With two strikes on Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla standing on third base representing the tying run, Juan Nicasio made a mistake in the 4th inning Tuesday night. He missed location with a 94 mph fastball, piping a pitch to the Braves’ lead-off hitter. Heyward cracked it back up the middle and tied the game.
From there, the wheels came off, as they say. In order, Nicasio surrendered: a double to Justin Upton, an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman, a single to Evan Gattis, and a home run to Brian McCann. Once the score was 8-3, it just felt like the Rockies had no hope. Even with lots of game left, it felt like they had no chance after that moment. That the final score ended up 11-3 in favor of the Braves was not surprising in the least.
Guess what else happened in this game? You think Freddie Freeman, co-captain of the Rockies’ killers, hit a home run? Well you’re wrong. He hit two home runs.
For the Rockies, their recent stretch of baseball has been characterized by outstanding starting pitching. The despair that has accompanied the mediocre results during that stretch emerges from the fact that, night after night, the Rockies gave themselves a chance to win. They simply could not patch together enough offense to take advantage of those opportunities, and they ended up losing tight games to the likes of the Cubs and the Marlins.
It had been a while since their starters pitched them out of the game. Nicasio picked a bad night to break that trend. On the heels of a nail-biter last night and against an Atlanta Braves team that is in first place for a reason, they were done after Nicasio’s collapse. Tomorrow night they will try to get back on track with Tyler Chatwood on the mound.