The Colorado Rockies combined a strong offensive showing with pitching that was just slightly better than the other guys to take the opener of their series with the New York Yankees, 13-10.
Coors Field was packed tonight, largely with what I will generously call “Yankees fans.” Most of them are, at best, bandwagoners who don’t even realize “their” team isn’t that good this year. I’d forgive them, or at least pity them, but they tried to start a “Let’s go Yankees” cheer too many times tonight.
Of course, there are genuine Yankees fans, including my husband whose family has cheered for the Bronx Bombers for several generations. And tonight I was sitting next to the Yankees’ equivalent of #sadpanda thanks to a heck of an offensive performance and a really okay start by Jorge De La Rosa.
DLR took the mound in his first start since being demoted to the bullpen, a move that seemed to bring him back to life. He’s the kind of pitcher who is easily derailed by his own mind. He often puts too much pressure on himself and a bad pitch or two becomes a bad inning or six. Entering the game in relief allowed him to be his best self because the game wasn’t riding on his shoulders in the same way. All he needed to do was hold the lead or keep the deficit from getting worse. In six innings out of the pen, he allowed just one earned run.
I wasn’t sure what to expect out of DLR tonight, but in 17 previous innings against the Yankees, he’d given up no runs, so perhaps that partially contributed to Walt Weiss‘ decision. In any case, DLR was not brilliant. He labored to throw 90 pitches over the course of five innings, went deep into counts with many hitters, and even walked the opposing pitcher, which is worse when you’re facing an AL team! But, he also allowed no runs and only three hits. He dealt with quite a few more baserunners than that, thanks to free passes and an error, but none of those runners scored.
Obviously, we’d like DLR to work a little faster and be a little sharper, but a scoreless outing is a scoreless outing.
Meanwhile, the offense was not-so-quietly dumping all over Yankees pitching, including starter Nathan Eovaldi and almost every reliever they faced (including Andrew Miller). They poured on 13 runs in eight innings, pushing them across in every conceivable way: home runs, RBI hits, stolen bases, and errors.
An especially fun sequence occurred in the 6th. Nick Hundley led off with a walk, Cristhian Adames bunted him over, and Charlie Blackmon singled him to third. Blackmon stole a base early in the game, so naturally pitcher Kirby Yates was invested in keeping him close. So invested that he overthrew the first baseman on a pickoff attempt, which scored Hundley and put Blackmon on third. He would go on to score on a single by Carlos Gonzalez.
Despite all this goodness, there were some rough spots too. The bullpen mostly kept the team in the game, but Gonzalez Germen, replacing DLR in the 6th, got Didi Gregorius down 0-2 with 2 outs, allowed Gregorius to work a full count, and then gave up a 3-run home run. Not his best moment.
Justin Miller allowed three runs while only recording one out in the 8th before getting yanked for the recently-recalled Miguel Castro. Castro tacked on four more, all unearned thanks to his own throwing error.
Then there was the defensive miscommunication in the 3rd when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a fly ball to short left, where Gerardo Parra came in catch it. Trevor Story didn’t realize Parra had it, and he made a last-second dive that caused him to roll into Parra, who fell to the ground and immediately signaled for a trainer. It was an unfortunate accident that will likely cost Parra some time, though early news from the Rockies indicated that it was an ankle injury, not a knee injury. This typically means a shorter recovery time. Either way, according to a tweet from Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com, Brandon Barnes was pulled out of the Albuquerque Isotopes game tonight, so he’s the likely replacement.
Here’s a word of advice: If you’re at Coors Field with your husband and the Rockies are playing his team, and you’re tired and he’s depressed, don’t let him suggest you leave early and then ask him what sort of spread would make him comfortable enough with his team’s chances to want to stay. With his team losing 12-3, he will say he wants his team down two runs or fewer, in a tone of voice that suggests this will never happen in a million years.
But it’s the Colorado Rockies, so his team will score seven runs in the next inning.