Anyone who tells you the Rockies offense hasn’t been a problem doesn’t know a problem when they see it. Forget the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks, the Brewers and the Cardinals for a second, if you can. Perhaps it is the playoff pressure for a young team, but the offensive struggles have been a recurring theme all year, even when the team was winning yet manager Bud Black was noting the offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders. The Colorado Rockies have had a difficult time just scoring runs off of former members of their pitching staff. Over the last week and change, the Rockies and Padres have played six times. If you throw out the 16-0 rampage at Coors Field, the Rockies have scored ten runs over the other five games. The Rockies have allowed fourteen runs over those same five games. That would’ve been a great pitching performance in years past. Sadly, in terms of wins and losses, it again wasn’t enough.
Chad Bettis navigated his way through trouble in his four and two thirds of an inning of work. While he allowed, seven hits and walked two during that timeframe, he limited the damage to just one run in the fifth inning. That happened in the fifth inning when Bettis ran into traffic. He was able to erase Manuel Margot from the bases after Margot had reached on a single then advanced to second on a groundout from Carlos Asuaje. Bettis was able to pick Margot off, getting the out at third. However, he had walked Wil Myers in the process, who advanced to second on Bettis’s wild pitch then came around to score on Yangervis Solarte’s single to center. Carlos Estevez entered the game to strike out Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe, ending the fifth with a score of 1-0 in the Padres favor.
The Padres tacked on a second run in the sixth as Kyle Freeland came on in relief. He allowed a single to Cory Spangenberg and a double to Austin Hedges but was able to strike out Travis Jankowski. Antonio Senzatela came on in relief with runners on second and third with one out. He got a groundball from Christian Villanueva but Senzatela was unable to make a play, allowing Spangenberg to score and widen the Padres lead to two runs to zero. Senzatela was able to strike out Margot and induce a pop out to Nolan Arenado to end the inning.
Chacin, who sports one of the best home ERAs in baseball, worked his magic against the Rockies. He took a no-hitter until there were two outs in the top of the fifth, finally yielding a single to DJ LeMahieu. Chacin promptly allowed back-to-back walks to Carlos Gonzalez and Arenado, but got Gerardo Parra to fly out to end the bases loaded situation. Chacin’s final line score was six innings of scoreless work with the help of six strikeouts to mitigate the one hit and three walks allowed.
Padres reliever Craig Stammen had some trouble in the seventh inning when, with one out, he gave up back to back singles to Ian Desmond and Jonathan Lucroy. He struck out Raimel Tapia, then lefty Buddy Baumann was brought in to the game. He handed Charlie Blackmon a strikeout to stop that threat.
The train went off the rails in the Padres’ bottom of the eighth inning. The normally reliable Chris Rusin allowed a double to Spangenberg and a single to Hedges. What was needed was a few strikeouts but what the Rockies lefty got was more of a mess. He hit Jankowski to load the bases for pinch hitter Erick Aybar. Aybar grounded to first base which Desmond fielded, then stepped on first for the out as Spangenberg came around to score. Then Desmond threw in the general direction of home plate but not where any Rockies fielders were, allowing Hedges as well to score, bumping the Padres up to a 4-0 lead. Adam Ottavino came in to the game and got Margot to hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field which scored Jankowski. Ottavino found that elusive strikeout finally, punching out Asuaje and ending the inning with the Rockies losing 5-0.
The Rockies went down swinging in the top of the ninth. Padres reliever Brad Hand got Parra to strike out, but gave up singles to Trevor Story and Desmond. He then struck out Lucroy and got Reynolds to force out Desmond at second base. Every Rockies position player except Parra reached base for the Rockies in this game but like the last minute rally, too little too late.
The fourth game of the series, which would be the Rockies last road game of the year, is scheduled to start at 2:40 PM MST on Sunday. German Marquez gets the nod against Padres right hander Luis Perdomo. If the Rockies win tomorrow, it’d be their 41st road win, giving them a positive road record for just the second time in franchise history. The 2009 Rockies also went 41-40 on the road. The Rockies remain one game ahead of the Brewers and a game and a half in front of the Cardinals with just seven games left to find some solution for their offense.