The Purple Row simulation season has come to an end and the Rockies finished with a bang by beating the Braves on a sim rainy afternoon at Coors Field on Sunday. Sam Hilliard drove in four runs to lead the charge and give sim and real fans alike winning feelings of joy. The 7-5 win capped off a three-game sweep of the Braves (52-47) in a series that earned sim fans tacos in all three wins and included Colorado’s first walk-off win of the sim season. The Rockies finished Purple Row’s broadcast portion of the sim season with a 44-54 record, which placed them last in the NL West.
More doubles and homers
Ryan McMahon was the first Rockies’ baserunner of the contest after reaching on a walk in the second. Hilliard then made Atlanta’s Félix Hernández pay for the mistake with his 11th homer of the year. Of course, the long-time Mariner struck first with an RBI double of his own to put the Braves on top 1-0 in the top of the frame, but Hilliard’s hit scored two. After the Braves tied it at 2-all in the third with a Freddie Freeman solo shot, Charlie Blackmon regained the lead for the Rockies with an RBI double to score Trevor Story in the bottom of the third.
The Braves tied the game again in the top of the fourth at 3-all before the Rockies really turned on the double power. After Daniel Murphy singled, McMahon doubled to set the table for Hilliard, who hit his 10th double of the year to bring Murphy and McMahon home. With the Rockies ahead 5-3, David Dahl added one more by doubling again, which happened to account for his National League-leading 41st RBI, and the Rockies took a 6-3 lead. Nolan Arenado brought a fitting close to his sim season, hitting a solo home run off of Mark Melancon, who you might remember gave up Arenado’s epic Father’s Day walk-off cycle homer in 2017 when we was with the Giants, to put the Rockies up 7-3 in the eighth inning.
Five-pitcher winning effort
Kyle Freeland left the game in the sixth inning after giving up three runs when the game was tied 3-all. Ashton Goudeau then pitched two scoreless innings, giving up only one walk and earning the win, which was his first of his sim MLB debut season. Tyler Kinley pitched his usual drama-free frame in the eight before Carlos Estévez entered in the ninth in a non-save situation. First he struck out Marcell Ozuna and then generated an easily-caught fly ball from Travis d’Arnaud. Things seemed good, but then Estévez walked Dansby Swanson. Charlie Culberson made that hurt by smacking a two-run homer to cut the Rockies’ lead to 7-5. Enter Scott Oberg, who did his Oberg thing, striking out Adalberto Mondesi to earn his 18th save of the sim season.
The final Purple Row simulation game was marked by a special broadcast loaded with highlights — from Daniel Murphy’s grand slam on June 26 that helped the Rockies beat the Twins to Evan Grills victorious MLB debut to the Rockies’ miraculous comeback after being down seven runs to beat the Tigers 11-10 in extra innings on May 5 and many more. It was the end of new chapter for Purple Row and all baseball fans during the historically odd 2020 year. Caps off to Ben Kouchnerkavich for providing the games and entertaining us with engaging play-by-play and informative updates throughout the season as MLB tried to figure out how 2020 could work. Purple Row completed the entire simulation season following the Rockies original schedule and the Rockies finished 77-85 (just slightly shy of Dick Monfort’s 94-win prediction from back in February). Remember when that was one of the craziest thing happening in the world?
No more simulations. The real Rockies are going to be playing real baseball next. They are set to play an exhibition game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m. MT. The Summer Camp game will be broadcast on the MLB Network. After that, the real 60-game 2020 season begins on Friday, July 24 as the Rockies will play the Rangers in the first MLB game at Globe Life Field at 6:05 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.