The poor San Diego Padres. You would think that they would have cried uncle by now, but the fact that they still started Edinson Volquez on Monday night against the Rockies showed that they must have thought things would somehow be different this time around.
Unfortunately for them, the same old story of 2013 emerged once again. Really, the Rockies and the Padres are not that far apart in the standings. After today’s win the Rockies are 56-65, the Padres 54-65. They are both appropriately mediocre, with the Padres going through some significant hot and cold streaks while the Rockies have failed thanks to lengthy lulls on the offensive side of things.
A big difference for each team is their record against the other. If not for games against the Padres, the Rockies might be a lot worse. If not for games against the Rockies, the Padres might be a lot better.
Of the 15 match-ups between the two teams, the Rockies have won 11. Just imagine if the Rockies had played average baseball against their divisional foes; imagine the same for the Padres, or even if they could have somehow managed a winning record against the team from a mile high.
This series saw the Rockies seizing control in a number of ways. 14 runs is certainly the number that stands out from the box score on Monday, but it was really each team’s defense that sent that game in the direction of a blowout early on. Colorado dodged potential damage thanks to some ridiculously nice stops from DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado to start double plays and set Jhoulys Chacin up for another long outing. In turn the Padres booted the ball and made bad situations worse (poured gasoline on the fire, as they say). Momentum is a fickle beast and not worth a huge investment in baseball, but it certainly played a part as the Rockies blew the Padres away and kept sending Volquez’s ERA northward.
The Padres won Tuesday night, but let me ask you this: would you have placed a bet on the Padres that night if I told you that Huston Street would come on for a four out save that included the top of the order? Sure, the Friars held on for a 7-5 win, but that game was set up for the Rockies to win, wasn’t it? That don’t call him “Heart Attack Huston” for his looks…or at least I don’t think they do.
And then finally, for one day, order was restored for the Rockies on Thursday. In the spirit of having a pitching staff that is actually pretty decent when it was supposed to be awful, Jorge De La Rosa pitched masterfully and then Rex Brothers closed out the victory. This team needed a victory where they got masterful pitching and the offense actually did enough for it to hold up. It finally happened, and it was only fitting that it happened against the poor old Padres.
Now the Rockies will take the good vibes from their 5-1 home stand and hope that they translate on the road as they take on a tough Baltimore Orioles team.