Those first 14 stellar games for the Colorado Rockies almost seem like ancient history right now as the team finds itself in a deep funk at the moment.
After starting the season 11-3, the Colorado Rockies (now 12-8) have stumbled upon tough times … and those stumbles have happened primarily at Coors Field to compound the pain of losing five of their last six games.
Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Texas Rangers ensured the Rockies would lose their second consecutive series after winning their first five to open the campaign. Yes, certainly hard times are going to happen throughout the course of a Major League Baseball season, whether it’s 60 or 162 games. Tough stretches are going to happen as well. However, under the microscope of a shortened campaign, losses (and the mistakes that go into making those losses happen) are going to be, yes, more magnified.
Take for instance the plight of Trevor Story on Saturday. Colorado’s All-Star shortstop started the game with a triple and two doubles, each time putting him in scoring position with one out. Story never crossed the plate in any of those situations.
After our own Aaron Hurt wrote about the problems with the bottom of the Colorado batting order heading into Saturday’s affair, it was the heart of Colorado’s order that faltered when needed most against Texas.
Story went 3-for-5, but the five batters after him (Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Daniel Murphy, Matt Kemp, and Raimel Tapia) combined to go 2-for-17, with both of the hits coming in the eighth inning. Blackmon’s triple led to a run on Arenado’s sacrifice fly, but Murphy’s single was erased by Kemp’s double play ball.
In all, Colorado finished Saturday 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. For a team looking for a spark, there were little to be found. Texas seemed to be playing with emotion and momentum while the Rockies simply seemed to be looking for something, anything to rescue them from yet another loss.
“We had some guys on base. We didn’t string a lot of hits together, but they were out there,” Colorado manager Bud Black said after the game. “We just couldn’t get the single, the sac fly, you know, just enough to keep a little bit of momentum going to jumpstart the offense. You’re right, 1-for-13 sort of speaks for itself.”
Also on Saturday, Texas registered 13 hits, adding on to what has been a hit parade at Coors by Colorado’s opponents in recent games. Over the last five games, including Saturday, Colorado pitchers have surrendered an eye-popping 68 hits.
There are some red flags with the Rockies at the moment … and potentially on the horizon as well. Colorado is not only just at the start of a stretch without an off day (20 games in 20 days until September 3), but the competition will increase dramatically soon (a seven-game road swing against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks awaits later next week, followed by a four-game series in Denver against the San Diego Padres).
As the Rockies bullpen pitchers walked into the dugout after the Saturday loss, “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac played over the Coors Field loudspeakers. The Rockies can hope that Sunday will bring some sort of resurgence of timing at the plate and recapturing some of the early-season magic on the mound. Whatever it is, Colorado needs something positive to happen to help erase what has been a very forgettable homestand.