On Monday the Colorado Rockies faced an ace pitcher on the road. They faced a solid team in a rowdy opening day environment. Put in that context, a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers is not a bad loss. Unfortunately the distinct manner in which the Rockies let this one get away made it a bad loss.
It’s not that the Rockies lost 5-4…it’s how they lost.
Entering the 8th inning, the Rockies led 3-1, but it very well could have been 6-1 if not for missed opportunities. They left runners on base in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th innings, with Chris Nelson running the team out of a chance to have the bases loaded for the heart of the order in the 4th (#RockiesBaserunning). They left themselves in a bad position, even if they are supposed to have a strong bullpen.
The Rockies did not take advantage of opportunities. The Brewers, limited to fewer chances to score by Jhoulys Chacin (6.2 IP, 1 ER), capitalized on their chances, especially when it mattered. Newly acquired Wilton Lopez was disastrous from the moment his cleats hit the dirt in the 8th inning, struggling with his command and eventually surrendering the go-ahead double to Aramis Ramirez.
Has Dexter Fowler arrived? How much do we need to see this season before we designate last season as the moment that he “got it?” Time will tell this season, but a 3-for-5 day with a game-tying home run sure made it look like he could be approaching a level where he can have a star-level impact.
The second bullpen meltdown was thanks to the normally steady Adam Ottavino (who now wears number 0, in case you didn’t know). And, like Lopez, it was a true meltdown: two walks (one intentional to that Braun guy) and a hit batter. Jonathan Lucroy then put the game away with a sacrifice fly.
This loss stung because the Rockies didn’t lose the way they are supposed to lose this year. Maybe we expect some struggles from the offense on the road and maybe we expect the starting pitching to have its issues, but the bullpen is supposed to be a strength. To have the starting pitching hold up and to have a lead late, only to see it dissolve, made it just a little bit worse. The Rockies had a chance to snag a rare quality victory on the road and let it get away.
The team continues its series in Milwaukee tomorrow night with Jorge De La Rosa on the mound.