I'm going to start with the good news, because I don't know about you, but I need some cheering up. The Rockies bullpen was great tonight. Matt Belisle, Felipe Paulino, and Franklin Morales each pitched a scoreless inning, and Belisle and Morales didn't give up a hit. Paulino's inning was a little bit more about luck: he gave up 2 hits but managed to get out of it with some key ground outs and an interference call on Hanley Ramirez (I say again - WHY do people think he is a better baseball player than Tulo??). And the relievers combined for 5 strikeouts. I'd say that's not a bad day's work.
But unfortunately, that's the only good news I have for you. The Rockies just did not look like themselves tonight. I wasn't so worried when they dropped the first two games of their series against the Giants earlier in the week, because the Giants are really good, and they'll be tough opponents all season. But the Marlins? Not the worst team in baseball, but certainly not one we should struggle so much against. All I need to know is that this problem is fixable. What I can't stomach is the thought that the first couple weeks of the season were the exception, and now we're settling into the rule. We all know that can't possibly be true; this team has too many talented players. Still, I can't help but feel a tiny bit of fear ...
What went wrong tonight? So many things to choose from. For starters, our starter. Jhoulys Chacin, so spot-on against the Cubs last week, was pretty uneven. He gave up lead-off home runs in the 1st and the 3rd. And in the 2nd, he gave up a walk and a double, followed by two ground outs that scored both those base runners. One can only assume that he just lost it on those few pitches and missed his locations, because the rest of the time he wasn't bad at all. After he gave up that first home run, to Chris Coghlan, and a single to Omar Infante, he struck out the next three batters swinging. He allowed at least one hit in each of the 5 innings he pitched, but managed to strand the runners in the 4th and 5th. The defense had a hand in things, too; a run would have scored in the 4th if Chris Iannetta hadn't made the throw to second that prevented Emilio Bonifacio from stealing. In all, it was not a classic Chacin performance, but it wasn't a blowout. In most circumstances I'd have expected the offense to make up the difference.
But that they did not do. The Rockies were 1-for-27 tonight, which is spectacularly bad no matter who you are and no matter who you're playing. It was a little deceptive looking at the scoreboard; because of the one run the Rockies scored in the 1st, it didn't really occur to me until the 5th inning or so that the Rockies had yet to actually hit the ball. But that was the case, and then suddenly it was the middle of the 8th and they STILL hadn't gotten a hit. Why? Got me. Anibal Sanchez, the Marlins' pitcher, is no slouch, but he's not really a star either. He won 13 games last year but lost 12. His WHIP was 1.34, so over the course of the 9 innings he pitched, the Rockies should've gotten on base roughly 12 times. Instead, they did it 3 times, each one a walk. Maybe this would be less alarming, but during their first game against the Giants on Monday, it took the Rockies till the 7th to get a hit. Is this a pattern all of a sudden?
The night's offensive "hero," which isn't really saying much, was Dexter Fowler. He scored the Rockies' only run; he walked, moved to 2nd on a passed ball, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on another ground out that was botched by a missed catch error. None of those things were hits. Dex did finally break up the no-hitter (thank goodness) with a single to right in the 9th. But then he got doubled off first when Jonathan Herrera hit a soft fly ball to left that looked like it was going to drop ... and was promptly caught by Scott Cousins. Even after the tag was made, Dex continued to stand on 2nd base, looking as though he didn't understand what had just happened.
Well, none of us did. All I can say about this game is, let's put it in the books and leave it there. I really hope this series isn't going to be another disappointment. We haven't even faced Josh Johnson yet.