Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black had a very telling description of his team when he met with the media before Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field.
"“There’s a steely-eyed look that these guys have, which is awesome,” Black told Rox Pile and other media members. “There have been points during the course of the year where this group has been tested and they’ve responded. I feel good about that and I’ve felt good about that all year.”"
Those steel-like eyes were locked and loaded on Los Angeles starter Hyun-Jin Ryu early and often, pushing the Rockies to a 9-1 victory in perhaps the most anticipated game of the 2017 season. The win sliced Colorado’s magic number to just 1 as Milwaukee staved off Wild Card elimination with a 5-3 decision over the Cardinals in St. Louis. While they may not have punched their postseason ticket just yet, Colorado guaranteed themselves no worse than a Monday play-in game against the Brewers in Denver.
Here are three things that stood out to us on Friday night…
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From the outset, it was clear Colorado was going to take care of its own business before worrying about anything happening in St. Louis. The Rockies scored three runs with two outs in the first, highlighted by home runs from Nolan Arenado and Mark Reynolds to stake an early 3-0 lead.
"“As an offense, we came together. It was good to score some runs in the first,” Arenado told Rox Pile and other media members after the game."
The Rockies would expand the lead to 5-0 in the second inning on a towering two-out home run from Charlie Blackmon that landed in the right field’s second deck. The 454-foot blast gave Chuck Nazty 101 RBI from the leadoff position this season, establishing a new Major League record.
Bettis was a beast
While Colorado’s offense was clicking, so was Chad Bettis on the mound. Putting a cap on an emotional regular season after battling and beating cancer, Bettis came through with yet another solid performance against the Dodgers.
The 28-year-old right-hander scattered four hits over seven innings, allowing just Justin Turner’s third-inning RBI single as the only scoring blemish. He finished his night by retiring the last 14 Dodgers he faced before Gerardo Parra pinch hit for him in the bottom of the seventh.
"“I think it was one of the better ones (starts) that I’ve had a feel for,” Bettis told Rox Pile and other media members after the game. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to replicate it but it’s definitely something I’ll be able to try to do.”"
There were plenty of heroes for the Rockies on Friday, including Trevor Story who continues to heat up at the right time. Entering the game with a six-game hitting streak, Story put together a 3-for-3 performance against the Dodgers, finishing a double short of the cycle.