Thank Heavens for the All-Star Break
It took some time, butBrett Anderson
finally got into a groove today. Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The title was my husband’s idea. He’s not even a Rockies fan. But it’s fitting, no?
One good thing happened today, and that was that I got to watch The Sandlot, the best baseball movie of all time, while sitting on the grass in left field at Coors. Most of the other stuff that happened on the same grass wasn’t any good at all.
Brett Anderson returned to the Rockies today after rehabbing a broken finger sustained back in April. He was one of the Rockies’ most highly-touted acquisitions in the offseason, and he goes into the All Star Break having made just four major league starts this season. Some people felt that he should have made at least one more in a Sky Sox uniform. I’m not sure if that would have helped, but he did not look good in his first couple innings.
Anderson is a groundball pitcher; he needs to get weak contact in order to be successful. Early in today’s game, especially in the first inning, the Twins were driving the ball all over the field. It was ugly. They connected for 7 hits and scored 5 runs. There should have been at least one more, but DJ LeMahieu made a killer defensive play. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Kendrys Morales grounded out to 3rd. Instead of going to 1st after stepping on 2nd, as conventional wisdom would dictate, LeMahieu threw a strike to Wilin Rosario at the plate, who nailed Brian Dozier trying to score from 3rd. It kept a terrible inning from being even terribler.
From there, Anderson started to settle in. He didn’t allow more than 1 hit in any of the other innings he pitched (5 total). Another run did score in the 5th when Trevor Plouffe hit a triple to center and LeMahieu, the cutoff man, hit Plouffe instead of Arenado’s glove while trying to get the ball in. The ball rolled into the dugout and Plouffe was awarded home. The rest of the game was filled with defensive miscues. In the 1st, Anderson should have been covering 1st base and wasn’t, which allowed a soft grounder to turn into an infield hit. In the 7th, a passed ball allowed a run to score from 3rd because Adam Ottavino forgot to cover home plate. And there were a couple other tough-luck situations, like when a groundball to LeMahieu bounced off of Justin Morneau, causing LeMahieu to have to change routes on a dime and fail to get to the ball on time.
Honestly, most of that wouldn’t have mattered, because the bullpen allowed their usual 7 runs, which would have been enough to beat the Rockies’ 5. I think Anderson is going to be just fine, assuming he can hold his brittle self together for 2 1/2 more months. And the offense was fine too. They started chipping away at Minnesota’s early lead in the bottom of the 1st. Anderson contributed an RBI sacrifice bunt. Carlos Gonzalez ran out a third strike in the dirt and reached 1st base safely, though the replay officials in New York apparently saw a different play from the one that actually happened. Just about everybody up and down the lineup had a hit. The offense wasn’t stifled. They just played badly in the field and were further harmed by bad pitching. Same old story. Thank heavens for the All-Star Break.