ESPN published its list of “the most miserable fan bases in pro sports” on Sept. 29, and the Colorado Rockies are ranked a respectable 18th (arguably too low, given they’re behind two teams with World Series titles). Yes, we are masochists. While the Rockies reached the NLDS and went 91-72 in 2018 – a successful year by Rockies standards – there was no shortage of agonizing losses to build on the misery we’ve accumulated over 25 seasons.
The following are five of this season’s most horrifying defeats (just in time for Halloween). And keep in mind – though I probably don’t need to remind you – the Colorado Rockies needed just one more win to grab the organization’s first division title.
The Rockies entered this game with a three-game lead over the Dodgers and a 30-27 record. However, the previous night was a dismal 11-8 loss featuring a sixth-inning Brooks Pounders implosion, while the Rockies continued to struggle at Coors Field.
But the destruction of Pound Town had nothing on the horror of the seventh inning on June 2 — broadcast in front of a national television audience, no less.
German Marquez and young Dodgers phenom Walker Buehler (both not quite in “ace form” yet) allowed four runs each, leaving the game tied 4-4 going into the seventh inning. But a winnable game quickly descended into a nightmare. Bryan Shaw — still with manager Bud Black’s trust — gave up two singles to Chris Taylor and Justin Turner. After a groundout scored Taylor, the resurrected Rockie-killer Matt Kemp smashed a hanging breaking ball into the left-field bleachers to give the Dodgers a 7-4 lead.
Mike Dunn tried to get the Rockies out of the inning, but instead loaded the bases (walk, single, walk) without managing an out. Breyvic Valera — soon to be sent to the Baltimore Orioles, poor guy — hit a groundball up the middle on a bad slider and knocked in two runs.
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At this point, the Rockies relievers were King Arthur’s knights being sent into the killer bunny’s cave. Harrison Musgrave couldn’t stop the bleeding, loading the bases with a walk and scoring Yasiel Puig on a wild pitch. Taylor (yes, the Dodgers batted around with just one out) hit a ball into the left-field gap for a two-run triple.
The game was the beginning of a disastrous month for the Colorado bullpen. Shaw was a wreck — his June ERA was 12.96 — while Dunn quickly and mercifully went on the disabled list. Rockies relievers had a Major League-worst 7.78 ERA in the month of June and allowed 84 runs.
The relief core would come around eventually, but it felt like Jeff Bridich’s “super bullpen” was devolving into a blooper bullpen.