The loss was the Rockies’ seventh in a row at home and dropped them to 32-33, the first time they have been below .500 since they were 6-7 on April 11. Despite that, and the fact that they are 2-8 in their last 10 games, the Rockies say there is still plenty to play for in 2018.
“I think the goal is just play .500 ball for as long as possible,” Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta said. “I think if you see the teams that have made it to the playoffs perennially they play .500 baseball and then they go on a couple little winning streaks and then all of a sudden they’re 20 games (over .500).”
One example of that is the 2017 Rockies, who used a 10-4 stretch in may and a 14-4 stretch in June to springboard themselves into the postseason despite going 40-41 in the second half of the season.
“You can’t play .600, .650 baseball, or .750 baseball, whatever it may be, the whole year so the key is just play .500, don’t go on protracted losing streaks, don’t get too far behind and just take your winning streaks when you can and chip away and you look up at the end of the season and you’re in a good spot,” Iannetta said.
As frustrating as it may seem in the moment, going 2-8 in a 10-game stretch and being 3 1⁄2 games out of first place is not, as Iannetta described it, a protracted losing streak or getting too far behind. The job of the Rockies in the coming weeks is to ensure that it does not become that.
Freeland is Fine
One thing that has not been any sort of issue for the Rockies of late has been the pitching of Kyle Freeland, who once again kept them in the game, pitching six innings, allowing four runs on four hits with four walks and eight strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches, 67 for strikes.
“They’re really good at picking and choosing what they’re going to swing at, foul things off and get their pitches,” Freeland said of the Diamondbacks hitters.
The relatively rough outing rose Freeland’s ERA to 3.68 on the season and 2.93 in his last nine starts.
Welcome to the Show
For the first time in franchise history, the Rockies had two pitchers make their big league debuts in the same game with lefties Jerry Vasto and Sam Howard coming out of the bullpen in the loss.
“There’s no doubt that a major league debut is special,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “These guys will remember this forever.”
Though the day may be memorable, Vasto had an outing he would probably like to forget, allowing three runs on three hits in 2⁄3 of an inning, including a two-run triple by Paul Goldschmidt. Howard’s outing went better, as he allowed just a two-out double to Chris Owings in an inning of work.
After a day off on Monday, the Rockies will look to right the ship starting on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia when they take on the Phillies. Jon Gray will be on the mound for the Rockies against the Phillies’ Aaron Nola in a matchup of top-10 draft picks. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. Mountain time.