Colorado Rockies morning after: Adversity comes calling

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 10: Jon Gray #55 of the Colorado Rockies stands on the mound as Kole Calhoun #56 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases on a solo home run during the first inning at Coors Field on August 10, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 10: Jon Gray #55 of the Colorado Rockies stands on the mound as Kole Calhoun #56 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases on a solo home run during the first inning at Coors Field on August 10, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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For the first time in 2020, the Colorado Rockies have adversity knocking on their door.

Entering Sunday with an 11-3 record, the Colorado Rockies dropped a decision in Seattle after the Mariners jumped on starter German Marquez and his lack of control with a first-inning homer and the Colorado offense couldn’t mount enough of a comeback in a 5-3 loss.

Monday was a different day and a different ballpark, with the Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks playing a Coors Field special to open a three-game set in downtown Denver, with Arizona grabbing a 12-7 win. Yes, there was plenty of offense for both sides throughout the game, but the game started much like the one in Seattle on Sunday, with Kole Calhoun hitting Jon Gray‘s first pitch of the night for a home run over the left field fence.

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Arizona scored two in the top of the first. Colorado responded with one in the bottom of the frame. The Diamondbacks put three more on the board in the top of the third. Colorado answered with two in the bottom. Back and forth, the offenses went early and often, with Gray and Arizona starter Robbie Ray just trying to keep the hits from falling in Coors Field’s spacious outfield.

The starting pitchers on Monday combined for seven innings of work and gave up 18 hits and 14 earned runs. Gray was hurt by hard-hit balls in the first inning, but was blooped to death the rest of the night. There’s the good news. The bad news is that his velocity was once again not where it should have been and he didn’t miss many bats, tallying just two strikeouts.

"“It wasn’t Jon’s night,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “They got some balls where we weren’t basically. That’s part of the game. The fastball location wasn’t good tonight for Jon, I thought.“They found some holes on good pitches. It just wasn’t Jon’s night. Things didn’t go his way.”"

Of course, it wasn’t just Gray who struggled to hold down Arizona hitters on Monday. Yency Almonte also saw his ERA balloon after being touched by four hits and three runs in an inning of work. James Pazos also gave up a run, seeing action for the first time since August 2.

This is the first time this season the Rockies have dropped consecutive games. It’s also the first time this season that there have been some serious questions raised about the pitching and its ability to hold down the opposition. Those two events happening at the same time is not a coincidence. Colorado’s pitching has carried the Rockies during the schedule’s first 14 games. It has stumbled over the last two.

Colorado entered Monday’s game with its opponents hitting .209 over the course of the season’s first quarter. Arizona expanded that average mightily on Monday, racking up 18 hits.

There were some positives on Monday as well. After a day off on Sunday, Nolan Arenado went 4-for-4 to raise his season average to .241. Charlie Blackmon continued his tremendous start at the plate with a 4-for-5 night, pushing his average to .484. Trevor Story and Chris Owings each went deep.

Next. What stats are saying about Colorado's usage of pitches in 2020. dark

Now at 11-5 on the season, there is plenty to like about the Rockies. However, Tuesday will mark the first time in 2020 that the Rockies will take the field looking to snap a losing skid. Adversity is knocking right now, but so is opportunity. In a shortened season, Colorado has done the work early to put themselves in position for a postseason berth. Now that work has to come back together on the mound and at the plate for the Rockies to have a chance to win their sixth series in six attempts this season.

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