Game 100 of the 2018 season did not end well for the Colorado Rockies. The defending World Champion Houston Astros exploded against Colorado closer Wade Davis in the 10th inning, eventually plating six runs on their way to an 8-2 decision.
For nine innings, this game was everything any baseball fan could ask for. Good pitching. Timely hitting. Solid defensive plays. Save a poor bunting performance from Raimel Tapia of the Colorado Rockies in a critical situation and the game was fairly textbook for both sides.
But the focus for the first nine innings for both Houston and Colorado was pitching. Starters Gerrit Cole and Tyler Anderson locked in a battle for supremacy with each rarely blinking. Anderson gave up a two-run home run to the second batter of the game for his only mistake. The Rockies could do little against Cole until he tired late, tying the game in the the seventh.
One of the things that made Houston the World Champions last season and a favorite to repeat this season is the strength of their rotation. Cole is a big part of that, as is Charlie Morton, who the Rockies will see on Wednesday night in the finale of the two-game series at Coors Field. Pitching won Houston a championship and has put the Astros on the path toward another one. That’s what Colorado manager Bud Black wants his young rotation to see and learn from.
"“Those are the type of games that you know going in are going to be well-pitched,” Black told Rox Pile and other media members after the game. “On our side, very proud of Tyler hanging in there against a guy like Cole. This is good stuff for Tyler, for (German) Marquez, for (Antonio) Senzatela, for (Jon) Gray, for (Kyle) Freeland to see Cole, to see Morton, to see (Justin) Verlander, to see (Dallas) Keuchel.“On the other side, they are where they are because of their pitching and that’s where we need to get to.”"
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Colorado believes in its young rotation and Anderson’s performance on Tuesday night gives them every reason to do just that. This is a Rockies team with a bright future on the mound … but with a lot still left to learn.
Having the Astros at Coors Field gives fans something new and exciting to see. An American League team considered one of the favorites for the Fall Classic. But Nolan Arenado said before the game that the Rockies don’t use these games as “measuring sticks.” The Rockies were in the postseason last year and aren’t measuring themselves against anyone, even the best of the best. They know they can get back to the postseason if they play as they have over the last 20 games or so.
Whatever happens in the finale tomorrow night and in the two-game set in Houston in August, Black hopes his young pitchers will take another step in their development and learn what it takes to become one of the best rotations in Major League Baseball. The blueprint is in the other dugout. Now the Rockies have to learn from it and emulate it.