followed that up by grounding into his seventh double play of the season to end the threat.
The other thing Weiss did in the tenth inning was remove Nolan Arenado from the game in favor of Charlie Culberson as a pinch runner. This was a very questionable decision at the time as Nolan already had three hits in the game (including a game tying solo shot in the bottom of the seventh) as well as several good defensive plays. This move ended up working out for Weiss though because Culberson amazingly got a game tying hit in the bottom of the eleventh when his spot came up with two on and two out and the Rockies down by one.
That's where the good things ended. Justin Morneau struck out on three pitches to end the threat, and Javier Beaz, who was making his major league debut in this one, homered off Boone Logan (the ninth Rockies pitcher of the night) to lead off the twelfth. That solo shot would prove to be the difference, and just like that, the Rockies fell a season worst 24 games under .500.
This team is now on pace to lose 98 games, which would tie a franchise worst mark set in 2012, but if the trajectory of the club is any indication of where it's headed, more than 100 losses may be on the horizon. Since starting the season 22-14, the Rockies are now an abysmal 22-54 over their last 76 games (nearly half a season). If you extrapolate that out over 162 games, you get a 47-115 team.
The good news however is that Jordan Lyles, one of the best stories on this team in the early going, will start Wednesday night's game as he makes his return after a two month stay on the DL.
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