Aside from the immense awkwardness of last night's Rockies game being just the third since Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, there was really only one thing usual about it - All the runs they scored on the road.
Particularly surprising was Chris Rusin's homer in the fourth inning that tied the game at four. Even with that home run, Rockies pitchers rank last in the National League offensively with just a .249 OPS on the season, and while you don't expect much help from your pitchers, that's an extremely low number, especially for a team that plays half it's games at Coors.
The Rockies ended up scoring eight runs in this game, but because it's them, it wasn't enough as their flaws once again came through. In a week where everything we want to be the same feels different, the Rockies played a game that illustrated that everything we want to be different is still the same.
Here's a few good, but mostly bad ways we were reminded of who the Rockies are in this game.
1) The starter got knocked around
Chris Rusin did not pitch well at all. He went just five innings while allowing six earned runs and posting a hideous -.541 WPA. (It does go down to a -.301 WPA if you include his offensive contributions however)
2) The Rockies couldn't capitalize on an opportunity to win a game where the offense did enough to win
In this game, the Rockies had 16 hits and were given additional help from three Cardinal errors. They did manage to put up eight runs with that, but somehow still lost the game.
3) Nolan Arenado showed us he's still awesome
(I just can't love him the same way I loved Tulo now after getting burned like that)
4) DJ LeMahieu was DJ LeMahieu
The second baseman continued his career year at the plate by collecting three more hits and getting on base a fourth time after being hit by a pitch that left him none too pleased. However, he was also out on the base paths in a big spot in the ninth on a Nick Hundley bunt attempt that was popped up.
5) Walt Weiss continues to make questionable decisions
Normally I would be so up in arms about all the outs Weiss gave away in a game like this, but after this week, I just don't have any anger or sadness left in me to devote to this topic. At this point, it should be obvious that Weiss should not be the manager of the next winning Rockies team.
6) John Axford continues to turn back into a pumpkin
This stat if from our own Hendrik Kits van Heyningen in the comments last night:
Axford's incredible (possibly historic?) Jekyll & Hyde season so far
First 20 games (Apr 8 to Jun 14): 0.47 ERA, 12 Svs, 0 BSvs
Last 14 games (Jun 17 to July 30): 11.12 ERA, 4 Svs, 5 BSvs
What an incredibly anomalous way to have a 4.45 ERA in a season.
I know that Axford has had bouts of this craziness in the past, but this is taking it to a whole new level!
(Also in particular: in his last 5 appearances he has 4 of his 5 BSvs and a 19.64 ERA!)
A month ago, it looked like Axford might be a guy the Rockies could cash a fringe prospect for. Now his purple career will end whenever the Rockies decide to pull the plug.
It's hard to say how much the Rockies blundered here by not moving Axford a few weeks ago. On one hand, if he had ANY value at all in the eyes of other teams, he should have been shipped out, but at the same time, we don't know what if any offers were on the table at the time, so we'll never be able to draw a proper conclusion here.
All we do know right now is that Axford shouldn't be closing games for the Rockies anymore.
Through it all though, Axford remains a class act:
This is the ABSOLUTE WORST stretch of my career. I'm sorry Rockies fans. You deserve better. I'm going to keep working hard & turn it around— John Axford (@JohnAxford) July 31, 2015
Yep, these are the same old Rockies. Only now you can't walk away from the broadcast after a game like that and justifying spending three hours watching it by saying, "Well, at least I got to watch a potential Hall of Fame shortstop play another game for a team he might stay with for his entire career".
For me, that makes this much, much harder to watch. For those of you who were not as attached to Tulo as I was, I don't know how you've managed to do it all this time.