Pitching Not the Problem in Rockies Loss to Brewers
The Rockies are hurting bad right now. It’s a really good thing that they managed that crazy sweep in San Francisco last weekend, because it’s about the only good thing that’s happened the entire month of June. The worst thing that has happened has been the injuries to, um, everybody. It has left the team in a pretty serious bind. And on top of that, it feels like the only pitchers who are managing not to get injured are the ones who are just not good. I’m starting to think that Franklin Morales and Juan Nicasio are hanging out with voodoo dolls of all the guys in the starting rotation, hoping that they’ll get back into it because they’re the only options left. It’s a theory, anyway.
Christian Friedrich got the call-up to replace recently optioned Nicasio, which I don’t really understand. Friedrich is obviously a spot starter until one of our three disabled starters returns, but his Triple-A numbers are worse than Nicasio’s major league ones, so it kind of seems like giving Nicasio a few more chances to figure himself out and then sending him down when Brett Anderson or Tyler Chatwood comes back would have been better. But I don’t pretend to know what is going through the heads of our front office folk. And I will say this–Friedrich was no genius on the mound today, but he and the rest of the Rockies were far stupider in the field. As a pitcher, Friedrich was fine, even decent. However, the Rockies lost, due to the fact that they played like garbage.
The game started out quite well: Friedrich set the Brewers down in order in the 1st inning (after I not-so-charitably predicted five walks and a grand slam). Then Charlie Blackmon led off the bottom of the frame with a single. Rickie Weeks made an LOL error that squirted Drew Stubbs‘s grounder into the outfield, and then the runners pulled off a double steal. Justin Morneau predictably singled both home. Those were the only runs in the inning, but it felt like everything was working, at least better than it was last night.
But then the circus music began. Poor Christian Friedrich really can’t be blamed for most of it, and he would have gone much deeper into the game if errors hadn’t forced him to throw many more pitches than he otherwise would have. In the 2nd, Carlos Gomez scored when he shouldn’t have gotten any further than 2nd, thanks to TWO errors by Josh Rutledge at 3rd. I do not understand why Rutledge was playing 3rd. Prior to this game, he had started at 3rd twice in his career, whereas DJ LeMahieu had started at 3rd 41 times. The obvious arrangement would have been to have LeMahieu at 3rd and Rutledge at 2nd. I’m utterly baffled by this. In any case, LeMahieu made a bad throw a few plays later that was really just as much Morneau’s fault–he probably should have scooped it out of the dirt. He didn’t. Three errors in the inning, four runs score, only one earned. By itself, that inning was bad enough.
You’ve probably already heard what happened in the third inning. It was far worse. Far, FAR worse. It was easily the worst thing I have ever seen in a professional baseball game, or in any baseball game for that matter, and I have been to a lot of games. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, Friedrich walked Jean Segura to get to the pitcher Peralta. So far, so good.
But with the count 1-2, Friedrich threw a pitch that was higher than Michael McKenry expected. It was scored a wild pitch, but McKenry was just as much to blame. He closed his glove too soon, and the ball bounced off of it and rolled down the first base line. Okay, that’s annoying, but it’s a pretty standard wild pitch situation. Only one run should score. But then McKenry air mailed the throw to home, and it rolled to the dugout, allowing another run to score. AND THEN. Christian Friedrich forgot how to be a baseball player and picked up the ball and strolled casually toward home plate, like it wasn’t still in play. Segura astutely realized that it was, though, and slid into home easily. BASES-CLEARING WILD PITCH. WHAT THE HECK.
After that my husband brought me funnel cake fries, and quite frankly, I found them far less absurd than this mess on the field, so I gave them my attention for a while.
All you really need to know after that is that Friedrich gave up a solo home run to Aramis Ramirez, but his final line was 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K’s. Not bad. In fact, if that told the whole story, the game would have gone to extra innings, because Corey Dickerson hit a 2-run homer in the 6th that would have tied the game without the unearned runs. Also, bad baserunning cleared a couple more prospective runs off the basepaths that might have turned into go-ahead runs for the Rockies.
Rutledge’s swinging bunt with runners on 2nd and 3rd incited both runners to go, when neither of them should have. Troy Tulowitzki was tagged about three feet from home plate, though if he had headed back to third he would have been out there, too, because Dickerson was already standing there. Then in the 9th, LeMahieu took too big a lead off of 1st and was doubled off after Charlie Culberson‘s flyout to short right.
This game was a travesty from start to finish. And the wild pitch situation was all any national baseball writers could talk about this afternoon. @MLB even tweeted the following: “The last time 3 runners scored on a wild pitch? Rafael Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra and Gabe Kapler all scored for @Rangers on 6/29/2001.” So at least we’re not the only fans who have had to watch this scene in horror. A’s fans had to do it 13 years ago.
I need to go find some more funnel cake fries.