Rockies 5, Dodgers 8
I'll give the Rockies this. They played a way better top of the 9th yesterday than they did on Sunday. They could have gone out there and swung blindly at everything, just trying to get the whole thing over with, but instead they took advantage of the Dodgers' severely weakened bullpen. For the most part, they took a lot of pitches and forced the Dodgers, especially poor Hong-Chih Kuo, to throw strikes. The result: 2 hits, 4 walks, a throwing error, a wild pitch, a bunch of advancing on defensive indifference, and 4 runs scored. There was still the usual inexcusable stuff, like Troy Tulowitzki hitting an infield pop-up with the bases loaded and only 1 out, but I'm impressed that they didn't throw in the towel simply because it was the final inning and they were down by 7.
Other things, not so impressive. Juan Nicasio is still a great pitcher, but he seems to lose a considerable amount of confidence when he's not at Coors Field. I don't know if I'll ever quite get over the irony of that. In the late '90s, the joy emanating from our pitchers when they got a chance to start on the road was palpable. Most of them still seem to prefer it. Not Nicasio. His home record is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.58, and he's averaging 6 2/3 innings per start. On the road, he's 0-3 with a 8.75 ERA and an average of 4 2/3 innings per start. I wish there was a way we could tool with the rotation and give him all home starts, but obviously that won't work since road trips are always longer than 5 days. Shrug. Hopefully maturity and coaching will work it out of him. In the meantime, last night he gave up 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out 5, mostly with his fastball.
Matt Reynolds and Matt Lindstrom did a perfectly adequate job in relief, combining for 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Reynolds got into a little bit of trouble, but Lindstrom was there to bail him out. Unfortunately, Esmil Rogers got into a lot of trouble. It was his first appearance since May 1st, when he came out of the bullpen to relieve a struggling Ubaldo Jimenez and gave up 4 runs in 1 inning. After that he was put on the disabled list, and is just now returning. Perhaps he might have benefited from another rehab start or seven. He pitched 1 inning last night in Los Angeles and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. Just like that appearance in May, he took the Rockies out of the game, since they ultimately lost by the margin of runs he allowed.
Other than that 9th inning, the offense did little to help out any of the pitchers. In the 2nd, back-to-back-to-back singles with 2 outs allowed 1 run to score, but that was it. And one of those singles was hit by Juan Nicasio, so one can only imagine where we would have been if he'd had an ordinary pitcher's at-bat. Otherwise, the Rockies seemed to have no clue how to face Rubby De La Rosa. He issued 4 walks in 6 innings, but because they could not get wood on his pitches, all of those runners were stranded.
Again, I will say that it's encouraging that the Rockies rallied in the 9th. Maybe some fight still remains in them. Against the Dodgers, the late innings are when offensive damage can be done, and must be done when the starter is a guy like Clayton Kershaw. So we may be holding our breaths for a long while tonight, in anticipation of a rally that might come. But might not.