History is always made up of two sides to the same story. For every feat that has been accomplished, there is always some poor, unfortunate soul that was a key contributor to that notable feat. Among the many unfortunate things that have happened to the Colorado Rockies in 2022, a strange occurrence that I’m sure many folks have noticed is the number of notable achievements, milestones, and historical feats that seem to always pop up against the team. This article isn’t meant to bash the Rockies, but rather to highlight some of the strange, unfortunate coincidences that just so happen to involve the Rockies' contributions.
This article’s topic was sparked by the dominant pitching clinic put on by Atlanta Braves rookie pitcher Spencer Strider last Thursday when the Rockies struck out 16 times against the young righty in eight innings of work. He allowed just two hits and didn’t walk anyone as he continued to bamboozle Rockies hitters with a simple two-pitch mix of a high-octane fastball and devastating slider.
When you think of the rich history of Braves pitching, especially in the 1990s, it felt like a surprise that Strider set a new franchise record for most strikeouts in a regular nine-inning affair, surpassing Hall of Famer John Smoltz who reached the 15 punchout mark twice in his career, most recently in 2005. It was also the fourth time in Rockies history that they have struck out at least 16 times against a single pitcher in a game. Strikeouts are a huge part of baseball now, and the Rockies' unfortunate hitting trends this season haven’t been kind to them. But hey, at least they haven’t been victim to a no-hitter this season!
The Rockies playing the Tigers in Detroit early in the season feels like it happened years ago. However, the record books do show that the team did play there in April and all eyes were on Miguel Cabrera as he was just a few hits away from 3,000. Miggy needed just one hit when he stepped up to the plate for the first time in game one of the double-header that day, and he got it done right away against Antonio Senzatela with a single.
I wrote about the Rockies' contributions to the 3,000-hit club following that game, since it wasn’t the first time such an occurrence had come about. Four of the last nine batters to reach the milestone have done so against Colorado and while it’s a great milestone to celebrate, I’d be okay if the Rockies never give up the 3,000th hit to anyone ever again.
Albert Pujols, in his pursuit of 700 home runs, has been one of the hottest hitters in the month of August. Oddly enough, as a player over the age of 40, there is still room for first-time feats in a long, storied career. While playing in a forgettable series in St. Louis on August 18, and the game already getting out of hand, Pujols was called upon to pinch-hit with the bases loaded. He proceeded to belt career homer 690, his 16th career grand slam, and oddly enough it was the first time he had ever hit a pinch-hit grand slam.
That’s not all, because Adam Wainwright also helped send them both into the record books. Wainwright fired seven shutout innings against the Rockies, making it the first time in MLB history that a 40-year-old player hit a grand slam and a 40-year-old pitcher threw at least seven scoreless innings for the same team in the same game according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The fact that in over 150 years of MLB history that something like that has never happened is one of the wonderful things about baseball stats and at least the Rockies had the chance to be a part of that, even if they did lose in a blowout.
Young Blue Blood
It wouldn’t an article about being on the wrong side of history if we didn’t mention the Los Angeles Dodgers. It seems like the Dodgers have an endless stream of players, especially rookies, just eager to make a splash against the Rockies. James Outman was the latest benefactor after he had a historic performance in Dodgers history when he made his debut at the end of July this season.
In his first at-bat in the big leagues, Outman connected for a two-run homer on the third pitch he saw in the third inning. He followed up with a single and a double later in the game, becoming the first Dodger in franchise history to log three hits (including a home run), total three RBI, and score two runs in his MLB debut. He was also the first MLB player in seven years to tally three hits, one home run, and three RBI in a debut since Joey Gallo did so in 2015.
A Monster Shot
The last one I wanted to highlight is a home run that was given up at the end of May this season when the Rockies faced off against the Miami Marlins at Coors Field. In the second inning, Jesús Sánchez clobbered a slider from Ryan Feltner halfway up the third and upper deck for a 496-foot shot.
The home run was the longest home run ever hit at Coors Field by a left-handed hitter, and the second longest by any hitter, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton’s 504-foot shot in 2016. You can’t help but stare in awe when a ball is crushed like that and it makes you hope the Rockies can develop some more hitters that aim to crush those records and take their rightful place as the owners of those feats.
Life is Funny that Way
The Rockies being on the wrong side of history is not an exclusive thing. Over the course of 150 years of MLB history, it’s happened to everyone. Sure, it’s unfortunate that the Rockies have been subject to playing a part in a number of things, especially this season, but looking at it through the lens of witnessing history is a way to make peace with it. Baseball is unpredictable and you never know what exactly you’re going to see, so come what may and love it, because either way, the Rockies can be an answer during trivia night.
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Danielle Allentuck breaks down a track record of the Colorado Rockies based on a question asked to Bud Black in which he responded that the Rockies are contenders with a healthy Kris Bryant. She goes position by position and points out that there are plenty more problems with the team that a single free agent signing isn’t going to fix.
Time is running out for Kris Bryant to come back at all this season, but with no timetable for a return. It’s likely the Rockies will just cut their losses and let the kids keep on playing. Sean Bouchard and Michael Toglia are getting some quality time, and it’s for the best that they get as much time as they can with them.
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On The Farm
The Isotopes struggled to get their offense going after scoring in the first two innings, as they struck out 16 times in their loss to Sugar Land. In his second rehab start, Yonathan Daza went 0-for-4 with three punchouts. Wynton Bernard continued his strong minor league season with a two-hit evening while Sam Hilliard hit his fifth homer in Triple-A. Coco Montes also provided the pop with his 19th homer of the season, showing that he is worthy of a call-up at some point. Karl Kauffman went five innings, but a five-run bottom of the first hurt him as he ended up allowing seven runs on nine hits. Nick Kennedy allowed runs in 2⁄3 of an inning before giving way to Ashton Goudeau who threw 2 1⁄3 perfect innings.
It was a tough night for Hartford, despite totaling seven hits, including Brenton Doyle’s 19th homer of the season, and a pair of doubles from Hunter Stovall and Daniel Montano, they managed just two runs as they struck out 14 times. Noah Gotsis started on the hill for the Yard Goats and labored through 3 2⁄3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Boby Johnson struggled in relief after allowing three more runs on two hits before he registered one out to end the fourth inning. A highlight pitching-wise come from Garrett Schilling who tossed three scoreless innings and struck out five along with Dugan Darnell who also threw two scoreless innings and struck out five. Both pitchers allowed just one hit each.
Three runs, courtesy of two home runs, in the bottom of the ninth, weren’t enough for Spokane as their rally fell short on Friday night. Colin Simpson led the way with three hits on the night including a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth, while Hunter Goodman hit his 12th homer in Spokane in the third inning. Andrew Quezada started on the mound and gave up three runs on five hits in five innings of work which tagged him with the loss. Will Tribucher had a rough night, allowing four runs on four hits in 1 1⁄3 innings of work.
Benny Montgomery came a home run shy of the cycle as the Fresno Grizzlies took down the Modesto Nuts. Montgomery led the way with his three hits while driving in two runs, along with Jordan Beck who went 1-for-2 with his first Fresno long ball and two RBI while also drawing three walks. EJ Andrews Jr. also had a strong night, driving in four runs during a two-hit night. Victor Juarez made the start for Fresno and took home the win, allowing four runs on five hits in 5 2⁄3 innings.
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