There was some good news and some bad news for the Colorado Rockies in a 13-6 loss Thursday night to open a four-game home series against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.
Let’s take a look at both the good news and the bad news for the Colorado Rockies.
First, the good news.
Connor Joe reached base four times and, in the process, extended his on-base streak to 29 games. He had the second-longest active streak in the Majors entering Thursday’s contest.
With a seventh-inning single, Brendan Rodgers extended his hitting streak to a career-long 20 games.
Charlie Blackmon reached base four times with four singles, his 25th career four-hit game and second of the 2022 season.
Jose Iglesias netted a pair of hits and has now hit safely in 13 consecutive games since May 17.
C.J. Cron swatted his 14th homer of the year, a two-run shot in the fifth, while Garrett Hampson added a solo blast in the sixth.
Now, for the bad news.
Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Austin Gomber was raked for 10 hits and nine earned runs in five innings. Six of the runs the left-hander allowed came via the bat of Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who belted a two-run homer off Gomber in the third inning then followed with a grand slam in the fifth.
d’Arnaud, who finished with six runs batted in, was one of three Braves to collect three hits as every starting Atlanta position player garnered at least one hit.
Right-hander Ty Blach did not fare much better in relief of Gomber, permitting seven hits and four earned runs in three innings. Gomber and Blach combined to allow 17 of the 18 hits in the game by the Braves (24-27).
Colorado pitching has now allowed 39 runs in the last three games (14, 12, 13) over the span of two days.
With the loss, the Rockies (23-28) have dropped 17 of their last 23 games, dating back to May 8, for a Major League-worst .261 winning percentage during that time. The 6-17 mark since May 8 includes a 5-8 record at Coors Field.
While getting 13 hits, Colorado also hit into three double plays to squelch possible big innings.
Once again, the Rox could not complete a game error-free. A second-inning fielding miscue was their 42nd of the season. The team topped the Majors in errors entering action Thursday.
All in all, the bad news for the Rockies outweighs the good news with the end result being a lopsided loss in front of the home fans.
Once again, a Rox starter was not able to go into the sixth inning as Gomber was pulled by manager Bud Black after five innings on Thursday.
The nine runs permitted by Gomber matched his career high and came on the heels of allowing eight earned runs in just 1.1 innings in his last start May 28 against Washington.
Gomber is the third pitcher in franchise history to surrender eight or more runs in back-to-back starts and the first since 1998.
In his post-game comments to media, including Rox Pile, Black stressed the importance of consistency from the starting rotation for the Rockies to have success.
“It’s going to be extremely key moving forward to have consistent performances from the rotation,” he said. “We just haven’t had it. The last couple of starts here. have been rough.
“So, collectively as a group,” he added, “those guys — there are six of them now — they have to perform. So, bullpen sessions. Really, really getting into some of the scouting reports. It comes down to making pitches. That’s what it comes down to. You got to make pitches, and if you don’t, the opposition is going to hand it to you. That’s the key.”
Black said that the team’s offense shouldn’t be expected to carry the team alone.
“It’s awful hard to do it offensively every night, to outscore the opponent if you are not pitching well,” he said. “So, starting pitching has to do their thing and the bullpens have been a little bit too variable, too. So, the pitching recently-in the last three weeks—has not been where it needs to be.”
With Joe batting leadoff and Blackmon, hitting right behind him in the order, set the table for the offense with each reaching base on their first four trips to the plate. Joe scored three times while Blackmon tallied one run.
“Charlie’s in a good spot,” Black said about Blackmon’s four-hit performance. ”Connor, again, two walks, two doubles. Good game for him.
“We had some guys on base. We had, what, 12, 13 hits and a couple of walks?We had some guys out there and we hit into three double plays that obviously hurt.”
After his three-homer performance, including a two-run walk-off blast in the 10th inning of the second game of a doubleheader, a night earlier against Miami, Rodgers followed up by extending his hitting streak to 20 games to mark the ninth hitting streak of at least 20 games by a Rockies player in franchise history,
“It felt good to get that hit, get that streak, keep it alive,” Rodgers told Rox Pile. “It’s a huge number. It’s something I don’t think I ever accomplished before and I am definitely proud of it. I am just going to try to keep continuing to put together good at bats and see how long it goes.”
Game 2 of the four-game series with the Braves is set for 6:10 p.m. (Mountain time) Friday. RIght-hander Chad Kuhl (4-2, 3.56 earned run average) is slated to take the mound for the Rox while left-hander Max Fried (5-2, 3.10) is the Braves’ scheduled starter.
The game will be broadcast exclusively on Apple TV+ as part of its Friday Night Baseball package.