I miss fun baseball.
I miss rallies, remarkable plays at third base, dominant performances by Germán Márquez, and back-to-back homers. I miss walk-offs. I miss the Rockies dominating at Coors Field.
This year, fun and the Rockies have rarely gone together. In what promises to be the fourth-straight losing season, the Rockies are just getting harder and harder to watch. They did get a win on Thursday night, with some key doubles in the first and ninth inning, and it was good to snap a three-game losing streak.
However, the play that stood out to me was Ryan McMahon hitting a grounder to move Randal Grichuk to third with the Rockies up 4-3 with one out in the ninth. He clapped while running to first and causing an out. Grichuk went on to be stranded at third despite Charlie Blackmon earning an intentional walk and pinch-runner Garrett Hampson stealing second.
While I appreciate small ball and do think the Rockies need to do whatever is possible to get more runs in, what happened to a hitter like McMahon hitting a homer? Or a double? Or just a single? He’s hitting .241 with seven homers and 39 RBI, one of which came on Thursday night. The Rockies used to unleash for huge innings with multiple hits. Now, they are happy with advancing a baserunner and occasionally scoring a run.
At this point last year, the Rockies had a similar record through 83 games (35-48). However, it seemed more fun. Maybe it was just to beg a normal season again after 2020. Maybe it helped being in fourth place instead of fifth in the NL West. Maybe it was because they had eight walk-offs. Maybe it was because the Rockies were 29-17 at home.
This year, the Rockies are 36-47, which puts them in the basement. The big offseason move of acquiring Kris Bryant has proven to be a flop as he’s hit into as many double plays as he’s hit doubles (five). Chad Kuhl started with a bang, but has since deflated. The Rockies have lost three games because of walk-offs while only winning one. The Rockies do have a winning record at Coors Field, but just barely at 23-21. The Rockies have 77 home runs. The Yankees have 66 more than that.
My pessimism could be because in the 12 Rockies game recaps I have written this season, the Rockies are 1-11. I usually cover Wednesdays, a day when the Rockies are 3-10 and have the worst winning percentage (.231) of any day of the week. I traded days one week and the Rockies won on Wednesday that week and obviously lost on the Tuesday I had (May 3). Their other win came in game 2 of a doubleheader when I covered game 1, which the Rockies lost. At this point, my superstitious irrational side is starting to take it personally, especially when there have been two walk-off losses on Wednesdays.
After doing a breakdown of wins and loses by days of the week, it is clear that the Rockies are worse in the middle of the week, specifically Wednesday and Thursday, while they play surprisingly well on Saturdays. I am not sure this is significant in any way, except to show that it’s more depressing for Rockies fans during the week and better on the weekends.
Rockies Records By Days of the Week
I don’t think I am the only one not having fun with the Rockies right now. In the AT&T SportsNet pregame show on Thursday night, former Rockie and current announcer Ryan Spilborghs put it best: “The last series we had to watch against the Dodgers – not fun. I want a fun series. Is that too much to ask for?”
Jenny Cavnar replied that it wasn’t too much to ask and that “fun would be home runs, clean defense,” and Austin Gomber returning to his potential. Gomber wasn’t terrible, but he gave up three runs and was pulled after five innings at 99 pitches. The Rockies hit zero home runs. On the bright side, the Rockies have now played 12 straight games without an error. After the game, Spilly said it started and ended with fun, but both announcers said it was meh in the middle.
During the game, Colorado Springs Gazette Rockies beat writer Danielle Allentuck also noticed the lack of fun in the middle innings when the game appeared to be dragging on.
I feel like I'm back at Salt River Fields for a spring training game. This game has no meaning, there's no energy from either team and the small crowd isn't even paying attention— Danielle Allentuck (@d_allentuck) July 8, 2022
In a recent article from the Athletic about what teams are buyers and sellers before the trade deadline, Rockies writer Nick Groke describes the current Rockies very accurately.
“The Rockies need everything. More power, more speed, more defense, more arms, more reliability, more depth, more fun ... They are an ineffective offense with no outstanding method for scoring. Now they need hitters, too. Anything to add excitement to a lackluster lineup. Now is the time to build for the future.”
Right now, the only Rockies I am really excited about are C.J. Cron and José Ureña. Cron is one of the few Rockies I get excited about when he comes to the plate. At the same time, I realize he’s not the long-term solution. As much as I love the Cron Zone and will be bummed if he is traded, he’s more valuable to the Rockies in terms of building for the future. He’s also blocking playing time for Elehuris Montero. The Rockies aren’t one or two pieces away from contending. They need a lot of work and prospects exchanged for Cron could be key to better days ahead.
Without consistency from the starting rotation, Ureña’s gem on Wednesday night was one of the best things I have watched in a while. He dominated – gave up five singles to an unbelievable offense and only one run, that I think should be blamed on Jake Bird. Of course, the sample size is too small to really get excited. A bigger test will be on Monday when Ureña could pitch his first game as a Rockie at Coors Field.
Otherwise, it’s just hard to get excited about the Rockies right now. Of course, the weekend Rockies have a winning record, so maybe I should just focus on them. But with this team, with this lack of fun, and with the lack of hope for change, it could be a recipe for a long and painful season.
★ ★ ★
Apparently, the Rockies had a team meeting in early June to discuss the sloppy state of the team’s defense. The coaching staff increased fielding drills and practice. While it took a while to kick in, the Rockies have now played 12 straight games without an error, but they still are tied for worst in MLB with 58 errors overall. If only they could have a meeting about hitting.
★ ★ ★
On The Farm
Carlos Peréz hit a two-run homer, Bret Boswell added a solo shot, and Sam Hilliard pitched in an RBI single and sac fly to carry the Isotopes to victory on Thursday night. Boswell ended the night with three hits, while Hilliard, Dom Nuñez, and Coco Montes posted two hits a piece. Riley Smith earned his third win of the year after only giving up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts in six innings. Julian Fernández, Justin Lawrence, and Chad Smith all threw a scoreless inning in relief to close out the win.
Hunter Stovall hit a two-run double in the top of the ninth to break open a 1-1 tie and help lift the Yard Goats to a win on Thursday. Hartford jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with an eventful inning that began with Stovall leading off the game with a single. Hartford eventually loaded the bases. Michael Toglia scored a run when Grant Lavigne drew a bases-loaded walk. Stovall finished the game with three of the team’s six hits. Michael Baird only gave up one run through seven innings, striking out 10 and only giving up four hits.
Tri-City scored in every inning but the sixth, while Spokane managed only one run while being out-hit 14-4. The Indians also made two errors that resulted in one unearned error. Evan Shawber gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks, despite striking out eight hitters in 3 2⁄3 innings in the loss. Zac Veen and Julio Carreras each posted two hits. Veen scored the only Spokane run of the game in the seventh inning on a wild pitch.
Yanquiel Fernandez hit his 10th homer of the season - a two-run shot - and Yorvis Torrealba hit a two-run single in another Grizzley victory on Thursday. Aiverson Rodriguez, Bryant Quijada, and Benny Montgomery all recorded RBI hits, and McCade Brown earned his second win of the season after throwing six solid innings, only giving up one run on four hits, while striking out six. The Grizzlies out-hit the Giants 14-6.
★ ★ ★
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