The Colorado Rockies spent its offseason budget trying to build a dominant bullpen. On Sunday, Rockies fans watched again as their bullpen blew up and surrendered another lead.
For the 21st time this season, Colorado lost a game that it was leading at some point in the contest. Sunday’s loss, however, was one of the most brutal of the bunch as the Texas Rangers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Colorado closer Wade Davis to post a 13-12 decision.
While recording just one out, Davis walked four and gave up two hits as Texas dropped the Rockies to 34-37 on the season.
Again, Colorado had a chance to win. Again, Colorado’s bullpen collapsed. It’s becoming a theme that is ripping the hearts out of Colorado fans and aging Bud Black in the dugout.
We could write an entire article on the bad things that happened on Sunday. But there were two pieces of good news with Sunday’s loss.
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First, Adam Ottavino once again showed the value he brings to the Colorado bullpen, throwing a scoreless eighth to lower his ERA on the season to 0.89. He is becoming one of the very few go-to, reliable options for the Rockies at this point.
Second, Ian Desmond and Gerardo Parra are showing they can play up to the standards set for them. Parra went 3-for-4 on Sunday including his big double and Desmond went 2-for-5 to raise his batting average to .209 on the season.
The offense did its part on Sunday but there are only so many runs the Rockies can score before they have to rely on the pitching to shut down the other team.
Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the game was Jon Gray’s dominance through the first five innings and then a complete meltdown without recording a single out in the sixth. Gray looked dominant early on, but wilted in the Texas heat at the first sign of a Rangers rally. The first five batters of the sixth inning reached base safely. That included Jurickson Profar, who belted a three-run homer to give the Rangers a 6-5 lead and chase Gray from the mound.
As he walked to the dugout, Gray seemed stunned at the quick turn of events. He wasn’t the only one. Entering the frame with a 5-1 lead, the right-hander seemed in charge of the Texas lineup, striking out nine and not recording a walk. However, a leadoff walk to Ronald Guzman opened the door for the Rangers to rally and take the lead.
Does this mean that Gray has some mental block or whatever the pundits might say? No, but he needs to learn how to close the door when damage starts occurring. When something starts going bad this season, Gray has yet to find a way to put on the brakes. That has to stop.
Colorado heads back to the Mountain time zone to open a seven-game homestand against the New York Mets and Miami Marlins on Monday. It’s a chance for Colorado to establish some home-field dominance against two struggling teams. That’s exactly what is needed after a gut-wrenching loss in the Texas heat.