As 2020 comes to a close, we look back at some of the most memorable moments of the past season for the Colorado Rockies.
As September dawned, the Colorado Rockies had lost three of their last four games and finished August just below the .500 mark at 17-18 (after starting the season, as Rockies fans know all too well, 11-3). With the San Francisco Giants coming to town for a two-game matchup, the Rockies were hoping to duplicate the success they had had against San Francisco at the start of August when they had won three of four games against the Giants in Denver.
However, a night game opener against the Giants quickly spiraled out of control for the Rockies. In just 2.2 innings of work, starter Jon Gray gave up nine hits and seven earned runs (including a pair of homers from Alex Dickerson) as the Giants exploded to a 7-1 lead.
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It wouldn’t get any better for the Rockies that evening as San Francisco posted a 23-5 win, scoring in every inning but the ninth and tying the highest number of runs scored by the Giants since moving to San Francisco. Three different Giants (Dickerson, Brandon Crawford, and Donovan Solano) had six RBI, marking the first time in modern baseball (since 1920) that three teammates hit that RBI milestone.
San Francisco’s outburst was the worst outing of the season for reliever Jairo Diaz (six hits and seven runs allowed in 0.2 innings), who was one of five Rockies relievers to allow runs to the Giants.
Just how bad was it for the Colorado bullpen that night? Catcher Drew Butera is the pitcher who held the Giants off the scoreboard in the ninth, allowing a leadoff double to Dickerson (who went 5-for-6 in the contest) before retiring the next three San Francisco batters.
So, yeah, Tuesday night was bad for the Rockies … and things didn’t look so great for Colorado knowing that the two teams were turning around after a 3-hour-48-minute game and playing a matinee the next day.
However, just as the games were literally night and day, so were the performances from the Rockies in Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games.
There was a feeling of deja vu when San Francisco scored four runs in the first frame off starter Kyle Freeland. There was a feeling of “here we go again” when Freeland lasted just two innings, giving up eight hits. However, Colorado’s bullpen responded and the Rockies were able to fight back at the plate.
Ryan Castellani, Mychal Givens, Carlos Estevez, and Daniel Bard combined to allow just two hits and no walks while striking out seven over the final five innings as Colorado battled back from a 6-1 deficit to post a 9-6 win. The comeback was keyed by a five-run seventh inning where a combination of right fielder Charlie Blackmon (RBI double), center fielder Kevin Pillar (two-run triple), and left fielder Sam Hilliard (two-run home run) each contributed in a big way and showcased what Colorado’s outfield could do at the plate.
The final three innings from Givens, Estevez, and Bard showed Rockies fans how (in a perfect world) the Colorado bullpen could perform. It also gives hope for what the bullpen could do in 2021.
When the Rockies celebrated their Wednesday win, it capped a wild roller coaster of 22 hours in LoDo. It showed the worst the Rockies could look as well as one of their best performances of the season. It was, by far, one of the craziest back-to-back sequences of a season that was anything but normal.