Opening their final home series of the year, the Colorado Rockies dropped the opener against the Washington Nationals, losing 5-4. This loss leveled the season series against the Nationals, bringing them even after the Rockies took two of three from them on the road earlier in September.
Rodgers makes early exit
The game started off on a somber note as Brendan Rodgers was hit in the helmet with a 1-2 fastball from Josiah Gray in the first inning. Rodgers was able to leave the field under his own power and later passed concussion protocols, but the moment was nonetheless terrifying and had all Rockies fans holding their breath.
Rodgers had been a recent bright spot for the Rockies, hitting .297 with four home runs over his last 15 games. He was replaced for the rest of the game by Garrett Hampson.
With a week remaining in the season and the Rockies eliminated from playoff contention, the Rockies will clearly want to be cautious with their promising young infielder, so it will remain to be seen whether he misses any time.
Marquez hurt by big fourth
After getting through the first three innings with only allowing a single to hitting wonder Juan Soto, Germán Márquez was forced to grind in the fourth and ultimately broke.
Alcides Escobar led off the inning with a dribbler single to third base, then Josh Bell was hit by a pitch after a Soto strikeout to put a man in scoring position for the Nationals — their first of the night. Yadiel Hernandez followed with a single to center to load the bases, then Kiebert Ruiz worked a walk to force home the Nationals first run of the night.
Luis Garcia followed with a two-run single, and the damage was done — the Nationals would not relinquish the lead.
Márquez avoided hard contact in the inning, giving up just one well-hit ball, but was ultimately outdone by constant traffic and the inability to throw the big pitch when it mattered. A bright spot of the fourth was this dart by Charlie Blackmon, throwing out Ruiz at third on Garcia’s two-run single. It was Charlie’s 14th outfield assist on the year, adding to his career high, and extending his NL lead (!) in the category.
Charlie Blackmon's 14th outfield assist of the season pic.twitter.com/66qVzz0Bgt— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) September 28, 2021
Plenty of traffic, but no finish
While tonight was not the typical home Rockies offensive outburst we’ve become accustomed to seeing, it’s not to say the offense was completely MIA. The Rockies put up eight hits and worked six walks, ultimately chasing starter Josiah Gray in the sixth inning.
The lack of production stemmed from the Rockies inability to get the big hit when it mattered. Gray left the game after a bases-clearing double from Ryan McMahon, but even with that bright spot, the Rockies ended the night with 25 men left on base.
The Rockies were able to pull within one run in the ninth after a C.J. Cron RBI double, but would come no closer as Tanner Rainey shut the door for the Nats.
The Rockies will be right back at it again tomorrow against the Nats and will look to pull even in the series. Kyle Freeland (6-8, 4.50 ERA) will make what will likely be his last start of the year, against Nationals vet Patrick Corbin (9-15, 5.92 ERA). First pitch is again at 6:40 MDT.