Monday night’s game truly was a tale of two halves. For the first half, the Sim Rockies were cruising — teeing off of Clayton Kershaw for four runs in 4 2⁄3 innings. However, it was the Sim Dodgers bullpen who ended up winning the game.
Offense explodes early
The Sim Rockies offense looked much better on Monday than it has in a while, scoring early and often against long-time foe Clayton Kershaw. The Sim Rockies limited Kershaw to just 4 2⁄3 innings that included a nearly 500-foot moonshot off the bat of noted lefty-killer Ryan McMahon in the second inning to tie the game at one. Nolan Arenado also hit a home run in the fourth inning.
Beyond the big flies, there was a lot of good team baseball early. In the third, Chris Owings recorded a sac fly to score the speedy Garrett Hampson after he was knocked over on a sacrifice bunt by Chi Chi González. In the fifth, Owings hit an RBI double to score Hampson again after another sac bunt by the pitcher and Arenado had an RBI single after the pitching change to score Charlie Blackmon, who drew a walk. In the sixth, Ian Desmond led off with a single and Elias Díaz struck out, but Hampson walked and, after a fielder’s choice by Murphy, was knocked in by David “Doubles” Dahl (who hit his league-leading 26th double).
In the later innings, though, the Sim Dodgers’ bullpen got to them and they didn’t score again. In fact, only two runners reached base in the seventh and one was walked.
Spectacular bullpen implosion
Chi Chi González had another solid start, going 5 1⁄3 innings and only giving up one run. He left the game in the sixth with a (more or less) comfortable 5-1 lead in favor of James Pazos. Pazos walked Cody Bellinger — who didn’t record an at-bat in five tries due to walks — but then got Max Muncy do ground into an inning-ending double play.
Enter Wade Davis.
Davis came in and immediately gave up a 475-foot big fly to Kiké Hernández (his first of the year). He then gave up a single to catcher Austin Barnes, but then got Zach McKinstry to fly out to left. Justin Turner hit a single in his pinch hit appearance and Gavin Lux walked.
Exit Wade Davis.
6-2 Sim Dodgers.
Enter Tim Collins.
Collins came in with the bases loaded, all of which would be charged to Davis should they come around.
Spoiler alert: they did. Corey Seager and Mookie Betts made sure to knock in all three with back-to-back singles.
6-5 Sim Dodgers.
Cody Bellinger was then intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a force at every base.
Exit Tim Collins.
Enter Carlos Estévez.
Luckily Estévez was able to stop the bleeding in the seventh, but the damage was done and the eighth inning got a lot more interesting.
In said eighth inning, three straight singles to lead things off meant the end for the Wild Thing with the bases loaded and nobody out. Up next: Jake McGee.
Back-to-back outs started his outing and it seemed as though the Sim Rockies might eek this one out. However, a 2 RBI single by Mookie Betts gave the Sim Dodgers a 7-6 lead that they would not relinquish. Oh, and Cody Bellinger walked for the fifth time and Max Muncy struck out to end the inning.
Tyler “Must See” Kinley continues to be the bright spot in the bullpen, though, as he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
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The Sim Rockies take on the Sim Dodgers again for the second of four games. Jon Gray will start against Julio Urías. There will be no broadcast, but we will have the recap tomorrow for you right here on Purple Row! Thanks as always for following along :-)