Colorado Rockies morning after: Another win slips away
By Kevin Henry
If anything, Saturday night’s extra-inning loss by the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels served as a microcosm of what the 2020 campaign has been for the Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies certainly had their chances to keep momentum going from Friday night’s walkoff win. However, the offense couldn’t come up with the big hit when needed and the bullpen couldn’t keep the opponent from scoring late. The result was a 5-2 loss and another damaging defeat for a team trying to make a run at the postseason.
It was the 10th inning where the Rockies had the best chance to keep their winning ways going. After Colorado reliever Tyler Kinley sat the Angels down in order in the top of the 10th (including registering a pair of strikeouts), Colorado had its chance to win the game.
With Elias Diaz starting the inning at second under the new extra-inning rules for the 2020 season, Raimel Tapia converted on just his second-ever sacrifice bunt to move Diaz to third.
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The strategy, however, would fizzle for the Rockies as Trevor Story watched strike three go right over the heart of the plate and Nolan Arenado, after the Angels intentionally walked Charlie Blackmon to get to him, grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. That capped an 0-for-5 night for Arenado where he left six runners on base.
After the game, Colorado manager Bud Black told media that the Rockies had their chances to win.
"“We had an opportunity in the 10th, but (Ty) Buttrey threw a pitch to Trev that was a low fastball. He didn’t pull the trigger. That’s baseball,” Black said. “We had some chances along the way. Tonight it just didn’t go our way.”"
Black, however, refused to lay all of the blame on the inability to score in the 10th.
"“The whole ballgame is the collection from the first pitch of the game until the last,” Black said. “Obviously it gets magnified as it gets late.”"
Black is right as the Rockies had their chances throughout the game. Colorado was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Saturday’s loss. With a team that is now 10-21 since August 9 (the worst winning percentage during that stretch in the National League), those numbers simply can’t happen if there’s a chance of not only a Rocktober appearance, but more than just a first-round exit from the playoffs.
Our own Aaron Hurt wrote recently about how the Rockies needed their four 2019 All-Stars to play like All-Stars down the stretch for Colorado to bounce back from what has been a brutal stretch of baseball. Colorado only had six hits on Saturday night, and just three of those came from a combination of Blackmon, Arenado, Story, and David Dahl (who made his first start since returning from the injured list on September 9).
By the way, all six of those hits were singles. That’s the second time in Rockies history that the team had been limited to six or fewer hits, all singles, in an extra-innings game at home.
Sorry, but Colorado’s All-Stars didn’t play like they were on Saturday night. Kinley gave up the game-winning homer, but he never should have been put in that position after a golden opportunity to win in the 10th.
Despite all of that, Colorado will have a chance to win a series at home for the first time since the first week of August if they can pull off a victory on Sunday. It would also keep them heading in the right direction in the playoff standings with Oakland and the Dodgers still to come to Denver later this week.
Good things can still happen for the Rockies … but only if they can find a way to string together hits when needed. It worked for them on Friday night before Blackmon’s game-ending heroics. Now it has to happen plenty over the next 15 games if the Rockies are going to have a real chance of making the postseason.