Colorado Rockies morning after: RyMac and the return of LoDo Magic
By Kevin Henry
For eight innings on Saturday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers held the upper hand. A Dodgers middle infield acquired at the trade deadline was making defensive play after defensive play, snuffing out the Colorado Rockies as they tried to piece together some kind of offense.
Colorado simply couldn’t buy a hit. Through eight frames, the Rockies had four singles. That was it. But then a funny thing happened … for the second straight game. The Dodgers bullpen once again looked much like their Colorado Rockies colleagues in recent games … and Ryan McMahon once again took advantage of their inability to close out a contest.
McMahon’s three-run, two-out, ninth-inning blast put a jolt in the crowd of 47,633 at Coors Field on Saturday night, pushing the Rockies to a 3-2 victory and right back in the thick of the National League West and Wild Card race.
And it came one night after McMahon launched a seventh-inning homer to give the Rockies a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in a 5-4 decision.
Many were quick to say the season was over after heart-breaking losses in Milwaukee and St. Louis. Those same people were probably at Mile High Stadium watching a preseason football game on Saturday night.
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No local TV or radio stations were present on Saturday night at Coors Field. They were all four miles away watching the Denver Broncos host the Minnesota Vikings at whatever they’re calling Mile High Stadium now. Covering a preseason football opener over critical division baseball series? Maybe not the wisest decision, especially seeing the electricity that was pulsating through Coors Field after McMahon’s heroics.
In the end, it doesn’t matter who chose what or where the cameras were. What does matter is that McMahon once again was a Dodgers killer and the Rockies moved within 1.5 games of the National League West lead. Hometown hero Kyle Freeland once again spun a tremendous game, posting a career-high 10 strikeouts and keeping Colorado within striking distance. Even with Nolan Arenado out of the starting lineup with a sore shoulder, the Rockies figured out how to win … and did it with the kid who was taking Arenado’s place at the hot corner. Oh the irony.
Saturday night had all of the feels at 20thand Blake. It’s what baseball is supposed to feel like in the 57th home game of the season. Every game matters … and division games matter just a little more.
There is more to this Rockies team than Arenado and Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu and Trevor Story, who combined to go 1-for-10 on the night. Colorado manager Bud Black has told us all season it’s going to take all 25 guys on the roster to get the Rockies to where they want to be. Well, it’s McMahon quickly gaining legend status and etching his name in the franchise record books. It’s Freeland continuing to prove you can pitch at altitude. It’s Seunghwan Oh, proving his worth as Colorado’s lone trade deadline move. It’s even Bryan Shaw, throwing a shutout inning on Saturday night with what Black said was some of his best stuff of the season.
And back to that 1-for-10 combined outing between the four big Rockies bats? That one hit came in the ninth inning when Story roped a one-out double down the left field line. Another that doesn’t show in that line was Arenado getting plunked in his pinch-hit appearance, keeping the ninth-inning rally moving along.
Remember earlier in the season when the Rockies couldn’t win at home? Times have changed. Colorado has gone 19-7 at Coors Field since June 18, including 15-5 since July 2. Maybe, just maybe, LoDo magic is back … and not a moment too soon.
There is still plenty of baseball to play and there are plenty of defining moments left in the season. However, for one night in the middle of August, with football season knocking on the door, it sure felt like Rocktober again in LoDo.