Stephen Strasburg shut down the Rockies again, and the bullpen blew the lead again in tonight's 4-1 loss to the Nationals. The game was a combination of stressful and boring, culminating in a blown lead and dispiriting loss. But that's Rockies baseball in 2015.
Strasburg worked seven innings and gave up one run on just two singles. The only run scored on a wild pitch. He was totally dominant, and got stronger as the game went on.
Nevertheless, for a while it seemed like that one run might hold up. Jorge De La Rosa was his usual ponderous self, taking his time and throwing plenty of junk-balls to Nationals hitters. While the walks were maddening (he issued six of them), he managed to wiggle out of trouble every time, usually with his best sequences of the night. For example, he K'd Bryce Harper with a runner on third base in the fifth inning, preserving the shutout. A steady diet of diving changeups induced the needed three swings and misses.
In the sixth he walked Yunel Escobar to lead off the inning, and Ian Desmond then scorched a double that would have been on the concourse if he had elevated it. Runners on second and third. DLR buckled down and struck out Ryan Zimmerman with a high fastball, got lucky on a Wilson Ramos line-drive out to short stop, and then struck out Strasburg with a cutter. No harm done. Inefficient yes, but ultimately successful.
But when the Rockies bullpen got involved, things predictably spiraled out of control. In the seventh, Gonzalez German obligingly walked two men to put the tying run on third, who promptly scored on a wild pitch. In the eighth, Rafael Betancourt walked men on and allowed a two run double to Jayson Werth. And in the ninth John Axford let a man score, just for good measure. The one run lead was but a distant memory.
The offense deserves plenty of blame tonight, mustering a grand total of two singles (one of whom was picked off). Their lone run came on a two base error and subsequent wild pitch. The bullpen was bad, and it's easy to blame them, but tonight's failure was team-wide. Rockies pitching walked nine guys. Not much to be positive about tonight.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-08-19&team=Rockies&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-08-19&team=Rockies&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>