For a minute there, it seemed like maybe Drew Pomeranz was going to get a win after a tricky start against the Diamondbacks last weekend. And that was going to be a very good thing because, as a future ace, he needs to get something going here this season. Alas, Esmil Rogers chose today to have that meltdown we, or at least I, have been expecting from him, and Pomeranz will have to wait a little longer.
Pomeranz started out strong, which is good because he struggled early in last week’s outing. Through 4 innings, he didn’t allow a hit and recorded 6 strikeouts. Of course, his teammates were nearly hitless as well, so he didn’t have a big cushion to work with. Only a solo home run by Troy Tulowitzki kept the Rockies in the lead.
Then, in the 5th, Pomeranz started to lose his stuff a little bit. He walked Aramis Ramirez and then gave up a ground-rule double to Corey Hart. Wilin Rosario, still not super sharp defensively, mishandled a ball in the dirt that allowed Ramirez to score. An Alex Gonzalez double scored Ramirez and put the Brewers on top 2-1. It wasn’t a total wash of an inning: when the destructive Norichika Aoki came to the plate, he hit the ball to Chris Nelson, who wisely went home to get Gonzalez trying to score on the contact play. But the lead had changed hands.
It returned to the good guys in the top of the 6th, when Marco Estrada reached his pitch limit and Manny Parra replaced him. Parra walked Eric Young Jr., who stole 2nd and then moved to 3rd on a Marco Scutaro single. Dexter Fowler grounded into a force at 2nd that scored EY. Carlos Gonzalez reached by grounding into a forceout and then stealing 2nd, eventually scoring on a single by Tulo. That tied the game at 3.
And then there was Esmil. Oh Esmil, I so want you to be the brilliant pitcher you were early this season. I didn’t want to believe that your true colors would eventually show. But here they are, shining brightly. In the bottom of the 6th, Rogers gave up his first earned run of the season on a 2-0 solo shot by Ryan Braun. He got out of the inning, but returned in the 7th to do more damage. Jonathan Lucroy led off with a single, and then moved all the way to 3rd as BACK-TO-BACK pitches resulted in a passed ball (Rosario again) and a wild pitch. This kind of sloppiness results in free runs for the other team and we can’t have that. We have to make them fight for every run. Of course, if you then give up a triple to Nyjer Morgan, it doesn’t really matter what base Lucroy is standing on. He will score.
After another RBI single, Rogers exited the game with the blown save and a brand new 4.15 ERA. Edgmer Escalona came in. I’m an Escalona fan and would choose him over Rogers any day. I was very happy when he was called back up, because I think he belongs with the big league club. But then he gave up an RBI triple to Braun. And a home run to Gonzalez after intentionally walking Hart. So for those of you keeping score at home, it’s now 9-3 Rockies.
Tip of the cap to Josh Roenicke for a 1-2-3 8th, and to the immortal Todd Helton for a 10-pitch at-bat in the 9th that resulted in a solo home run. But it was too little too late, and the bullpen put this game to bed a long time ago. This is not a panic situation to me; by and large the pen has been stable and consistent. Rogers generally isn’t, but he has been so far this season, and who knows, maybe he’ll find it again. Escalona now has a 40.50 ERA, but that will shrink quickly. Not too many life lessons to be learned from this game, except that maybe when your lineup strikes out 13 times, and every starter does it at least once, you will probably lose. Also, four stolen bases for the Rockies and I am extremely shocked to announce that one of these bases was stolen by Todd Helton, who has not stolen a base in SIX YEARS. Everyone took a swig out of Nyjer Morgan’s water bottle I guess.
The rubber game in this series happens on a Sunday, so none of the other details about it matter.