I never thought the Colorado Rockies would be a borderline playoff team whose hopes might be undone by bad offense. There are probably very few people who thought that. And yet here we are, as the Rockies lost their fourth straight game and were shut out for the second game in a row in a 3-0 loss to the San Diego Padres.
The return of good Tyler Anderson continues to be a welcome development for the Rockies. The lefty once again reminded us of his fine 2016 form, keeping hitters off balance and forcing lots of soft contact. Unfortunately a hapless Rockies offense left his margin for error razor thin, and just a couple mistakes cost him.
Christian Villanueva made Anderson pay for a pitch up in the zone with a home run in the 5th inning of this game. Then, in the 6th inning, Manuel Margot reached and worked his way around to third base via a sacrifice bunt and stolen base. He scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Hunter Renfroe. Villanueva then struck again with an RBI single.
That’s not to say the Rockies didn’t have their chances. Unfortunately a number of chances with men on base disappeared via the double play early in this one. Then, in the 8th inning, the team blew its best chance by far.
DJ LeMahieu batted with runners on first and second and one out. He grinded through a 12-pitch at-bat against reliever Kirby Yates, and as it happened it felt like a defining moment in the game. Unfortunately Yates won the battle, striking out LeMahieu on a low changeup. Nolan Arenado then had a chance to deliver the big hit and add to his MVP resume. He also could not come through, grounding into a force out to end the threat.
The Colorado Rockies did not score in nine innings of baseball against the San Diego Padres on Thursday night. That lame effort followed a game in which they scored zero runs in nine innings of baseball against the San Francisco Giants. It’s amazing to think about it, but the following statement is true: the Rockies are in a playoff race and they have very good pitching, and they still might not make it.
It’s hard to stomach a result like this. For the Rockies to get the start they did from Anderson should have been more than enough. They just needed a mediocre offensive output, a below average one even, to take a lead and make it stand up. To go quietly because your offense was a disaster is especially unpleasant, especially for this franchise. Unfortunately that has happened a lot this season.
Here’s the good news. The Milwaukee Brewers, who entered the night one game back of the Rockies for the second wild card spot, gagged up another late lead. They gave up a tying run in the 9th inning and then lost to the Chicago Cubs by a final score of 5-3. Sad less be darned, the Rockies remain one game up and in control of a playoff spot.
The series against the Padres continues on Friday night as Jon Gray takes the mound opposite former Rockies great Jordan Lyles. With fewer than 10 games left and a match-up with Lyles, we can officially hit the panic button if the bats don’t get on track in that one.