Nolan Arenado a Bright Spot in Colorado Rockies 3-2 Loss


Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Well, if the three homer, 11-0 barrage against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday was the Colorado Rockies’ best-case scenario, Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds was a fall back to earth. There were no home runs in this game, and the Rockies had a generally frustrating game in which they consistently got men on base but ended with just two extra base hits and left eight runners on base throughout the game. Of course, the final score doesn’t mean anything. What does matter is how individual players performed. What did we learn from the second Cactus League game of spring training?

Notable lines from the Box Score

Although none of these three guys are in grave danger of losing a roster spot at the moment, each of these three players has a lot to prove in spring training. With Colorado’s best hitters not playing in this game, I found it interesting to see that Nolan Arenado was in the lineup. He was arguably the most important player to play on either team, and he played well, reaching base in all three of his at bats and driving in a run. It was especially encouraging to see Arenado’s single off of Reds starting pitcher Tony Cingrani, because Cingrani is the type of pitcher (right handed pitcher with a lot of heat and nasty stuff) who gave the third baseman fits last year. If Arenado hits high in the lineup, or low for that matter, he’ll need to reach base against some nasty pitchers, so this is a good sign.

Blackmon and Dickerson are on here because of their intriguing battle for time in center field. With Drew Stubbs likely manning center against lefties, it’s up to one of these two players to distinguish himself and take over the majority of CF plate appearances. Due to the fact that neither is great defensively, they both need to hit a lot in spring training if they plan on winning the job, and the loser might not even end up making the team, because the Rockies would prefer to fill their bench outfielder roles with better defenders (like Brandon Barnes).

How is the Dexter Fowler trade looking right now? Oh yeah, just as bad as it did when it was first made. It seems likely that the Rockies traded one of their best leadoff hitters in their short history for just about nothing. In return for Fowler, they got Brandon Barnes, a fourth outfielder at best, and Lyles, who they seem to want to be their fifth starter. Well, guess what: Lyles hasn’t pitched well in his career, he isn’t well suited for Coors, and he got hit hard yesterday by a bunch of mostly no-name backups for the Reds. I’m being harsh, but, based off of yesterday, Lyles doesn’t look like he is good enough to be in the rotation.

On the other hand, I’ve already made a case that Yohan Flande should be the 5th starter. He pitched pretty well in an inning of relief on Saturday- better than Franklin Morales yesterday and clearly better than Lyles earlier on in this game- so maybe I’m onto something. As for Lopez, I think this could be a huge bounce back season for him after he had various issues last season, and we will be able to see signs of how he’ll pitch this season from early on in spring training.

The Rockies are back in action on Sunday as they play against the Milwaukee Brewers. We will likely see Jorge De La Rosa‘s debut in this one, so it should be a good one.