The Colorado Rockies lost to the Miami Marlins by a score of 4-1 in a game that was honestly pretty painful to sit through. The Marlins have had the Rockies' number in 2015, winning five of their six meetings. There was a turning point right at about the fifth inning where the game started to become less of a baseball game for me and more of a cruel rendition of everything the Rockies have struggled with this year. Seriously, all the negative issues with the team that've been brought up time and time again were on full display.
Strikeouts. The Rockies came up with just five hits, striking out 15 times and walking just twice. Heading into today's game, the team had the 11th highest K% at 20.9% and the second worst BB% at 5.7%. Those two lovely figures combine to give the Rockies the league's worst 0.27 BB/K ratio. Compare that, say, to the league-leading Indians, who boast a 0.56 BB/K rate.
DJ LeMahieu, leading off today, started the strikeout parade in the very first at-bat of the game when he fouled off the fourth pitch he saw into the glove of Jeff Mathis. Corey Dickerson whiffed in the next at-bat before Troy Tulowtizki flew out to Giancarlo Stanton, who made a great sliding catch in foul territory. It was right about now that I started thinking, "It's going to be one of those nights." I think Bryan summed it up perfectly in today's instant recap; "Colorado's offense has scored a grand total of two runs in 27 innings in Miami."
The Marlins struck early in the bottom of the first, tacking on two runs thanks to who other than Giancarlo Stanton. Dee Gordon hit a sharp ball that landed just in front of Corey Dickerson to get himself aboard early. He then swiped second for his 22nd of the year after what was an entirely predictable string of events. I knew he was going to take second. David Hale knew he was going to take second. Dee Gordon knew he was going to take second. A couple pickoff attempts here, a pitchout there, then Dee Gordon sliding into second base as DJ did well to nab a ball that could've rolled into the outfield. Martin Prado walked in the next at-bat before Christian Yelich grounded out to Tulo, who made a great grab and got Prado out at second. LeMahieu wisely held on to the ball, looking to see if he could nab Gordon rounding third instead of trying to force anything at first.
Giancarlo Stanton stepped in next with men on the corners. At this point, I'd probably be pretty comfortable intentionally walking him in most circumstances, but we'll get to that later. Stanton hit the second pitch he saw to deep center, driving in both Gordon and Yelich as he took second. He didn't really even hit it that well, as the Miami broadcast showed after, but that just speaks volumes to the sheer power the guy has. Impressive.
Carlos Gonazlez struck out to start the second before Nolan Arenado collected one of the only hits the Rockies would manage all night. Ben Paulsen lined out for the second out of the inning before Michael McKenry managed the impossible by drawing a walk.
As you can all probably tell, I'm sort of fed up with this whole inability to draw walks combined with the whole issue of striking out. Hale had a solid second inning, inducing three ground ball outs in a nice bounce back display. Mat Latos, who had a great game, struck out Hale and Dickerson in the third two bring his K total up to five for the day. Hale, not to be outdone, struck out two in the bottom of the inning.
Tulo struck out to start the fourth and Latos retired both CarGo and Arenado as the Rockies continued to struggle for offense. If you haven't noticed, there was a common theme in the game in which the Rockies struck out in every single inning except the sixth. Incidentally, that's also the only inning in which the Rockies managed a hit. Not much else happened in the bottom of the fourth or in the entirety of the fifth; Hale and Latos each picked up three Ks. McKenry, bless his soul, managed a second walk in the fifth which was sandwiched between three strikeouts.
The Rockies bats showed some life in the sixth. DJ LeMahieu led off with a double before advancing to second when Dickerson grounded out. He then stole third with Tulo at the plate to give the Rockies a great chance at cutting the deficit. Tulo didn't disappoint, lacing a single to center field that plated DJ to make the score 2-1.
Dickerson was replaced by Charlie Blackmon in the bottom of the sixth after appearing to hurt his foot while trying to beat out a ground ball in the previous inning. Hopefully it's nothing serious, but I haven't seen anything on the social media front to know either way. Bad news for the Rockies if it is anything. Also bad news for my fantasy team, the Wacha Flocka Flames.
The Marlins didn't wait long in reestablishing their lead. Yelich singled to start the bottom of the sixth and Stanton stepped in to break our hearts. He took a 2-2 pitch deep to give the Marlins a 4-1 lead.
Question.... why do people still throw strikes over the plate to Giancarlo Stanton?— Alec (@AlecHouston6) June 13, 2015
Funny, I was wondering the same thing! Here's something pretty unreal:
What a player. I can't even be upset about this really. Here's a video of his league-leading 23rd homer. Pitches down the middle of the plate tend to end up not turning out too well. I actually felt pretty bad for Hale at this point.
I prefer this one:
Hale got the next three batters he faced out to end the inning. Paulsen struck out to start the seventh — one of three for him on the day — before Michael McKenry tripled. Overall, McKenry was 1-for-2 on the day with two walks, that triple, and no strikeouts. Barnes grounded out and Rafael Ynoa struck out while pinch-hitting for Hale, however, and McKenry was left stranded on third. Speaking of Ynoa, I'm getting pretty tired of seeing Weiss bring him in, especially in a situation like this where the Rox could put themselves right back in the game with a run. Maybe bring in say, Nick Hundley?
Regardless, Brooks Brown and LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning each and the Rockies struck out four times in their last six at-bats to end the game. Here's a fun fact (fun, if you're a masochist I suppose): the Rockies have struck out in the double digits in 21 of their 61 games this year. Their worst streak came last month, when the Rockies had seven straight games in which they struck out at least 10 times. The best of that came in a shockingly brutal performance against Clayton Kershaw (of course) when they whiffed a whopping 18 times.
The Rockies may struggle to put up runs against the Marlins, but Giancarlo Stanton for one doesn't struggle to put up numbers against the Rockies. Let me start with his numbers in general for 2015 and with the caveat that not all of these numbers include today's game. If you're a lefty, you don't want to face Stanton. He's mashing against lefties to the tune of .295/.373/.864 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs. For that matter, you don't want to face him if you are a righty either. He's hitting RHPs for a line of .245/.330/.532 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs. Sure, he strikes out a decent amount as you can see by the slash line, but he'll make you pay if you make a mistake.
Highest OPS vs @Rockies UPDATED Matt Holliday 1.207 Giancarlo Stanton 1.200 Miguel Cabrera 1.190 Ken Griffey Jr 1.165 Barry Bonds 1.163— Purple Dino Podcast (@purpledinocast) June 13, 2015
The craziest thing? He's done more damage to a decent number of teams than he has to the Rockies. He terrorized the Blue Jays in their lone series, hitting .545/.583/1.545 with two doubles and three home runs in 11 at-bats. Stanton raked to the tune of .300/.417/.700 in a series against the Pirates and was .300/.417/.900 in the Marlins' series against the Cubs. In nine games of inter-league play in general, Stanton has a line of .265/.375/.618. Against the Rockies, the slugger is hitting .318/.348/.682. I guess we can take solace knowing we're not his only victims.
May the gods help you if you fall behind in the count against Giancarlo Stanton. When he's ahead of pitchers, Stanton is hitting .315/.515/.863 and has 12 home runs. When the pitcher is ahead, however, Stanton's hitting .191/189/.393. Unfortunately for the Colorado Rockies, they're behind in the count more often than not.
These splits were taken from Baseball Reference. Taken together with Giancarlo's propensity to murder pitchers when they fall behind in the count, the fact that Rockies' pitchers are working from behind so often doesn't bode well for them, something we saw tonight as Giancarlo was responsible for all four runs Miami scored. The moral of the story? Let's not pitch to Stanton, please Rockies? It might result in a walk most of the time, but I'd rather that than see him crush balls. Plus, we'd probably be doing Nolan Arenado a favor. While I'm sure not much fazes him, I think he'd probably just as soon avoid a 120 MPH rocket.