Colorado Rockies morning after: So much for run differential
You know all of that talk around the country about the Colorado Rockies leading the National League West and having a negative run differential? Well, you can officially throw that out the window … at least for a day.
The Colorado Rockies scored in just two innings on Monday night. But when they scored, the floodgates opened … and swamped the visitors from the desert, drowning the Arizona Diamondbacks 13-2 to open a key four-game series at Coors Field.
Colorado came into the game with a -11 run differential in 142 games this season. They erased it in one night and the number now sits at zero. It’s just part of what has been a weird statistical season for these Rockies.
In just the latest of “the biggest series of the season” series to come to 20thand Blake, the Rockies have a golden opportunity to enhance their chances of making the postseason for the second straight year.
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With the Diamondbacks dropping three of four to the Atlanta Braves at home before coming to Denver, the Rockies can not only help themselves this week … but also do it at the expense of the team that ended their 2017 season in a painful one-game Wild Card loss.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers dropping a 10-6 decision in Cincinnati, the Rockies have regained a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers in the National League West. The Diamondbacks fell to 3.5 games back.
German Marquez made sure the Rockies got the series off on the right foot, striking out six batters in a row at one point, and Trevor Story added a towering three-run homer as part of a six-run fifth inning. That would be enough to spell Arizona’s doom … but the Rockies just kept stepping on the throats of the snakes.
After a first inning where Marquez gave up a leadoff triple to A.J. Pollock and an RBI single to Eduardo Escobar to open the game, the 23-year-old right-hander settled in from there. After getting Daniel Descalso to end the first, Marquez would allow just one hit (a third-inning single from Escobar) over the next four frames.
Marquez would finish with 11 strikeouts, marking the sixth time in his career he had double-digit Ks. It was also the fourth time this season he hit that mark … and the third consecutive game he had done it. Marquez is on a roll and keeping pace with Kyle Freeland and Jon Gray in the discussion about who is the Colorado ace.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s offense threatened against Arizona starter Zack Godley early and often but couldn’t break through on the scoreboard. That is, until the fifth inning when Godley and his Arizona teammates died by a thousand paper cuts.
The scorecard’s fifth inning read like this: Double, single, single on a supposed sacrifice bunt by Marquez, walk, walk, fielder’s choice (that Nolan Arenado barely beat out to avoid the double play) and lineout. That equated to a 3-1 Rockies lead.
But Story wasn’t ready for the Rockies to be done.
Just 1-for-15 with nine strikeouts since blasting his third home run in three at-bats against the San Francisco Giants on September 5 (yes, you can call it a mini-slump), Story took an 0-1 pitch from Arizona reliever Silvino Brach way over the Bridich Barrier for his 32nd homer of the season. His three-run bomb pushed the Rockies to a 6-1 lead.
His 32nd homer matches Troy Tulowitzki for the most ever hit by a Rockies shortstop.
And let’s not forget David Dahl coming through with a grand slam in the seventh inning to officially slam the door on the Diamondbacks. With one swing, Dahl, batting clean-up and smashing the homer after Arizona walked Arenado to load the bases, recorded his first-ever grand slam and career-high four RBI.
"“I feel like, lately when we’ve won games lately they have been very close, so it’s nice to get everything going and rolling,” Dahl told me and other reporters after the game. “Enjoy tonight and get ready for tomorrow because we have a big test with (Zack) Greinke.”"
That’s the beauty of baseball. Wins and losses don’t last very long. You don’t have much time to mourn or celebrate. You also don’t have much time to look at the run differential numbers. No matter what they have been or currently are, the Rockies are much more interested in the number of games they’re leading the division than the number of runs they outscore their opponents.