Baseball is a game that’s cyclic in nature.
Every batter’s goal is to end up where he started, scoring a run by touching home. Every inning has a top and a bottom. You can even hit for the cycle! And every season is punctuated by holidays, days without any actual relevance to the baseball calendar, but days that come up year after year and are instantly more memorable.
The fourth of July is obviously one of those days. It’s a day to celebrate America, and what better way to celebrate than with America’s pastime.
This year, the Rockies will be in Los Angeles for Independence Day, taking on the NL West leading Dodgers. They’ll look to improve on their 11-17 record overall and their 1-3 record against the Dodgers on the Fourth. Here are some of the highlights from over the years.
Ah, the classic Coors Field pitcher’s duel. Andrew Suarez and Tyler Anderson went back and forth with scoreless inning after scoreless inning on a Wednesday night in Denver, until Chris Ianetta provided the fireworks with the eventual game winning solo shot. Anderson went eight shutout innings on the night, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out nine in what will likely go down as his best start in a Rockies uniform. Wade Davis pitched a scoreless ninth to secure the victory. Despite the Rockies managing three hits with runners in scoring position, they were only able to score on Ianetta’s seventh home run on the year (all hits with RISP were infield hits, again in typical Coors Field fashion). This win brought the Rockies to a game above .500 and they would go on to defeat the Cubs in the Wild Card game.
Before 2007 became the season of Rocktober and the Rockies only pennant, it was the season where the Rockies found their way into the history books as the first team to sweep both the New York Yankees and New York Mets at home. This game was the clincher for that obscure piece of trivia, helped by five RBI days from both Garrett Atkins and Todd Helton. The Dragon Slayer, Josh Fogg, earned the win on the mound after going down 3-0 in the first. In a sign of how much baseball has changed since 2007, the Mets Jose Reyes stole his 42nd base of the season during this game - 2022’s current leader, Jon Berti, has just 25.
The 2007 Rockies scored 17 runs to celebrate the nation’s birthday, so the 2008 Rockies scored one more. In a comeback for the ages, the Rockies were at one point down 13-4 before providing the Coors Field faithful with entertainment surely worth more than the price of admission. Garrett Atkins (Mr. July 4th, apparently - he ended his career hitting .556 on Independence Day with three HRs, 10 RBIs, and seven runs scored) had five hits, plus Ryan Spilbourghs and Matt Holliday both had two home runs. While this year’s iteration was more productive offensively compared to 2007, the entire year did not live up to the earlier success. This win brought the Rockies up to 15 games below .500, and they missed the playoffs.
After the 2018 game, the Rockies did not play on the Fourth in 2019 and 2020. Last year, they returned to action with another win. Here’s hoping this year provides another win, and potentially another memorable classic.
★ ★ ★
This year’s trade deadline is on August 2nd, giving us just under a month remaining for potential contenders to find the missing pieces and the teams on the outside looking in to find value for their pieces. The Rockies, currently, look to be more in the “sellers” camp, than the “buyers”. Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt gives his take on the team’s potential willingness to move certain pieces. Among the designations, both Kyle Freeland and Germán Márquez are listed as players who Hurt believes the Rockies will “listen to offers for”. Both young starters that are under team control for at least a couple of years, Freeland and Márquez have both had their share of successes over the years and would likely fetch sizable returns. That is, if the Rockies were willing to part with them. After the Trevor Story and Jon Gray situations last year, history would suggest no. MLB.com also gives their take on each team’s untouchable players here.
★ ★ ★
On The Farm
The fireworks weren’t just for the night sky yesterday at Isotopes Park. The two teams totalled 25 runs, 25 hits, seven home runs, 15 walks, and 21 strikeouts but it was Sugar Land (HOU) that came out on top. Wynton Bernard and Dom Nuñez each had three hit games, and each of the 18 starters between both teams scored at least a run. The Isotopes will forgo their usual Monday off day in favor of playing on Independence Day, traveling to take on the Round Rock Express (TEX) today.
The Ezequiel Tovar-less Yard Goats weren’t able to match the offense of the Rumble Ponies (NYM) Sunday, totalling just one run and six hits on the day. Daniel Montano scored the lone run for Hartford as part of a two-hit day, Hunter Stovall reached base three times (two walks and a single), and Michael Toglia (no. 7 PuRP) had a hit, walk, and an RBI, but the bottom half of the order combined to go 1-19. Starter Karl Kauffmann (no. 20 PuRP) had trouble with his control on the mound, walking four and giving up six hits in just 3-2/3rds innings of work. The Yard Goats kick off their next series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) today.
High-A: Spokane Indians at Vancouver Canadians
The Indians game was postponed due to inclement weather in Vancouver. Spokane will return back to the States and take on the Tri-City Dust Devils (LAA) for their next series, starting today.
The bottom half of the lineup carried the Grizzlies to the win Sunday - their six through nine hitters combined to go 9-16 with six runs scored and five RBI. That was more than enough to support the Grizzlies pitching staff, who gave up two runs in the first two innings but were lights out from there. Similar to their higher Rockies affiliates, the Grizzlies will play today, taking on the San Jose Giants (SFG).
★ ★ ★
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