Well, that’s all folks.
After winning three in a row against Los Angeles, the Dodgers brought the Rockies back to Earth and ended their season with a loss on Wednesnday. On the bright side, it was also a 3-3 split on the road in the six-game series. The Rockies end the 2022 campaign with a 68-94 record, which ties for fifth worst in franchise history and is seven more losses than in 2021. The Rockies offense struck out 17 times and was held to two hits in the game.
Tovar yard time
In his ninth MLB game and his 31st at-bat, Ezequiel Tovar hit his first home run. The part that makes it the most memorable is that it came off of three-time Cy Young winner, one-time MVP, nine-time All Star, and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. On a 2-2 count in the second inning, Tovar sent a four-seam fastball 405 feet to center field.
Tovar hit 13 homers in 264 at-bats in Double-A Hartford this season and added one in 21 at-bats in Triple-A Albuquerque before being called up by the Rockies on Sept. 22. Tovar not only provided the only run for the Rockies, but the only hit until the ninth inning.
Dodgers pitchers dominate
Despite the Tovar blemish, Kershaw pitched like the future Hall of Famer he is, striking out nine and walking one in five solid innings to advance to 12-3 on the season with a 2.28 ERA. The Los Angeles bullpen took over where Kershaw left off with former Rockie Yency Almonte throwing an uneventful sixth, despite hitting Sean Bouchard in the back with a pitch. Chris Martin struck out two in a 1-2-3 seventh and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the eighth to keep the Rockies at one hit.
Finally, Randal Grichuk added to the hit column in the ninth inning when he dropped a single into left field against Caleb Ferguson. Bouchard also drew a walk in the ninth, bumping up his total to 20 in 96 plate appearances this season. After Ryan McMahon struck out, Ferguson then hit Brendan Rodgers on the foot to load the bases with one out. Elehuris Montero then struck out, as did Michael Toglia, to end the game and the season. The Dodger bullpen combined for eight strikeouts. For the first time in Rockies history, they did not hit a grand slam this season — even though they had two chances in the ninth in game 162.
Gomber decent in return start
Even though he only pitched three innings, Austin Gomber was solid. He fell victim to Freddie Freeman’s 21st homer of the year as the only run he allowed. He gave up three hits (a Freeman double and Cody Bellinger singe) and a walk, but also struck out four Dodgers, including Trea Turner twice. For his first start since July 17, it wasn’t bad. He got the third strike three times with his slider and once on a 91-mph fastball. Gomber finishes the season with a 5.56 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, a 17.6 strikeout percentage, and a 6.4 walk percentage, which are both career lows (bad in the first case and good in the second) in 124 2⁄3 innings over 33 appearances (17 starts).
Control issues for Chad, Hollowell shines
Chad Smith has a serious walk problem. In 15 appearances this season in 18 innings, he has 15 walks. Three of those walks came on Saturday when he walked three, including two in a row in a string of five straight walks by the Rockies bullpen that cost the Rockies the game. On Wednesday, with the game tied 1-1, Smith entered the game in the fourth inning. He got Max Muncy to fly out, but only with Sean Bouchard against the wall in left. Then he struck out Justin Turner, and got Gavin Lux to fly out. In the fifth, after Smith got Bellinger to ground out, the control issue reared its head and Smith walked Joey Gallo and Mookie Betts. Trea Turner then made him pay with a 407-foot homer to center field to hit the 100 RBI mark on the year. Just like that, the Dodgers took a 4-1 lead. Gavin Hollowell replaced him and got the heart of L.A.’s lineup, Freeman at No. 3 and Will Smith at No. 4, to both fly out. He then pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning and posted one strikeout for a great showing.
Noah Davis finally makes debut
The good news: Noah Davis finally made his debut. The bad news: Cody Bellinger welcomed him with a homer on his very first pitch. It was a solo shot to right field in the seventh inning. Davis bounced back strong and struck out Gallo on a slider, which is the same ball Bellinger hit for his 19th homer of the year. Davis then Miguel Vargas before giving up back-to-back singles to Trae Turner and Freeman with Freeman driving in his 100th run of the year and putting L.A. up 6-1. He then got Smith to fly out before striking out Austin Barnes. In one inning, he gave up two runs on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Davis was first called up straight from Double-A Hartford on Sept. 16 and then sent down to Triple-A Albuquerque on Sept. 24 without throwing one pitch. They called up him back up on Tuesday to replace Chad Kuhl, who was placed on the 15-day IL with a right triceps strain.
The Rockies will play their first Spring Training game on Feb. 25 and start the 2023 season on March 30 — just a short 176 days away. Until then, the Rockies front office will be making roster decisions and trying to figure out a blueprint to get back to winning. Purple Row will continue to provide analysis and a unique perspective on the Rockies throughout the offseason, starting Thursday with our annual Ranking the Rockies series. Thanks for spending another season with us.