Baseball is the only team sport in which a game does not have to be completed in order for it to count. This can lead to strange and frustrating outcomes. Tonight's game might be the most frustrating instance I can remember.
Rockies starting pitcher Eddie Butler got the game off on the wrong foot by walking Joc Pederson, the first man he faced. Pederson then stole second, which he would have been awarded anyway when Butler walked the second batter, Justin Turner. Both of these walks would later come around to score; a recurring theme of the young season that hurt the Rockies once again tonight. Pederson scored on a ground rule double by Adrian Gonzalez, and Turner came home on a sacrifice fly by Yasmani Grandal. Two runs on one hit. It turned out to be all the Dodgers would need. For a moment it seemed like a third run would come across in the inning, as Butler threw a wild pitch with Adrian Gonzalez on third base following a single by Alex Guerrero. However, Nick Hundley reacted quickly and made a perfect throw to Butler, who tagged Gonzalez out in what would be the first of three pivotal plays at the plate.
The Rockies appeared to have a rally going in the bottom of the first, as Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson hit back-to-back singles with one out, but Justin Morneau grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Both Butler and former Rockie (and reigning king of MLB twitter accounts) Brett Anderson settled down for a while after the first, each working through the second and third with little traffic. After Butler worked a perfect fourth inning, Anderson allowed a lead-off double to Tulowitzki, who was driven home two batters later by a Nolan Arenado single to left. Tulo initially had to hold up as the ball was hit in front of him, and it seemed he would only advance to third base on the play until Dodger left fielder Alex Guerrero bobbled the ball while trying to transfer it from his glove to his throwing hand. The error could easily be chalked up to the wet playing conditions, but Guerrero also made a subpar throw up the line to home and Tulowitzki was safe at the plate, cutting the lead to one.
With the rain coming down harder, the climax of the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning. The umpires kept the players on the field despite the biblical amounts of rain in hopes of finishing the inning so that the game could be official.
With two outs, Anderson surrendered a walk to Charlie Blackmon, who proceeded to steal second. Then Corey Dickerson hit a slow ground ball to second base and beat the throw to first. With two outs, Blackmon was running on contact and decided to try to make it all the way home from second. Adrian Gonzalez reacted quickly and made a good throw home, but Blackmon was able to slide safely under the tag of Yasmani Grandal to tie the game.
That's what happened. Every angle showed it. Despite this, home plate umpire Tim Timmons, perhaps eager to get out of the rain, emphatically called Blackmon out. But alas, we live in the age of enlightenment and technology, and Walt Weiss was able to challenge the call. When looking at the replays I became more and more convinced that my initial judgement (that Blackmon was safe) was correct. Even the Dodger broadcasters thought so. Yet, after nearly five minutes of looking at the play, MLB's replay officials in New York decided not to overturn the call. I personally feel that the whole "inconclusive evidence to overturn" policy is ridiculous. You should look at the play from as many angles as possible and make the right call, regardless of what the umpire initially ruled. There is no way that anyone could look at that replay ten times and call Blackmon out. Instead of a tie game with a runner on base, we now had an official five inning game in the books with the Rockies still down 2-1.
In the top of the sixth, rain still pouring, the Dodgers threatened seriously for the first time since the first inning, loading the bases against Butler with one out. That's when the umpires pulled the players off the field, despite conditions not being any worse than the previous inning. That was that.
In what has been a string of bad losses for the Rockies, this one hurts the most, because they didn't actually lose. In a fair world, this is a tie game that is resumed later with the bases loaded for the Dodgers in the top of the sixth. In case being a Rockies fan hadn't taught you this already: this is not a fair world.
The evening had two bright spots. Rattlesnake-bite survivor Jameson Axford threw out the first pitch:
And Eddie Butler technically pitched a complete game.
The Rockies will try once again to snap the skid tomorrow as Jorge De La Rosa takes on Clayton Kershaw. That is, if they get a chance to play at all.