I hate it when the Rockies fight back and lose anyway. Especially in a walk-off. Especially in San Diego.
Today’s game started out well enough, with the Rockies taking an early lead. Of course, with the lovely paired pitching system, no lead is ever safe, and nothing on Sundays can ever really be said to be safe. Still, when the Rockies hit home runs in back-to-back innings, and one of them is hit by Alex White (at Petco Park!) you’d think maybe you were in business.
On the other hand, White wasn’t looking quite so swag on the mound. He only gave up 4 hits and 2 earned runs in his outing, but he also had some long at-bats and ran up his pitch count early on. This is when I hate paired pitching the most, because White was pitching well enough that he should have been given the chance to hold the line a little longer. Instead, he got yanked after 4 and replaced by Adam Ottavino. Doesn’t it seem like Ottavino ought to be crawling out to the mound by now? In addition to Josh Roenicke and Matt Belisle? My goodness, I don’t know how these guys are holding up.
Who knows what would have happened if White had stayed in, but what happened when he went out was an 8-run inning for the Padres. Insult to injury: every single run scored with 2 outs. Ottavino loaded the bases and then gave up 6 runs on 2 singles, a double, and a strike-em-out-throw-em-out that neither struck nor threw em out. Jordan Pacheco, allowed a rare opportunity to play catcher, showed he’s no better than Wilin Rosario at not throwing the ball into the outfield, and what should have been a steal of 3rd became a run scored. Then Matt Reynolds came in, threw two pitches, and gave up a 2-run home run to Chase Headley. It was that kind of inning.
So it was a very lopsided score for quite a long time, but the Rockies were busy collecting 11 strikeouts, so it can’t be said that they weren’t doing anything. The turning point came in the 8th, in which Bud Black used three different pitchers. None of them were any good. The first made one out and allowed a run. The second made no outs and allowed a run, which he walked in. And the third came on after that and threw a first-pitch slider to Josh Rutledge that easily became Rutledge’s first career grand slam. Tie game.
Of course, in the top of the 9th the Rockies put their first two men on base and then the next three batters struck out swinging, so you knew that was a bad omen. Sure enough, poor Belisle came into the game and allowed a single with one out. Then he balked the guy over. And all it would take from there was a single to win the game, which is just what happened. Don’t you hate it when a balk leads to the winning run? It’s that kind of season.