Rockies

Nolan Arenado pushes his way back into the Rockies lineup. And Ryan McMahon will wait.
Nolan Arenado barely needed much lobbying to get himself into the Rockies’ lineup Tuesday. Colorado’s all-star third baseman, with batting gloves on and a bat in his hand, spoke just four words to his manager as they passed each other in the clubhouse hallway. “I think he’d just come from the cage,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “I said: ‘Hi, Nolan. How you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m good to go.’ And we just passed each other in the hall and that was it. So I immediately kept going and saw (bench coach) Mike Redmond. And I said, ‘Red, Nolan is in the lineup.’ He said: ‘I know. I talked to him earlier.’” Arenado on Monday estimated he would miss two or three games with a bone bruise on his left hand, after he was hit by a pitch in Miami on Sunday. “It’s definitely bothering me,” he said. By Monday night, Arenado had talked himself into a pinch-hitting situation, batting in the eighth spot in the seventh inning. He popped out, but his swings looked healthy. Then he tried to sneak to third base. “Little did I know he was going to try to take the field,” Black said. “That wasn’t in the game plan. That’s like a Little Leaguer, when little Johnny runs out to right field. ‘No, Johnny, that’s Billy’s position.’” By Tuesday, Arenado was back in the starting lineup. The swelling in his hand decreased enough that it didn’t affect his swing. Black called his return “a bonanza” for the Rockies. They were prepared multiple days without their Gold Glove corner infielder. McMahon waiting. In the one game Arenado did not start, Black used utility infielder Pat Valaika at third base. He considered, but decided against, giving recent call-up Ryan McMahon the start. Since his call-up Friday, McMahon has started one game, at first base in place of Mark Reynolds. “It’s been pretty surreal,” McMahon said. “But this team is in a playoff push right now. I need to kick the nerves and get ready to help any way I can.” Related ArticlesAugust 15, 2017 Rare E-5 on Nolan Arenado leads Atlanta to an unlikely victory over the Rockies at Coors Field August 15, 2017 With Chad Bettis back, Rockies found an acquisition hiding in full view. Their rotation seems set. August 14, 2017 Chad Bettis returns to the Rockies with flair in a commanding outing against the Braves at Coors Field August 14, 2017 Ryan Howard debuts for the Rockies in the minors saying: “Get me to the plate” August 14, 2017 Nolan Arenado dodges the disabled list, to Rockies’ relief, but he will miss time McMahon, Black said, will be used primarily as a backup first and second baseman, for however long his first stint in the majors lasts. “Mac hasn’t played a lot of third base this season,” Black said. “He’s played a lot more on the right side — even going back to last year, the conversion to first base in Double-A, and he played a lot of first base in the fall league. Not that he couldn’t go to third base and feel comfortable, but to have his second major-league start at third base might not be the right thing to do. But we did think about it.” Bullpen boon. With Kyle Freeland back in the starting rotation, the Rockies now have three former starters in the bullpen: veteran Tyler Chatwood, rookie Antonio Senzatela and left-hander Chris Rusin. But they will not necessarily be confined to long-relief roles. “They can all be used in different types of situations,” Black said. Rusin and Chatwood, over the past week, both pitched in spot relief and longer stints. They may be used in matchup situations, as late-inning setup men or long relief. “Those are three major-league pitchers. The more major-league pitchers you have, the better off you’re going to be.” Footnotes. LHP Tyler Anderson (left knee surgery) pitched his second proper bullpen session Tuesday. He is working to strengthen the thigh muscle on his plant leg above the knee. “He’s going to pitch this year,” Black said. … Outfielder Ian Desmond (right calf strain) did more hard running work and hit in batting practice. But there is no timeline for his return… To make room for Freeland, the Rockies optioned lefty reliever Zac Rosscup to Triple-A Albuquerque. Looking ahead David Zalubowski, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starter Jon Gray delivers a pitch to San Diego Padres' Manuel Margot in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 19, 2017, in Denver.Jeff Roberson, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, July 25, [...]
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Rare E-5 on Nolan Arenado leads Atlanta to an unlikely victory over the Rockies at Coors Field
Something radically improbable squirted away into the dirt around first base Tuesday night at Coors Field: a Nolan Arenado error. In 305 fielding chances this season, Colorado’s five-time Gold Glove-winning third baseman had misplayed a baseball on just four occasions — and never on a groundball so routine as the one he saw in the eighth inning of the Rockies’ 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. “I don’t expect to make errors. But they happen, unfortunately. I’m human,” Arenado said. “It’s unacceptable. I have to make that play. I didn’t this time and we lost.” The Rockies blasted three home runs, but all were solo shots. Rookie starter Kyle Freeland gave up just four hits, but three for runs. And the Rockies’ offense, their supposed hallmark, failed to score more than three runs in an eighth consecutive game. Colorado (66-53) also lost a chance to add a cushion in the National League wild-card chase after Arizona (66-53) and St. Louis (61-58) also lost. But no detail caused more double-takes than Arenado’s skip-throw in the eighth. With two outs in a 3-3 game and Atlanta’s Brandon Phillips stuck on second base, right-handed reliever Pat Neshek forced Tyler Flowers into a soft chopper toward third. Arenado corralled the grounder like the thousands of fungoes he fields every season in a daily practice routine that borders on obsessiveness. He hopped into a throwing motion and fired toward first baseman Mark Reynolds. But the throw fell short and skipped through the dirt, and as the ball bounced away, Phillips sprinted home for the go-ahead run. “I short-armed it and didn’t get enough on the throw,” Arenado said. “Just a bad error at a bad time.” Reynolds explained the error in terms of misfortune: “It was kind of a ‘tweener’ hop,” he said. “Long hops and shorthops, I’m good at. I don’t think he threw it hard, so it was kind of a changeup ‘tweener.’ He’s the best over there. People mess up. I feel bad I didn’t pick it up or at least keep it close. Tough luck.” Phillips, Atlanta’s third baseman, commiserated. “You have the guy who never makes errors at third base make an error like that,” Phillips said. “It shows you he’s human.” Arenado’s place in Tuesday’s game was doubtful even the day before, after his left hand swelled with a bone bruise caused by an errant pitch Sunday in Miami. He lobbied his way into the lineup, and it was working for the Rockies. Arenado homered in the first inning to give them an early lead. Boxscore: Atlanta 4, Colorado 3 Runs for the Rockies came piecemeal. Arenado redirected a low-zone Sean Newcomb 97 mph fastball to dead center for a solo shot. Midafternoon a day earlier, Arenado could barely grip a bat, let alone swing one. But he tied Charlie Blackmon for the club lead with 27 home runs. In the fourth inning, Reynolds led off by jerking a changeup from Newcomb into the left field seats, an arced shot that seemingly nipped the clouds in its long hang time. It was Reynolds’ 24th homer this season, but his first since Aug. 3 and second since July 23. His was not the only Colorado leadoff homer. Trevor Story shot-putted a solo job over the right-field fence in the fifth inning, victimizing another Newcomb fastball, this one in a 2-0 count, for his 16th home run of the season. Story hit 27 homers in an injury-shortened, 97-game rookie season in 2016, but he had not hit one out before Tuesday since July 29. Related ArticlesAugust 15, 2017 Nolan Arenado pushes his way back into the Rockies lineup. And Ryan McMahon will wait. August 15, 2017 With Chad Bettis back, Rockies found an acquisition hiding in full view. Their rotation seems set. August 14, 2017 Chad Bettis returns to the Rockies with flair in a commanding outing against the Braves at Coors Field August 14, 2017 Ryan Howard debuts for the Rockies in the minors saying: “Get me to the plate” August 14, 2017 Nolan Arenado dodges the disabled list, to Rockies’ relief, but he will miss time Freeland returned to the Rockies’ rotation after a minimum stint on the disabled list to help heal a strained left groin muscle. He picked up where he left off, tossing a 13th quality start (at least six innings and no more than three earned runs) with a workmanlike performance. He gave up only four hits, and no more than one in an inning. Atlanta took an early lead with just one hit, after Freeland walked Flowers to lead off the second inning and walked Lane Adams three batters later, and then rookie Dansby Swanson lined a two-run double to the left-field corner. The Braves’ second hit was another double, Freddie Freeman’s one-hopper off the right field [...]
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Chad Bettis returns to the Rockies with flair in a commanding outing against the Braves at Coors Field
Cancer sneaked up on Chad Bettis twice — first in November, when a tumor appeared he could not explain, then again in February, when blood cells he could not see threatened his life. Baseball never vanished. He just looked in the other direction. By Monday morning, he could no longer ignore the onrush of his first game since last September. The thought of pitching again knocked him in the face. “It crept in when I woke up,” Bettis said, his eyes swelling. “Just thinking about everything that happened, everything my family went through. I was holding back tears until the game started.” BOX SCORE: Rockies 3, Braves 0 His time arrived Monday night at Coors Field as the Rockies started a vital four-game series against the Atlanta Braves with a 3-0 victory. The Rockies’ veteran right-hander, the senior member of a pitching rotation with its sights set on the postseason, returned to pitch for the first time this season, and with flair, throwing seven scoreless innings and allowing just six hits. Bettis got a no-decision for his efforts, departing a 0-0 game, but Colorado finally got on the board in the eighth, thanks to Charlie Blackmon‘s leadoff triple. A single by Gerardo Parra scored Blackmon, and a two-run single by Carlos Gonzalez gave the Rockies a 3-0 lead that held as final. The game, though, belonged to Bettis. After surgery to remove testicular cancer in December and nine weeks of chemotherapy in the spring while Colorado started its season on a tear, as his hair fell out and medicine racked his body and exhausted his strength, Bettis was back on a pitching mound as though he had never left. “What he went through is way more important than baseball. But he loves the game. That’s why he’s back,” Rockies all-star third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “To go through that and now he’s here to help us with a playoff run, it’s a big deal.” When Bettis walked in from the bullpen toward the Rockies dugout before his first pitch, a wave of applause from fans in the stands followed him down the right-field line. This is the man who led the Rockies in victories (14) and innings pitched (186) last season, the veteran member of a staff that otherwise averages a green age of 24 years, with three rookies. He is the pitcher who guided 24-year-old right-hander Jeff Hoffman through his first professional slump late in spring training, the sage who helped teach Jon Gray to throw a curveball. And after beating cancer, Coors Field and its acres of outfield suddenly felt smaller with Bettis on the mound. His team seemed especially amped. Ender Inciarte’s line drive to lead off the game skipped past Gerardo Parra in left field, but Parra tag-teamed a relay throw with shortstop Trevor Story to throw out the runner trying to stretch an inside-the-park home run. “I went from incredibly high to ‘oh, no,’” Bettis said. “But Parra ended up making a spectacular play. To see guys give their 100 percent effort for me is all I can ask for.” Their defense extended around Coors Field. DJ LeMahieu slid on his knees to snare Danny Santana’s hot shot toward right field in the fourth and threw him out to end the inning and save a run. In the fifth, Bettis kept Dansby Swanson at second base after a one-out double. In the sixth, Bettis caught Nick Markakis looking at an 84 mph changeup to end a three-up, three-down inning with a strikeout. “Man, this day feels like it went by so fast, but so slow,” Bettis said. “I don’t think I was really in tune with what was going on until the fifth. Just so many emotions and I was trying to get them under control, but it was taking longer than I expected.” Related ArticlesAugust 14, 2017 Ryan Howard debuts for the Rockies in the minors saying: “Get me to the plate” August 14, 2017 Nolan Arenado dodges the disabled list, to Rockies’ relief, but he will miss time August 14, 2017 Rockies vs. Braves Gametracker: Chad Bettis returns to mound after battle with cancer August 13, 2017 Rockies’ Nolan Arenado dodges broken hand, hopes he can avoid DL August 13, 2017 Nolan Arenado injures hand as Rockies lose to Marlins, get swept in Miami Bettis’ comeback was watched by players and fans throughout the majors. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon underwent surgery to remove testicular cancer on May 8, while Bettis was recovering from chemotherapy, and the Rockies pitcher sent Taillon a text message of encouragement. Taillon later heard Bettis was attempting to pitch again this season — considered a longshot when he left spring training — but Taillon never blanched at the idea and he promised to tune in. “A lot of people saw that and thought, ‘Oh, that’s cool. He wants [...]
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Rockies’ Nolan Arenado dodges broken hand, hopes he can avoid DL
MIAMI — His left hand was thickly bandaged, but Rockies all-star third baseman Nolan Arenado was able to breathe a sigh of relief after escaping serious injury Sunday at Marlins Park. “It hurts pretty bad, and it got really tight and that was my concern,” Arenado said in the clubhouse after the Rockies’ 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins. “Luckily it’s not broken, but it hurts and it’s going to take some time, hopefully just a couple of days. But it hurts pretty bad right now.” Colorado’s National League MVP candidate departed from the game in the fifth inning after getting drilled on a pitch by Vance Worley. Worley’s inside fastball struck Arenado between the wrist and his left pinkie, catching the fleshy part of his hand. Fortunately for Arenado, X-rays were negative, and the Rockies are officially calling the injury a contusion. Arenado said he didn’t think he would have to go on the 10-day disabled list, but he’ll probably be out at least a few games. “It’s kind of tough to move my pinkie right now,” he said. “But it is what it is. They don’t think I’ll have to (go on the DL), but we will see over the next couple of days. We’ll see if I can start gripping a bat. If not, then there is that possibility.” After he was hit, Arenado was in considerable pain and almost immediately left the field and went into the Rockies’ clubhouse. “Anytime (a player) gets hit in the hand, you are always concerned, for sure,” manager Bud Black said. “Players instinctively know that they can be in trouble. I think that’s why you saw that Nolan’s path was right from the dugout.  … So that told me that this was a pretty direct hit and that we might have some trouble. So in the long run, it’s great news.” Arenado is batting .311 with 26 home runs and a major league-high 100 RBIs. Bettis is back. When the Rockies host Atlanta on Monday at Coors Field, it will mark the first time right-handed starter Chad Bettis will pitch in a major-league game since being diagnosed with testicular cancer last November and then enduring nine weeks of chemotherapy this spring. “He’s super excited. He’s super pumped, as are we to get him back,” said Black, who talked to Bettis on Saturday. “It’s going to be a really good day tomorrow in Denver. I mean, everyone should feel good about this one.” Bettis made six minor-league starts between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque to prepare for his return. He pitched 23⅓ innings, posting an 0-3 record and a 4.24 ERA. Black said Monday would be emotional for the entire team. “To see a guy go through what’s Chad’s had to go through, and see him work his butt off … and go through chemotherapy, to where he is now, what a great story for all of us, but especially Chad and his family,” Black said. Rotation set. Black announced that rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland will start Tuesday night’s game against the Braves after coming off the DL. Freeland departed from his last start against Philadelphia on Aug. 4 in the first inning with a strained left groin. Black said Freeland (11-7, 3.70 ERA) didn’t need a rehab start before rejoining the Rockies’ rotation. “We put Kyle through his paces (Saturday) with a very intense bullpen,” Black said. “He took batting practice. He ran. He did a lot of agility stuff. He did some pitcher’s fielding practice. Our guys put him through the paces, and he responded.” The rest of the Rockies’ rotation vs. the Braves will feature right-hander Jon Gray on Wednesday and rookie right-hander Jeff Hoffman on Thursday. Looking ahead … Photo courtesy of Chad BettisChad Bettis, his wife, Kristian, and their infant daughter, Everleigh.Photo courtesy of Chad BettisChad Bettis, his wife, Kristian, and their infant daughter, Everleigh.Stephen Spillman, Special to the Denver PostRockies pitcher Chad Bettis (35) waits for Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill to pull him from the mound at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017.Stephen Spillman, Special to the Denver PostAlbuquerque Isotopes pitcher Chad Bettis throws against the Round Rock Express at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017.Stephen Spillman, Special to the Denver PostAlbuquerque Isotopes pitcher Chad Bettis prepares to throw against the Round Rock Express at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. Stephen Spillman, Special to the Denver PostAlbuquerque Isotopes pitcher Chad Bettis throws in the bullpen at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. Show Caption of Expand Braves RHP Julio Teheran (7-10, 5.25 ERA) at Rockies RHP Chad Bettis (2017 debut), 6:40 p.m. Monday, AT&T SportsNet; 850 AM Related ArticlesA [...]
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Frank Robinson honors teammate Don Baylor at Texas memorial
AUSTIN, Texas — Players who crossed paths with former MVP Don Baylor in his 19-year major league career paid their last respects Saturday at the memorial service for a popular player known as “Groove.” KXAN-TV reports Hall of Famer Frank Robinson recalled coining the nickname for his former teammate, after Baylor used that word in an interview to describe getting a couple hits that broke his slump. “He said, ‘I’m going now, I’m on my way. I’m in the groove, I’m in the groove.’ I pinned that name on him. I said from now on Don, you are groove,” Robinson said. Robinson acknowledged he “wasn’t too friendly with too many people in baseball” but said there was nothing bad he could say about Baylor, the 1979 American League MVP who died Monday after a 14-year battle with cancer. Others who attended the memorial service Saturday at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church included MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and Baylor’s longtime teammate, Bobby Grich. Grich shared stories from several players who felt Baylor’s guidance in their career. [...]
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Nolan Arenado ejected as Rockies fall to Marlins
MIAMI — Rockies frustration reached a fever pitch Saturday night in a 4-3 loss to Miami at Marlins Park. All-star third baseman Nolan Arenado was ejected for throwing his bat to the ground in anger after striking out on a checked swing in the seventh inning. First-base umpire Pat Hoberg gave Arenado a quick thumb and Arenado raced down to first to plead his case. No matter. The ejection stood and Arenado got tossed for just the third time in his career. He was replaced by Pat Valaika. “I was mostly mad at myself, but I can see why he threw me out,” Arenado said. “I said some words I probably shouldn’t have said toward him, so I can see why I got thrown out. “I was just more upset at my at-bats tonight, especially that last one. I got mad and he threw me out. I’m not surprised. I didn’t mean it toward him, but then I saw the replay and I can definitely see why he threw me out.” Bench coach Mike Redmond, filling in for manager Bud Black, who was ill Saturday night, thought Hoberg made a mistake. “He told me that he’s been instructed to do that when a guys throws his bat and then looks at him,” Redmon said. “I explained to him, in the calmest voice that I have, that I thought he was wrong. … But the damage had already been done.” The overriding themes of the evening were the plight of the Rockies’ struggling offense, the jaw-dropping power of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton and the Rockies’ mounting road woes. They fell to 30-30 away from home after losing for the 20th time in their last 26 road games. Colorado went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and is 3-for-27 with runners in scoring position four games into a five-game road trip. There was one ray of good news. Carlos Gonzalez collected his first RBI on the road since May 24 when he grounded out to second in the eighth, chasing home Mark Reynolds, to cut Miami’s lead to 4-3. Rockies infield prospect Ryan McMahon made his big-league debut in the eighth with two outs and runners at first and second, but he flew out to center fielder Christian Yelich. Asked about his team’s recent performance with runners in scoring position, Arenado  said: “Not good. We have to do better, all of us, including myself. I had a chance to drive in runs yesterday and again today. Everyone, from top to bottom, we need to be better.” Stanton blasted a three-run, speed-of-light homer off starter’s  Jeff Hoffman’s  hanging slider in the fourth, giving the Marlins a 4-1 lead. It was Stanton’s eighth homer in nine games and his 20th in his last 32 games. The ball came off his bat at 114 mph and Colorado left fielder Gerardo Parra barely moved as the ball sailed over his head. “With as hot as he is, you can’t afford to make a mistake like that,” Hoffman said. Related ArticlesAugust 12, 2017 Ryan Howard, former NL MVP, signs minor-league deal with Rockies August 12, 2017 Rockies manager Bud Black, feeling “under the weather,” to miss Saturday’s game with Marlins August 12, 2017 Saunders: RBIs help define Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, and he’s proud of it August 11, 2017 Rockies lose to Marlins as Jake McGee falters in the eighth inning August 11, 2017 Ryan McMahon, one of Rockies’ top prospects, called up to major-league club Meanwhile, the National League wild-card race continues to get muddier as September nears. Colorado entered the night as the NL’s top wild-card team, with a one-game edge over Arizona. Streaking St. Louis won its eighth consecutive game and has entered the picture as a challenger for either the NL Central title or a wild-card berth. The Cardinals are just 4 ½ games behind the Rockies. Hoffman was gone after five so-so innings, having surrendering four runs on seven hits, with three walks and only one strikeout. Redmond praised Hoffman for the way he “battled,” but acknowledge that Hoffman didn’t have his best stuff. Hoffman’s command was clearly off kilter even in the third inning when the Marlins loaded the bases on singles by Stanton, Christian Yelich and a four-pitch walk to J.T. Realmuto, who took exception to a fastball near his head and stared Hoffman down. But Hoffman escaped by getting Derek Deitrich to fly out to center, keeping the game tied 1-1. Colorado scored first, in the first. Charlie Blackmon (4-for-5) led off with a single and stole second base, his 10th swipe this season. Blackmon took third on a fly out and scored on Mark Reynolds’ single. Miami knotted the game in the bottom of the frame on a screeching double by Stanton, a walk by Yelich, a Hoffman wild pitch and an RBI groundout by Marcell Ozuna.   [...]
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Nats’ Bryce Harper leaves game with apparent left knee injury
WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper left the Washington Nationals’ game against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night with an apparent left knee injury. While running out a ground ball to the right side of the infield in the first inning, Harper avoided contact with first baseman Ryder Jones and slipped on the base. His leg buckled, he went airborne and fell to the ground. Harper clutched at his left knee after going down and was attended to by trainers. The star outfielder put no weight on his left leg as he was helped off the field by hitting coach Rick Schu and head athletic trainer Paul Lessard. The game began just after 10 p.m. following a 3-hour rain delay. Harper was replaced by Andrew Stevenson, who took over in center field with Brian Goodwin moving to right. Scary moment in D.C. Bryce Harper suffers left leg injury and has to be helped off the field after slipping on first base. pic.twitter.com/rtsxIKOLWr — SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 13, 2017 Harper, the 2015 NL MVP, is hitting .327 with 26 home runs and 81 RBIs this season. He played in 103 of Washington’s first 113 games. Because of a bevy of injuries, the Nationals have used 12 outfielders this season. They have been without Adam Eaton since late April because of a torn ACL in his left knee that ended his season, Jayson Werth since early June because of a bruised left foot and Michael Taylor since July with a right oblique strain. The Nationals lead the NL East by 14 games despite those injuries and more to starters Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, relievers Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover and shortstop Trea Turner, but a long-term injury to Harper would be devastating to their prospects in October. Related ArticlesAugust 12, 2017 Nolan Arenado ejected as Rockies fall to Marlins August 12, 2017 Ryan Howard, former NL MVP, signs minor-league deal with Rockies [...]
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Rockies lose to Marlins as Jake McGee falters in the eighth inning
MIAMI — Some Rockies players went deep-sea fishing here Thursday on their day off. Friday night, they let a big one get away. Miami rallied to beat the Rockies 6-3 at Marlins Park, spoiling a milestone night for Nolan Arenado and derailing Colorado’s chance to gain some ground in the National League wild-card race. Reliever Jake McGee, making his second appearance since coming off the disabled list, got roasted in the Marlins’ game-turning eighth inning, giving up three runs in one-third of an inning. Miami’s rally included a bloop RBI single by Derek Dietrich and a two-run triple by Tomas Telis. McGee, not as sharp has he has been most of the season, also walked Marcell Ozuna, much to the consternation of manager Bud Black. “I was just a little off tonight, and when I needed to make a few pitches, I left some over the middle of the plate,” said McGee, now 0-2 with a 3.77 ERA. “I had a few chances to get out of it. I thought I had Deitrich there, but he got a little bloop hit. And then Ozuna had a really good at-bat, and dragged it on a little bit. But at the end of the day I just have to (have) a little bit better location with my pitches.” Although the loss landed on McGee’s shoulders, starter Jon Gray shared the burden. The game presented the right-hander with an opportunity to take command and shut down the Marlins in ace-like fashion. He was unable to. Gray was spotted leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but he couldn’t hold them. Gray did pull off a nice high-wire act in the fifth, coming away with just a single run against him as Colorado held onto a 2-1 lead. Back-to-back singles by Dietrich and Telis set up a possible big inning. But Gray coaxed a groundball double play out of Miguel Rojas as Deitrich scored from third. The act was complete when Miami starter Jose Urena grounded out to Arenado. But Gray couldn’t repeat the feat in the sixth and Miami tied the game 3-3. Giancarlo Stanton unloaded with his 40th homer of the season, a 433-foot rocket to left. Since July 5, Stanton has hit 19 homers. San Francisco, as a team, has 20 home runs over that same span. Gray seemed to lose focus after Stanton’s bomb, walking two and giving up a double to Christian Yelich, who advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on J.T. Realmuto’s sacrifice fly to deep center. Gray gave up three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts over 5 ⅔ innings. Both Gray and Black disagreed with the idea that Gray’s concentration wavered. “That’s a question for Jon, but I think I know the answer,” Black said. Said Gray: “No I didn’t (lose focus), I think I just expanded too much. I should have gone right after guys. Note to self: ‘It can’t happen again.’ ” Black, however, did have another explanation for Gray’s inability to shut down the Marlins. “I think that what got to Jon was too many balls up as the game went on,” Black said. “Stanton’s homer — up. And the other runs they got off him in the sixth, the ball was up.” Related ArticlesAugust 11, 2017 Ryan McMahon, one of Rockies’ top prospects, called up to major-league club August 10, 2017 Ken Kaiser, umpire who quit during labor talks, dies at 72 August 10, 2017 From gut-punch to walk-off, Rockies are honing for the postseason with higher stakes August 9, 2017 Rockies Mailbag: Does Nolan Arenado have a realistic shot at NL MVP this year? August 9, 2017 Greg Holland shaved his head and face after consecutive blown saves, but the Rockies are not worried Arenado became the first player in the majors to rack up 100 RBIs this season when he blasted a two-run homer to right-center in the third, scoring Charlie Blackmon, who led off with a double to right. The statistics don’t stop there, nor does the history. The Gold Glove third baseman is batting an MLB-best .446 (50-for-112) with runners in scoring position, 13 doubles, three triples and 10 homers. Plus, he became the first National League player to reach 100 RBIs for three consecutive seasons since Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell did it from 1971-73. “He’s having a great year, and for sure he’s one of the best players in the game,” Black said. “And he’s doing it every day. This guy has come into his own as a player, and has improved offensively to the point that he’s at the point now that he’s one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.” Gerardo Parra, who’s hitting .400 since coming off the disabled list July 7, cranked his ninth homer of the season to lead off the sixth, pushing the Rockies ahead 3-1. In the third inning, Parra saved a possible run with a perfect throw from left field. Miami’s Dee Gordon attempted to go from first to thir [...]
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From gut-punch to walk-off, Rockies are honing for the postseason with higher stakes
CLEVELAND — In the minutes after a gut-punch loss Tuesday night, after the American League champions celebrated a walk-off victory here and the Rockies filed dejectedly into their clubhouse, Carlos Gonzalez broke the silence. Colorado’s veteran slugger is the only player still on the club’s roster from the last time the Rockies saw the postseason. And he knew how helpful a stinging loss can be. “I told the guys, it’s always nice to play teams like this,” Gonzalez said after Cleveland’s Yan Gomes hit a game-winning three-run home run off Colorado closer Greg Holland. “The energy was amazing. They were down by one in the ninth inning and the fans were really loud. “That’s what you get when you get to the postseason. It felt good. That was fun. Even though we ended up losing a tough game, it was good for us.” The Rockies then pulled off a late rally of their own Wednesday when Charlie Blackmon smacked a solo home run in the 12th inning of a 3-2 victory. Colorado won three of four games in an interleague season series against the Indians. More so, Gonzalez said, they sharpened an ability to win in a sprint. And as the Rockies traveled to Miami late Wednesday night, Arizona lost a difficult game of its own to the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. That left the Dodgers 15 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Rockies in the National League West. Colorado was a half-game ahead of Arizona, which played the Dodgers late Thursday, in the race for the first wild-card spot and seven games ahead of the next-nearest wild-card contenders, the Cardinals and Brewers. Barring a colossal collapse, the Rockies will almost surely face the Diamondbacks in a one-game playoff Oct. 4, three days after the final game of the regular season. The team with the best regular-season record will host that game. And while the Rockies continue to tout a mantra about the need to win series, they are preparing, too, for a single-game sprint. “This is great for is,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “They’re digging this. And our young pitchers, for them this is awesome. I know what that’s like. They can’t wait to get to the park. They’re like kids going to little league games.” Black acknowledged his enjoyment, even in defeat, of a Tuesday game that played out in anxiety. Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, one of the best pitchers in the AL, dominated the Rockies for 11 strikeouts over nine innings. But Blackmon tagged him for a lead-off home run on the game’s second pitch. That lead held nearly to the end, through a series of defensive plays from both sides and a six solid innings from Rockies rookie right-hander German Marquez. Related ArticlesAugust 10, 2017 Ken Kaiser, umpire who quit during labor talks, dies at 72 August 9, 2017 Rockies Mailbag: Does Nolan Arenado have a realistic shot at NL MVP this year? August 9, 2017 Greg Holland shaved his head and face after consecutive blown saves, but the Rockies are not worried August 9, 2017 Charlie Blackmon hammers a homer in the 12th inning to rally the Rockies at Cleveland August 9, 2017 From Chuck Nazty to Gray Wolf, here are the Rockies’ nickname jerseys for Players Weekend “These are great experiences. And they should be better for it in the long run, pitching in these games and going through this,” Black said. “Believe me, when you win ‘em, you say, ‘that was a hell of a game. That was great. What a win.’ Then when you lose, you say the same thing, but it’s not as good. But in the game, you know it’s a good game.” If the Rockies and Diamondbacks meet in a one-game wild-card matchup, the winner probably would face Los Angeles in the divisional round. Both teams are 5-7 against the Dodgers this season. “We’re in first place so we don’t really care who we play,” Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig told reporters Wednesday night. “If it’s the Diamondbacks, that’s fine. Or if it’s Colorado, even better. I just know throughout the season, the Diamondbacks seem to play us better. But it doesn’t matter.” Those potential matchups are beyond the horizon. But if the Rockies hold to face Diamondbacks in a one-game, win-or-exit sprint, they will need the next two months to prepare. “It’s cool that we’re going through this,” Black said. “We know we have to keep going.” Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','p [...]
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Ken Kaiser, umpire who quit during labor talks, dies at 72
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Former major league umpire Ken Kaiser, a colorful figure between the lines who briefly moonlighted as a professional wrestler to make ends meet while working in the minor leagues, has died. He was 72. The World Umpires Association said Thursday he died in his hometown of Rochester, New York, on Tuesday. Kaiser had diabetes for years. An American League umpire from 1977-99, Kaiser umpired two World Series, one All-Star Game and several playoff series. The 6-foot-3 Kaiser, who wrote in his book, “Planet of the Umps: A Baseball Life from behind the Plate,” that when he graduated from high school in 1964 his “long-range plan was lunch.” He weighed just under 300 pounds and often was criticized for that portly physique during the more than 3,000 big-league games he umpired. Former Chicago White Sox announcer Jimmy Piersall once called him “a gutless, lazy whale,” while fellow former umpire and mentor Ron Luciano described him as “like a barrel on which two arms had been stuck on backwards.” In his book, published in 2003, Kaiser wrote of his decade in the minor leagues and off-season jobs that included bar bouncer, bank teller, and that short stint as the wrestler dubbed “Hatchet Man.” In 1986, Kaiser was voted most colorful umpire in the American League in a poll conducted by The Sporting News. Kaiser’s umpiring career ended when he joined a group of umpires who submitted their resignations in 1999 during labor negotiations, a gamble by the Major League Umpires Association that failed. He was not rehired. He is survived by two adult children. Funeral plans are incomplete. [...]
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Rockies Mailbag: Does Nolan Arenado have a realistic shot at NL MVP this year?
Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders posts his Rockies Mailbag every other week on Tuesdays during the season. Pose a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies Mailbag.  We have two similar questions to begin the latest mailbag. MVP race: Do you think Nolan Arenado and or Charlie Blackmon have a realistic shot at winning the MVP this year? The bummer would be if they split the vote and both lose out. — Thom Herlin, Littleton What will it take for Nolan to be recognized as the best player in baseball and be voted the NL MVP? Does the Rockies making the playoffs garner enough attention that gets him the necessary votes? Thanks for your opinion Patrick. — Bears Baker, Eagle Thom and Bear, if the Rockies make the playoffs, and I think they will, then both Arenado and Blackmon should at least get serious consideration. Full disclosure: I have an NL MVP vote this year. However, members of the national media who also have a vote are going to look hard at the Coors Field factor. They will also note which players have the highest WAR and OPS. Currently, Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona’s great first baseman, leads the NL with a 5.5 WAR, followed by Washington’s Anthony Rendon (5.0), Arenado (5.0), Cincinnati’s Joey Votto (5.0), Los Angeles’ Corey Seager (4.7) and Washington’s Bryce Harper (4.6). Blackmon ranks 14th, with a WAR of 3.7. However, in OPS, Chuck Nasty is fifth, with a .997. Votto is tops in the NL with a 1.041 OPS, closely followed by Goldschmidt (1.026) and the Dodgers’ Justin Turner (1.009). Arenado is ranks 10th (.955). I definitely think Arenado’s growing reputation as the best fielding third baseman in the game will help him. In every city I travel, writers, broadcasters and fans rave about Arenado’s magic at the hot corner. Right now, I think Goldschmidt in the leading candidate, but there is a lot of baseball left to play, so things could change. Finally, will Arenado and Blackmon split the vote? I don’t think that’s a huge concern, because I think Arenado is going to garner a lot more votes than Blackmon. Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); Which Rockies minor league player do you expect to have the biggest impact when rosters expand in September? Do any of them have a chance to add a special boost to the lineup similar to 2007? — Jesse, Greeley Jesse, I’m just guessing, but I’m betting you hope I say infielder Ryan McMahon. He’s certainly intriguing, having batted a combined .351 at Double-A and Triple-A this season. But the problem is, McMahon is not on the 40-man roster, so the Rockies would have a make a move to put him there. Also, I’m not sure where the Rockies would play McMahon. He’s not a shortstop, and he’s not going to supplant Arenado at third or DJ LeMahieu at second in the middle of a playoff push. He’s been playing plenty of first base this season, but I’m not sure there is room there, either, when Ian Desmond returns. Still, McMahon could get called up as a utility player and pinch-hitter. We’ll see what happens Outfielder David Dahl seems like a natural call-up candidate, and he is on the 40-man roster. However, he’s back on the disabled list with a back/rib issue and there are legitimate questions about whether or not he will play for the Rockies at all this season. As for “impact” players, my guess is that relievers such as Yency Almante, Sam Moll or Zach Jemiola could be called up and pitch some important innings. I love what the Rox are doing this year and they’ve made some great personnel decisions. What are your thoughts on reliever Scott Oberg? He seems to have good stuff, but every time he pitches in a close game I get nervous. Do you think he could be the odd man out as other pitchers get healthy? — David, Rox fan, now in Vancouver BC David, I know you submitted this question before Oberg was optioned to Triple-A last week, but, in a sense, he did become the odd man out. I agree with you that Oberg has “good stuff” but he lacks consistency and the ability to get the big out in big situations. That’s why he makes you nervous. It’s why he’s now back at Triple-A. Oberg, who was 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA, 18 walks and 40 strikeouts in 49 relief appearances when he was demoted, had been struggling. Manager Bud Black believed it was time for a Triple-A tune-up. “We felt that the recent performance of Scott, really the last two or three weeks, maybe indicated to us that he needed a break,” Black said last week. “There w [...]
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Greg Holland blows second consecutive save as Rockies fall in walk-off heartbreaker at Cleveland
CLEVELAND — The Rockies kicked off a 50-game sprint to the finish Tuesday from the shores of Lake Erie — and in a peculiar position. A club built from the beginning with bats continues to carry its way into contention from the mound. German Marquez, one of a pair of 22-year-old Venezuelan rookies in Colorado’s rotation, glided into the seventh inning at Progressive Field with justified aspiration. But during the Indians’ disheartening 4-1 walkoff victory over the Rockies, after Marquez gave up just two hits, Colorado took a haymaker to the chin. Yan Gomes’ three-run homer off Colorado closer Greg Holland with two outs in the ninth inning, on a first-pitch fastball, quickly shifted the Rockies from what would have been perhaps their best victory of the season to one of the most painful. “It’s a tough one,” Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu said. “But I’d take that situation every time with ‘Hollie.’ Even with runners on, I’d take it every day. They just got a couple big swings at the end.” Boxscore: Cleveland 4, Colorado 1 Austin Jackson’s blooper, also with two outs in the ninth, about a foot beyond the reach of center fielder Charlie Blackmon’s diving attempt to end the game in Colorado’s favor, tied the game at 1, one pitch before Gomes’ walk-off. And Holland, the major-league saves leader and an all-star in his first season since Tommy John surgery scuttled a career in Kansas City, blew a second consecutive save opportunity in three days. On Sunday, the Philadelphia Phillies rallied in the ninth for a 3-2 victory at Coors Field. Tony Dejak, The Associated PressColorado Rockies relief pitcher Greg Holland walks off the field after giving up a game-winning three-run home run to Cleveland Indians’ Yan Gomes in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, in Cleveland. “It’s really disappointing, the way we battled,” LeMahieu said. “But we’ve got a good team and a lot of confidence.” Blackmon’s game-starting home run, a rainbow looper to the center-field seats, carried the Rockies for eight innings. Blackmon’s 100th career homer, his 26th this season, came on the second pitch of the game, a 90 mph sinkerball from Cleveland all-star Corey Kluber. The Rockies are 49-17 this season when they score the game’s first run. Cleveland is 17-32 when giving it up. But between the first batter and the last, a pitcher’s duel unfolded pitting the rookie Marquez and the maestro Kluber. “That guy (Blackmon) hits a home run to lead off the game, you don’t think that that’s going to stand up,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “The way their guy was pitching, it about did.” Kluber, the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2014, cruised through eight innings on just three hits. And when Kluber struck out Mark Reynolds on a wicked curveball to end the seventh inning, he became just the third pitcher with at least eight strikeouts in 13 consecutive games, after Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. “That is a throwback game for sure,” Colorado manager Bud Black said while raving about Kluber, who went the distance and struck out 11, while walking none. Related ArticlesAugust 8, 2017 Chad Bettis excels in one more rehab start — and his return to the Rockies is imminent August 8, 2017 Gerardo Parra has settled in as the Rockies untraditional cleanup hitter; Ian Desmond slowed; Tyler Anderson improves August 8, 2017 Rockies honor Don Baylor by hanging manger’s jersey in dugout August 8, 2017 Saunders vs. Groke: Which Rockies pitcher should start in a must-win game? August 7, 2017 Rockies at Indians: Looking ahead at the Aug. 8 game But Colorado, with four rookie starting pitchers still excelling well into August, can retort. Marquez has carried the Rockies as an ace would for over a month, with six consecutive quality starts, including four victories. Since Marquez elbowed his way to the core of a benches-clearing confrontation against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 22 at Coors Field, he has a 2.42 ERA, with seven earned runs in 26 innings. Marquez pitched perfectly his first time through Cleveland’s lineup, forcing five groundouts to Nolan Arenado at third base while also striking out slugger Edwin Encarnacion, Bradley Zimmer and Austin Jackson. Francisco Lindor doubled off Marquez for Cleveland’s first hit in the fourth inning, but two others grounded out weakly to DJ LeMahieu at first to strand him. “It was a chance for me to face one of the best pitchers in the game,” Marquez said. “I had to step up.” In the sixth inning, Marquez tossed six consecutive pitches outside the strike zone and walked Jason Kipnis and Lindor with one [...]
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Chad Bettis excels in one more rehab start — and his return to the Rockies is imminent
Rain fell in the way of Chad Bettis near New Orleans on Tuesday, but it will probably not keep him out of the majors. The Rockies right-hander, in what figures to be his final rehab start in a comeback from cancer, pitched an impressive outing for Triple-A Albuquerque, with five concise innings of work, allowing one run on three hits, with two strikeouts and no walks. Bettis, a 28-year-old who twice fell behind within the past year because of testicular cancer — first after surgery in December, then again for chemotherapy starting in February — pitched his best rehab game among six since returning to the mound for a Double-A game July 13. Related ArticlesAugust 8, 2017 Greg Holland blows second consecutive save as Rockies fall in walk-off heartbreaker at Cleveland August 8, 2017 Gerardo Parra has settled in as the Rockies untraditional cleanup hitter; Ian Desmond slowed; Tyler Anderson improves August 8, 2017 Rockies honor Don Baylor by hanging manger’s jersey in dugout August 8, 2017 Saunders vs. Groke: Which Rockies pitcher should start in a must-win game? August 7, 2017 Rockies at Indians: Looking ahead at the Aug. 8 game Against the New Orleans Baby Cakes, a minor-league affiliate of the Miami Marlins, Bettis used just 37 pitches to retire nine of the first 10 batters he faced, including six groundouts. He left after five innings and 70 pitches when rain delayed the game 26 minutes. Bettis finished his night in the Isotopes’ bullpen and reached a planned limit of 90 pitches throwing on the side. Bettis will probably return to the Rockies’ starting rotation Monday against the Atlanta Braves, when the club returns to Colorado to start a seven-game homestand. It will allow him an extra day of rest and place his comeback in familiar surroundings. With an off day Thursday, Colorado will get through its current five-game road trip with a four-man rotation. German Marquez, who gave up just two hits in six innings Tuesday at Cleveland, will start Sunday at Miami. In six minor-league appearances on his comeback trail, Bettis pitched 26 2/3 innings and gave up 10 earned runs, for a 3.37 ERA. Last season, he pitched 186 innings and won 14 games, both club highs. He finished with a 14-8 record and a 4.79 ERA. And, as the oldest pitcher on the team, Bettis, the Rockies hope, will help ground a rookie-heavy rotation. [...]
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