Colorado Rockies morning after: Is an early issue a cause for concern?
For the second straight game, the Los Angeles Dodgers walked off Coors Field on Saturday night winners over the Colorado Rockies. And, for the second straight game, a part of the victory can be attributed to Rockies pitching being unable to finish off an inning.
Two-out pitching has been an early problem for the Colorado Rockies.
As we pointed out after Friday night’s loss to the Dodgers, with two outs in each of the first two innings, Antonio Senzatela gave up four combined runs on five combined hits. Dodgers hitters went 5-for-8 against the Rockies starter on Saturday with two outs in an inning.
So far in the three-game series, the Dodgers have scored 11 of their 22 runs with two outs in the inning. That includes five of the Dodgers’ six Saturday runs (in a 6-5 win), including what would eventually be the winning run during Mychal Givens’ time on the mound.
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In his first outing of the season, Givens retired the first two batters he faced on popups in the infield. Then, however, on a 1-1 pitch, Zach McKinstry, who came into the game in the bottom of the previous inning as part of a lineup swap with starting pitcher Walker Buehler departing the game, hit a towering shot to left that Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia almost snared, but would squirt out of his glove and end up as an inside-the-park home run, McKinstry’s first Major League homer.
Gavin Lux and Corey Seager would follow with walks (Seager’s being intentional after Lux stole second) before Chris Taylor hit the first pitch he saw from Givens for an RBI double and the capping moment of L.A.’s two-run eighth-inning burst.
Certainly it’s early in the season, but it’s something to watch. It’s something that Colorado manager Bud Black is watching, but also not too worried about … yet.
"“You just have to make pitches throughout the inning,” Black told me during the postgame media session. “But if you talk to those fellows, they’ll tell you that they’re not letting up. They’re trying to make pitches. We’ll continue to watch that for sure, just like you guys are.”"
Last season, with two outs and runners in scoring position, Rockies opponents hit at a .277 clip. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but that average is at .367 through Colorado’s first three games of this season.
So what’s the good news? It’s only three games into the season, and the Rockies have a chance to split the opening four-game set against the Dodgers with a win on Sunday. Closing out innings will go a long ways for the Rockies if they are to accomplish that goal.