Charlie Blackmon was missing from the lineup yet again but the Rockies still managed enough runs to take down the Washington Nationals in the series opener in DC. DJ LeMahieu, hitting in Chuck’s customary lead off spot, hit two home runs off Gio Gonzalez and drove in four runs total on the night and Chad Bettis gave seven strong innings to power the Rockies to a 5-1 victory.
The Rockies offense has been struggling this season. Without MVP-candidate Charlie Blackmon at the top of the order it’s been even rougher sledding. With Charlie still nursing a hamstring injury, DJ LeMahieu took the leadoff spot and did his best Charlie Blackmon impression (sans beard). He hit a leadoff home run in the top of the first (the first such home run of his career), hit an RBI double in the fourth, added another two-run blast in the sixth, and another double in the ninth. If you’re counting, you’ll realize that makes DJ responsible for four of the five Rockies runs. Overall he was 4-for-5 with two doubles, two home runs, and four RBI on the night, perhaps his best offensive game in his career.
Who knows, maybe when Charlie returns Bud Black will move DJ to the top and Charlie to the three-spot.
Not to be outdone, Chad Bettis turned in yet another great start. He went seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts—two of those were against Bryce Harper, and if you know how he’s been hitting this season you know how much of an accomplishment that truly is. Chad was efficient as well, throwing less than 70 pitches through five innings and 94 total. He’s been the most consistent member of the rotation thus far in 2018 and now owns a 2.04 ERA through 172⁄3 innings.
The Rockies play the second of their four-game series against the Nationals on Friday, first pitch 5:05pm MT. Kyle Freeland looks to bounce back from a rough start against Tanner Roark of the Nats.