At least we'll always have May 14th. The Rockies were once again competitive tonight, and they even put themselves in a position to tie the game or take the lead in the ninth, but it was not to be and they fell to the Dodgers 6-4 at Chavez Ravine.
The game took so long (3 hours and 34 minutes) that it's almost easy to forget what will end up being the biggest news of the night: Troy Tulowitzki is hurt again. In the top of the third, he hit a ground ball back to Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw and ran hard out of the box before slowing down about two-thirds of the way to first base.
At the time it didn't seem particularly odd, as it was obvious that Tulo was going to be out by a mile and no one would have blamed him for not running at full speed all the way to first. However, when the Rockies took the field in the bottom half of the inning it was Daniel Descalso and not Tulowitzki playing shortstop. Panic mode ensued. For a while, some of the Twitter crowd were even wondering with a degree of sincerity if he had been traded.
After a half hour or so of waiting, it was revealed that Troy had been pulled from the game with left quad tightness. and that he is officially listed at day-to-day. The fact that Tulo didn't immediately land on the DL will be of little comfort to Rockies fans, who have already seen seemingly minor injuries turn into bigger problems for him before. Whether you think the Rockies should trade Tulowitzki or keep him, this news isn't good. The sky is also blue.
Believe it or not, the sky over Dodger Stadium was, in fact, blue way back when this game started. In the bottom of the top of the first inning of a distant memory, the Rockies forced Clayton Kershaw to throw 21 pitches but were unable to score despite singles by Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado.
Eddie Butler would make Kershaw's first inning look downright efficient when he faced the Dodgers in the bottom half of the frame. He labored for nearly twice as many pitches as Kershaw, despite only allowing one run on a Jimmy Rollins solo homer. After the home run, Butler gave up two hits and two walks (and picked off Howie Kendrick at second base) to load the bases before finally getting Andre Ethier to line out to Tulowitzki to end the inning.
Butler only lasted 2 2/3 innings tonight, walking four in the process and giving up four runs (three earned).
The narrative about the Rockies' control issues is only going to get louder until this team can find a way to stop giving batters free bases.
Another narrative that was reinforced tonight was the Rockies' ability to strike out while batting at an astonishing rate. They struck out 18 times tonight, including four times in one inning, thanks to a dropped third strike (one of my favorite baseball rules):
Combine this number with 14 in each of their last two games and the Rockies have been fanned a total of 46 times since Wednesday, compared to 19 for their opponents.
Yohan Flande came on in relief of Butler for his first appearance of the season and did a decent job under the circumstances, getting out of a jam in the third and surrendering a single run in each of the next two innings (and he only walked one guy!). It was slightly disappointing considering the dominating numbers he was putting up in Double-A, but not when you compare it to his performance with the big club last year.
Down 6-0 and without their star shortstop in the seventh, all seemed lost for the men in purple, but they responded with a rally that brought in a run and put runners on first and second, chasing Kershaw from the game after 6 2/3 innings and 110 pitches.
Paco Rodriguez came in for the Dodgers to face Charlie Blackmon, who singled to load the bases, bringing up Tulo's replacement, Daniel Descalso, who hammered a 2-2 pitch to right field that came within five feet of being a grand slam. It was still good for a three-run double that brought the Rockies within two.
Yimi Garcia relieved Rodriguez and walked Nolan Arenado to give Wilin Rosario a chance to do some damage with two men on. Rosario struck out for the third (but not the final) time on the night, ending the rally.
It was not the best night for the Bull, whose throwing error in the third played a major part in the Dodgers biggest inning of the game. He would get a chance to redeem himself in the top of the ninth against former teammate and Dominican buddy Juan Nicasio, again with two men on and two outs after Blackmon and Descalso singled.
What was left of the announced crowd of 46,662 rose to their feet, and Rosario gave Nicasio a battle. After six pitches, including a hanging slider that should have been hit about 450 feet, Wilin earned his golden sombrero and the game was over.
There was no storybook ending tonight for the Rockies, who once again found themselves on the wrong side of Clayton Kershaw history. He wasn't nearly as dominant tonight as he was during his no-hitter last year, but he was good enough to earn his 100th career victory.
The Rockies will try to avoid starting a new losing streak tomorrow night at 7:10 Mountain Time as Jorge De La Rosa takes on Zack Greinke.