The Colorado Rockies entered the sixth inning on Tuesday night with a 3-2 lead. With their studly back of the bullpen to close things out, they looked to be on track to win a tight game. They just needed to get through that sixth inning. They didn’t, and the Padres erupted for a bunch of offense late to win their first game of 2018 by a final score of 8-4.
Another Rockies killer emerges
I vaguely knew who Christian Villanueva was before this game. Did I have him pegged as somebody who would club three home runs in a game? I did not, but in the proud tradition of anonymous killers scattered throughout Rockies’s history, Villanueva did just that.
Kyle Freeland can’t get through the sixth inning
Bullpen usage has increased in Major League Baseball in recent seasons in part because teams are more cognizant of the damage inflicted on starting pitchers if hitters face them for a third time in one game. The Rockies tried to coax the sixth inning out of Freeland as he faced the middle of the San Diego order for the third time. He was only able to record one out before handing things over to the bullpen, and that’s when this game got away.
The middle of the bullpen gets battered
We know about the expensive back-end of the bullpen in Colorado, but the team seems to have a number of quality options for the middle innings as well. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case on Tuesday. Scott Oberg inherited a mess from Freeland and made it worse, allowing three runs to cross on his watch. Antonio Senzatela gave up three runs of his own on Villanueva’s third home run of the night in the seventh inning.
The third game of this series comes Wednesday night as Jon Gray looks to bounce back from his rough 2018 debut. Clayton Richard will be on the mound for the Padres.