Well that was definitely not the opener Colorado Rockies fans were looking for. It’s never a good thing to overreact to one game, but this was one dreadful game. The Rockies, who scored just once on a Carlos Gonzalez solo home run, managed just six hits, and were dominated by Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. Fernandez, last year’s Rookie of the Year, was tremendous, but some of that has to be attributed to lackluster offense. The ace didn’t walk a batter, struck out nine, and threw just 21 balls to 73 strikes. Although the plate patience wasn’t there yesterday, it’s not really the offense I’m worried about.
Pitchers are generally ahead of hitters early in the season, and Jose Fernandez is a very tough pitcher to face. What I am worried about is the pitching, which was frankly dreadful yesterday. Jorge De La Rosa, the ace of a team that is supposed to have their best rotation in franchise history, was roughed up, and that might be pointing it kindly. Then Wilton Lopez and Chad Bettis, both members of a “much improved” bullpen, came in. Both pitched very well in spring training. Both were crushed by the Marlins. And while the Rockies hitters were facing a formidable threat, their pitchers weren’t. The Marlins scored 85 fewer runs than any other team in baseball last year, which is truly a staggering number. And they weren’t predicted to be much better this season. But they hit the Rockies pitchers to the tune of 14 hits and 10 runs, and handed them a worse loss than any other opening day team.
Key Stat Lines:
Charlie Blackmon: 0-4, strikeout
Carlos Gonzalez: 2-4, homer
Jorge De La Rosa: 4.1 innings, 4 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Wilton Lopez: 2.2 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts
Chad Bettis: 1 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout
I don’t know what we can take from this game, because it is just one game. Given that it’s the first game of the season, fans are likely to overreact, and I advise against that. Again, it’s just one game. I am not worried about the hitting, but I am worried about the pitching. The Marlins scored 10 runs three times all of last season, and already have one 10 run game this year in their first game. That’s worrying. The fact that the ace and the resurgent bullpen both got hit hard is also worrying. The Marlins had six extra base hits, which is also worrying.
I would argue that De La Rosa wasn’t as bad as his final stat line indicates, because he gave up just one hit and one run in his first four innings. He also saw just two runs cross before he was taken out of the game with the bases loaded, and all three of those runners also happened to score. I’m not really that worried about De La Rosa. In summation, the thing to worry most about is the bullpen. Chad Bettis, who struggled last year but turned it around last season, was brought in to stop the bleeding. He didn’t do it. Wilton Lopez, who has a solid history as a reliever but wasn’t great last year, gave up six hits, which is never good. The bullpen is definitely something to keep an eye on.
The Rockies look to bounce back tonight with another game against Miami. Brett Anderson will make his regular season debut for the Rockies against the Marlins’ Nathan Eovaldi. I have high expectations for Anderson, and expect a bounce back game from the whole team.