The Rockies’ three first-inning hits were all they could muster against Jack Flaherty on Friday, and they dropped the first game of their series against the Cardinals 5-0.
Flaherty swings, and generates misses
Jack Flaherty continued his undefeated streak of the season, now at 6-0 following Friday’s victory. He gave up three hits in the first inning and nothing else, finishing his outing by retiring 13 straight Colorado batters. His final line saw him go seven innings with no runs allowed against six strikeouts and one walk, lowering his season ERA to 2.83. Flaherty mixed his pitches well, allowing five groundouts and five flyouts, and did a good job keeping Rockies hitters off balance all evening, never once being in trouble after that first inning. Flaherty also contributed to the offense, blasting a no-doubt home run in the third inning, the first of his career.
Gomber battles, shows positive signs
Austin Gomber’s final line score doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but it doesn’t quite tell the whole story of what was a largely solid start. Gomber’s curveball looked arguably the best it has all season, and helped him generate some subpar swings throughout his outing, especially in the early stages. Four of his first six outs were strikeouts, and he ended with seven in total against zero walks. Of the seven hits Gomber allowed, two were home runs and one was a Nolan Arenado double (he would score on the home run by Harrison Bader). While there is still plenty of room to improve, of course, the strides Gomber is taking are encouraging.
The early bird can’t quite catch the worm
The Rockies only real opportunity came early in the game. With two outs in the top of the first, Ryan McMahon fired a base hit into left field, followed by a Charlie Blackmon knock to right. Garrett Hampson then sent a ground ball into left field that was flagged down by Paul DeJong at short, which would have loaded the bases for Matt Adams. Unfortunately, Blackmon either misread the play or wasn’t quite sure where the ball was, as he was caught off the bag and was thrown out retreating to second, ending the inning and the Rockies’ best hope of scoring.
Young arms doing work
The Rockies didn’t have a lot to celebrate following Friday’s loss, but they can at least appreciate the good work done by two of their young relievers. Justin Sheffield and Lucas Gilbreath took over following Gomber’s departure and held the Cardinals’ offense in check. Sheffield pitched two innings and allowed no runs against a hit, a walk, and a strikeout, while Gilbreath worked one inning with a hit and a strikeout. As these two pitchers attempt to cement a place in the Rockies’ future plans, outings like these may not make headlines but are critical to their continued development.
Two scoreless innings of work for Jordan Sheffield pic.twitter.com/xrpFYVvZNa— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) May 8, 2021
Connor Joe returns
In another uplifting story, Friday’s game saw recent callup Connor Joe get his first taste of major league action since 2019. An inspiring athlete, Joe missed the 2020 season following a diagnosis of testicular cancer, and played well enough in spring training for some to strongly consider him for a spot on the 26-man roster. He grounded out in his pinch-hit appearance.
The Rockies have an early one tomorrow against the Cardinals. They’ll send Chi Chi González (1-0, 4.38 ERA) up against Carlos Martínez (2-4, 3.72 ERA) as they attempt to get back to the win column. First pitch is at 12:15pm MDT.