Well, that elusive fourth place has just slipped out of the Rockies’ grasp once again. Now the best they can hope for by the end of this series is to pull to within 1 1/2 games of the Padres. Which they should still be shooting for, because you gotta have goals people.
It was a tough night for Drew Pomeranz, who seemed to have fixed all his issues when he came up from Triple-A but hasn’t done well in his last two starts. He’ s throwing plenty of strikes, so it’s not the delivery that’s causing him trouble like it was early in the season. His fastball is losing velocity again, which may be the explanation. It’s a good fastball, but it’s much more hittable when it’s hovering around 90 mph than when it’s closer to 95 mph. It really needs to nudge closer to that upper limit since Pomeranz throws that pitch far more than any other. Once through the lineup all the Padres had seen it and knew what to do with it. And do they did.
In the 2nd, Pomeranz gave up 4 runs before he even recorded an out, though he would have had 1 out during that time if not for a sloppy play by Josh Rutledge. Carlos Quentin has been slumping a bit of late, so naturally he started things off with a home run. Then in the 3rd, Pomeranz gave up 3 runs before getting a single out. The only good things I can say about those innings is that eventually he did get 3 outs. Pom’s poise is the thing I like most about him. He doesn’t lose it like a lot of our other young pitchers, so if we can just cut down on the number of runs he gives up in an inning, we can still be sure he’ll keep his head in the game and prevent the wheels from coming off entirely.
Big ups to Josh Roenicke, who had a stellar 3+ inning long relief appearance. I have to say, much as I hate this ridiculousness of pulling the starter so early, the bullpen really has stepped up. Guys that you would not think could pitch more than an inning, maybe two, have risen to the occasion. I’m impressed.
Unfortunately, not all of them always do, and Mike Ekstrom was the one last night. The Rockies were down 7-5 and he widened the deficit by two more runs. So far, I’m not wildly into Ekstrom. He’s okay, but I’d really much rather see a guy like Adam Ottavino or Rex Brothers late in the game. Brothers still has some issues to work out, I realize, but he’s getting there. With Ekstrom, I’m not convinced he’s not already bumping his head against the ceiling.
The offense can’t entirely be blamed for last night’s loss, which is always a good thing. Stupid things happened, like Michael Cuddyer making the 3rd out in an inning by getting caught stealing, and Josh Rutledge running from 2nd to 3rd on a dribbler that of course meant he got thrown out. But there were good things too, most especially Carlos Gonzalez‘s grand slam. You know he’s always trying to hit one of those when the bases are loaded, so it’s nice when he’s able to.
Please, my dear team, please do not get swept by the Padres. Do whatever you have to do to avoid that.
The series continues tonight with my man Jeff Francis on the mound.