Rockies

Rockies skidding hard after loss to Dodgers, as Alex Wood washes them again and Yasiel Puig hits a ball far
LOS ANGELES — Stalked by a pesky swarm of gnats around first base, Mark Reynolds waved his glove and swatted his hat in defense. Then Yasiel Puig trotted by and all the buzz fell to a stop. The Dodgers’ Cuban slugger slammed a home run to center field so deep, it buried the Rockies in a 6-1 loss Friday in front of 43,787 fans at Chavez Ravine. The Rockies’ sudden hangover, a headache after two blowout losses to the Diamondbacks at Coors Field, has now extended into an ear-splitting skid to start a difficult nine-game, 10-day road trip through the National League West. A first-place team less 72 hours prior, Colorado has quickly fallen 2 1/2 games into third place behind the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. And on Saturday, they have to face the Ace of aces, Clayton Kershaw. “We have to play better,” Rockies left fielder Ian Desmond said. “There are ebbs and flows to a season, but this is one of those times when we need to pick it up.” On Friday, a third Rockies rookie in a row fell to defeat. Lefty Kyle Freeland gave up seven hits in the first two innings as the Dodgers made contact with just about everything he threw, accounting for four runs. Even the outs hurt. Cody Bellinger’s sacrifice fly to deep center field in the first scored Corey Seager. Freeland wriggled out of the inning with the bases loaded. Boxscore: LA Dodgers 6, Colorado 1 To lead off the second, though, Freeland walked catcher Austin Barnes, a brutal mistake. The Dodgers’ offense is a buzzsaw, with a major-league best plus-128 run differential, the best in the majors. They have scored six or more runs in seven consecutive games. Seager and Justin Turner singled and Bellinger doubled. Add three more runs. Freeland’s second walk to Barnes, in the third, drew the ire of his manager, Bud Black, who visited the mound for a spirited discussion. Black, a former pitcher himself, has a difficult time stomaching walks at the bottom of an order. Black described the confab as “a baseball discussion.” Freeland responded by forcing a keen 2-5-4 double play, to third and first, on a miffed bunt. In dropping his record to 8-5, Freeland, he said, fell victim to complacency. In his two previous starts against the Dodgers, the 23-year-old mastered a sinkerball to ground their hitters into weak-contact groundballs. He gave up just two runs over 10 innings. “They figured out how I was planning to pitch them,” Freeland said. “It’s no secret I’m a sinker pitcher. And they hit my sinkers. They hit my mistakes and they hit ’em hard. But they saw my gameplan early and attacked it.” Puig’s home run off Freeland in the fourth came on a curveball that stayed low but crept up just high to hit the hitter’s sweet spot. He crushed his homer 445 feet to the batters eye in center field. The Dodgers have home runs in 15 consecutive games, their longest streak since 1977. “We threw him quite a bit of fastballs,” Freeland said. “He hits fastballs well. I noticed on video sometimes if you throw him a weak one there on the plate, he’ll swing over top of it. But I didn’t get it to my spot.” Related ArticlesJune 23, 2017 Rockies rotation changes take shape, with Colorado eyeing Tyler Anderson’s imminent return June 22, 2017 Tyler Anderson gets relief work for Rockies; rotation could be in flux June 22, 2017 Rockies’ Bud Black not alarmed by poor outings by rookies Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman June 22, 2017 Rockies fail NL West test vs. D-backs, look to get right vs. Dodgers June 22, 2017 On The Rox podcast: Are the Rockies “frauds”? Freeland, at least, fared better than his rookie counterparts, Jeff Hoffman and Antonio Senzatela, who gave up nine runs apiece against Arizona. But they were all outdueled by Dodgers starter Alex Wood. Wood, who now has struck out 17 Rockies in 12 innings this season, allowed just one run, on Tom Murphy‘s double to left field in the second that Franklin Gutierrez took a wrong route to in the corner. That was also the last hit Wood allowed. He retired 14 of the next 15 he faced, and no baseball traveled farther than the infield dirt. The 26-year-old lefty, whom the Dodgers wrangled in a mega-trade with the Braves in 2015, is slinging through Colorado’s hitters. Way back on May 13 at Coors Field, Wood was even better. He struck out 10 and walked just one over six shutout innings. “He has funky delivery and right now he’s hitting his spots,” Desmond said. The Rockies moved even on the season at 5-5 against the Dodgers, who won a season-high eighth consecutive game. “We have to tighten it up,” Desmond said. “We’ll see what the future has.” Chris Carlson, The Associated PressColorado Rocki [...]
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Rockies’ Bud Black not alarmed by poor outings by rookies Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman
Antonio Senzatela broke down his performance to its simplest terms. “I didn’t pitch very good,” the Rockies’ rookie right-hander said late Thursday afternoon after giving up a career-high nine runs in a 10-3 loss to Arizona at Coors Field. The more complex matter is whether or not the Rockies’ rookie starters, who’ve helped build a 47-28 record and put the club on a playoff path, are beginning to break down as opponents see more of them. Wednesday night, for example, the Diamondbacks torched Jeff Hoffman for nine runs in 3 ⅔ innings. Rockies manager Bud Black has said multiple times since spring training that his young pitchers would experience peaks and valleys. But he wasn’t clinging to that theory Thursday. “How many games have we played?” he asked. Told that the number was 75, Black said: “So this is two games. Time will tell. I think that’s the way I’m going to answer that. This will always be a game of adjustments moving forward. “In regards to Jeff and Antonio, time will tell. But we have a lot of confidence in them moving forward. We are hoping these guys will continue to grow as pitchers and will continue to win games.” Maybe so, but there is no getting around the fact that Arizona’s potent lineup pummeled the rookies. In fact, the two games marked just the third time in Rockies history that starters allowed nine or more earned runs in consecutive games. The last time it happened was in 1998 at Seattle when Mike Saipe gave up nine earned runs on July 1 and Darryl Kile gave up 10 the next day. Senzatela, 9-3 with a 4.79 ERA, said his biggest problem Thursday was a lack of fastball command. That led to a batting practice afternoon for Arizona hitters. Three-run homers — by Chris Owings in the third inning and by Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth — all but put the game out of reach early on. “It’s tough to overcome two, three-run homers,” Black said. “The pitch to Owings was intended to be inside and a little bit up. It didn’t get there. It stayed in the middle. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 Tyler Anderson gets relief work for Rockies; rotation could be in flux June 22, 2017 Rockies fail NL West test vs. D-backs, look to get right vs. Dodgers June 22, 2017 On The Rox podcast: DJ LeMahieu joins the show. And what to do with the Rockies bullpen? June 22, 2017 Tyler Anderson comes off DL as Rockies’ rotation continues to evolve June 22, 2017 Rockies Mailbag: Will Colorado make moves to bolster the bullpen? “And the pitch to Goldschmidt caught a lot of the plate. And he’s swinging well, he really hot right now. Like a lot of their other guys.” Goldschmidt is sizzling. He went 3-for-5 with four RBIs Thursday, extending his hitting streak to nine games, during which he’s hit .463 (19-for-41) with five home runs, four doubles and 17 RBIs. Now it’s time for the Rockies’ young pitchers to adjust. “These last two games, we got beat,” Black said. “They swung the bats and we didn’t make enough pitches. We talked to Jeff and Antonio about some things, that we will keep private. But I guarantee that we are aware of what’s going on with our players.” [...]
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Tyler Anderson gets relief work for Rockies; rotation could be in flux
The Rockies began tweaking their rotation and bullpen Thursday. The club optioned struggling right-hander reliever Carlos Estevez to Triple-A Albuquerque and reinstated left-handed starter Tyler Anderson off the disabled list. Then Anderson pitched the ninth inning in relief in the Rockies’ 10-3 loss to Arizona. He struck out the side after allowing a leadoff walk. “It was weird, getting loose … then there are couple pitching changes and then you end up throwing 45 pitches down there,” said Anderson, who had not pitched out of the bullpen since 2010 when he was at the University of Oregon. Now the question becomes, what does the club do with Anderson for the long-term? He is officially listed as a starter, but he could also see time in the bullpen going forward. “I’m sure we are going to do something, but I don’t know for sure what. But we have a lot of options, which is a good thing,” said Anderson, who said his swollen and sore left knee has fully healed. Anderson said the Rockies have not told him what his role will be, but there could be tweaks in the rotation as the Rockies head to Los Angeles on Friday for a critical three-game series against the Dodgers. “As far as a plan, things will become clear here over the next couple of days,” Black said, without divulging more. Rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland is scheduled to face the Dodgers on Friday night, with veteran right-hander Tyler Chatwood in line to pitch Saturday night. The Rockies are cognizant of overworking their young starting pitchers, Black acknowledged, so the team could be mixing and matching starters for the remainder of the season to preserve the arms of rookies Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez, Jeff Hoffman and Freeland. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 Rockies’ Bud Black not alarmed by poor outings by rookies Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman June 22, 2017 Rockies fail NL West test vs. D-backs, look to get right vs. Dodgers June 22, 2017 On The Rox podcast: DJ LeMahieu joins the show. And what to do with the Rockies bullpen? June 22, 2017 Tyler Anderson comes off DL as Rockies’ rotation continues to evolve June 22, 2017 Rockies Mailbag: Will Colorado make moves to bolster the bullpen? “As time goes on, the players will tell us, though their performance, how we will handle this,” Black said. “We are going to do everything we can to ensure that physically they stay sharp, and mentally they stay sharp, as we go through the summer.” Asked if the Rockies would consider completely shutting down one of their rookie starters this season, Black replied: “In theory, yes. But we might not let it get to that number (of innings).” Black said he likes the idea that the Rockies could use as many as eight different starting pitchers, once Jon Gray and Chad Bettis are completely healthy and ready for big-league duty. Gary is scheduled to pitch his third rehab game with Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. Footnotes. Black said that outfielder David Dahl, on the DL since the second game of spring training, is slowly getting better from his rib injury, but said there is no timetable for Dahl’s return. … Pat Valaika continues to perform well for Colorado as a pinch hitter. He hit an RBI double in the eighth inning and is now 8-for-23 (.348) with five doubles, one homer and five RBIs as a pinch hitter. … Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt batted 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs. He has reached base in 61 of his last 63 games vs. the Rockies, with a .380 batting average. Looking ahead Rockies RHP Kyle Freeland (8-4, 3.42 ERA) at Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (7-0, 1.90), 8:10 p.m., ROOT TV, 850-AM Wood was the best pitcher in the National League in May, including a dominating performance in a victory over the Rockies, in  which he struck out 10 and walked just one over six innings. After Wood dominated the Reds last week over eight innings, allowing just one run on four hits, he became the first Dodgers pitcher since Orel Hershiser in 1985 to win go unbeaten in his first 10 starts to a season. The Rockies are undefeated in the rookie Freeland’s two starts against the Dodgers. He is coming off a bend-but-didn’t-break outing against the Giants, with eight hits against him, but only one run. Nick Groke, The Denver Post Saturday: Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.08) at Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 2.61), 8:10 p.m., ROOT Sunday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (5-3, 3.92) at Dodgers RHP Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 2.87), 2:10 p.m., ROOT Monday: Rockies at Giants, pitchers TBA, 8:08 p.m., ROOT [...]
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Kiszla: One trade the Rockies need to make to cement their status as World Series contenders
Summer is here, with the Colorado sun hotter than the race in the National League West. And the hardy Rockies bullpen is beginning to wilt. As an incorrigible worrywart, I felt obligated to ask manager Bud Black: Are his relievers tired? “I’m going to say no,” Black replied. “Have they been tested? Sure. Have they overall, in the big scheme of the season, done their job? Yes, for sure. Have there been some body blows over the last couple of weeks? Yes. Have they taken the body blows and held their ground? I think so. That’s going to happen during the course of a heavyweight fight. You’re going to take some blows.” Cut me, Mick. The Colorado bullpen can’t stop the bleeding. After losing 16-5 Wednesday to Arizona, the Rockies’ relievers have a horrendous 9.23 earned run average and a troubling 1.93 WHIP, while surrendering 12 home runs, during the past 10 games. Ouch. That’s a pummeling. Nobody’s panicking around here, even with the recent struggles of Mike Dunn, Jordan Lyles and Chad Qualls. Not to mention names, but if ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser says Colorado is a fraud, then he needs to take more treks between the White House and Capitol Hill to see what people not to be trusted look like. These Rockies are for real. While we can all get as moist as a beer bottle on a muggy, 96-degree afternoon while toasting our misty, water-colored memories of October 2007, this is the best team in franchise history. The time to go for the World Series is now. And that means general manager Jeff Bridich needs to be an aggressive buyer as the trade deadline approaches. Don’t get me wrong. Colorado doesn’t need much to hang with the Dodgers, Nationals or Cubs. The Rockies are two-deep in MVP candidates, with Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. The kids in the starting rotation are all right, whether we’re talking now or in the August heat of a playoff race. But the Rockies appear to be one arm shy in the bullpen. I see three options to reinforce the relief corps. German Marquez, Rockies: Of all the young guns in the starting rotation, the stuff of Marquez seems most easily translated to the pen. Set up batters with his 95 mph fastball, put them away with that nasty curve. He could be a good answer in the seventh inning, but the Rockies can do better, if they’re willing to make a trade. Brad Hand, San Diego: The Padres are going nowhere in the NL West. But Hand will be in demand, not only because he is averaging 1.25 strikeouts per inning, but because the 27-year-old is a lefty and arbitration eligible for two more seasons. His bargain salary of $1.375 million, however, might well drive up the price a trade suitor must pay in minor-league prospects. Pat Neshek, Philadelphia: Can I make a little confession? I have a little man crush on Neshek. I’m enthralled by his funky sidearm delivery. And what’s not to like about the 36-year-old right-hander’s refusal to walk anybody, which gives him a WHIP under 1.00? His salary is $6.5 million. He’s a pending free agent. His past postseason experience with four major-league teams makes him an ideal hired gun. Related ArticlesJune 20, 2017 Kiszla: Trading for Jimmy Butler would be bigger get for Nuggets than hiring Chauncey Billups June 17, 2017 Kiszla: Why Nolan Arenado believes Rockies can be “most dangerous team in the major leagues” June 17, 2017 Kickin’ it with Kiz: Will Chris Paul be the NBA free agent to erase Denver’s reputation as a fly-over city? June 16, 2017 Kiszla: Only one word to describe these Rockies and this baseball-crazy town: Un-funky-believable June 15, 2017 Kiszla: If the Rockies are legit playoff contenders, Nolan Arenado must be legit MVP candidate Let’s give a standing ovation to Bridich for his recent rebuild of the relief corps. Now Bridich needs to grab his cellphone and work a trade for more bullpen help. Sooner rather than later, well before the wheeling and dealing gets totally insane in late July. The Rockies are 45-0 when leading after seven innings. Make the real strength of this team stronger, rather than allow Coors Field to wear out the bullpen. “If there are eight guys in the pen, you’d like to have five or six guys really throwing the ball well, and couple guys that are probably not,” Black said. “You need those type of ratios, of guys who are performing to guys who aren’t. The same thing as on the hitting side. The more that you get away from those good ratios and they become bad ratios? Rough action.” When I peer out to the Rockies’ bullpen in right field, the royal shade of purple is turning to a burned-out shade of brown. Well, the boss is in the house. I saw Dick Monfort wearing his trademark purple sneakers, leaning against [...]
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Jeff Hoffman torched as Diamondbacks rout Rockies
For all of the good things the Rockies’ rookie starters have done this season, there remains a certain fragility to the rotation, and there are questions about its sustainability for a long season. That was painfully clear Wednesday night at Coors Field, where Arizona torched rookie right-hander Jeff Hoffman en route to a 16-5 victory. The talented Diamondbacks, winners of eight of their last nine games, put a screeching halt to Colorado’s six-game winning streak and moved within one game of the Rockies in the National League West. The red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Mets 8-2 to move into first place in the division, a half-game ahead of Colorado. Boxscore: Arizona 16, Colorado 5  Hoffman was charged with a career-high nine runs on eight hits in a mere 3 ⅔ innings. He allowed just one hit over the first three innings and looked sharp, but the fourth inning was a Titanic-hitting-the-iceberg kind of disaster. The Diamondbacks rapped out nine hits and scored 10 runs in the inning, and nine of those runs were charged to Hoffman. “I felt like I kind of cruised through the first three, and in the fourth I just couldn’t get the ball down below thigh high. And they put good swings on bad pitches,” Hoffman said. The only other time a Rockies pitcher allowed nine or more runs in one inning was when Mark Redman gave up 10 runs in the first inning to the Dodgers on April 26, 2008, at Los Angeles. How relentless was the Diamondbacks’ attack in the fourth? They became the first National League team to score 10 or more runs in an inning — without a home run — since the Phillies did it against the Marlins in Miami on Sept. 17, 2005. Hoffman entered the game 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA, but Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Drury and Chris Iannetta raked him for doubles in the fourth as Hoffman’s ERA jumped to 4.29. Hoffman needed to make some key pitches but he simply didn’t execute them. Manager Bud Black called the two-out, RBI single Hoffman allowed to Arizona starter Taijuan Walker the “back-breaker.” “For Jeff tonight, it was a learning experience, no doubt about it,” Black said. “He was a couple of pitches away from keeping that game in order, but that didn’t happen. He’ll remember this one for a while and be able to reflect back on it and be a better big-league pitcher for it.” With right-hander Jon Gray and left-hander Tyler Anderson close to returning from the disabled list, Hoffman’s rough night will give Black and general manager Jeff Bridich plenty to contemplate in the coming days and weeks. Any thoughts about the Rockies getting back into Wednesday’s game with a miracle rally were short-circuited when supposed mop-up reliever Jordan Lyles replaced Hoffman. Arizona tagged Lyles for three runs on six hits in 2 ⅓ innings, sending his ERA to 7.16. Colorado’s rookie quartet of Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela and Hoffman entered the game 26-9 with a combined ERA of 3.60, but Arizona’s powerhouse lineup took it to Hoffman — and Lyles. Arizona’s 10 runs and nine hits in one inning set franchise records for a road game. The Rockies actually led 1-0 on Mark Reynolds’ solo homer to center in the second inning off Taijuan Walker. It was Reynolds’ team-high 18th homer. Nolan Arenado’s two-run double in the fifth cut Arizona’s lead to 10-3. Since June 1, Arenado is batting .367 with three home runs, 10 doubles, three triples and 25 RBIs. Related ArticlesJune 21, 2017 Kiszla: One trade the Rockies need to make to cement their status as World Series contenders June 21, 2017 Is Carlos Gonzalez on the verge of a breakout for the Rockies? “We’re just waiting,” Arenado says June 21, 2017 Ryan Vilade, Tommy Doyle and 32 other draft picks sign pro deals with the Rockies. Then they hit the road. June 20, 2017 Nolan Arenado triples in a winner, Carlos Gonzalez slams a HR as Rockies rally past Arizona June 20, 2017 Joe West umps 5,000th career game in Colorado. He gave Rockies manager Bud Black his first career ejection. But Lyles, and then Carlos Estevez (8.10 ERA) and Mike Dunn (6.35 ERA), failed to quiet the Diamondbacks’ bats. All told, Arizona rapped out 20 hits, the most allowed by Colorado this season, and the most it has allowed since giving up 21 hits to the Dodgers on Sept. 17, 2014. Thursday afternoon, Colorado has a chance to erase Wednesday’s ugly game and take the three-game series. Senzatela will be on the mound for Colorado. Former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle used to say that his teams “showered well,” meaning they washed off a bad loss quickly. Black thinks his Rockies will do the same. “Jeff had a tough night, and a couple of other guys h [...]
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Nolan Arenado triples in a winner, Carlos Gonzalez slams a HR as Rockies rally past Arizona
Something otherworldly is falling into place when Nolan Arenado, who rarely hits triples, starts hitting triples like he’s Ty Cobb. He’s a slugger, hits homers, lives on doubles. But on Tuesday night at Coors Field, just like Sunday afternoon, Arenado hit another triple. This one he knocked off Arizona ace Zack Greinke. And once again, Arenado played the hero. To open a difficult six-game set against the two other best teams in the National League, the first series against a streaking Diamondbacks team, Arenado tripled in two runs off the right-field wall in the eighth inning as the Rockies again rallied, this time for a 4-3 victory. On Sunday, Arenado capped a rally with a walk-off home run that also gave him the cycle as Colorado came back to beat the Giants 7-5. “If I’m hitting triples, that just means the ball is getting away from the outfielder. I’m a doubles guy,” Arenado said. “As long as they’re extra-base hits, thats fine. I’m taking what they’re giving me.” Within a week, the streaking Rockies will face two Cy Young winners, the tallest obstacles to date in a headlong rush through the National League. First up: Greinke, the Diamondbacks’ wily veteran control artist, a pitcher with an enviable 10-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He came to Denver with a perfect career record at Coors Field. The Rockies, though, are riding a snowboard on a moonbeam. Arenado, who led off Sunday’s game on his way to the eighth cycle in club history, lined a triple off out of town scoreboard in the eighth that tied up right fielder David Peralta. It scored Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, who each singled in front of him. In front of 35,016 fans, with more chants of “MVP” raining down on Arenado, Colorado kept alive a ceaseless drive. “He’s doing Kobe Bryant stuff. He’s on a different level right now,” Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez said of Arenado. “I’ve been there before. It’s so much fun. You just ride it out.” Gonzalez, hitting 7-for-June and looking up at a slump so deep his belt was underwater, dug into the dirt around home plate in the fourth staring back at Arizona’s ace. And Gonzalez hid an upper hand. In 37 previous at-bats against Greinke, the Colorado slugger had four home runs and 13 hits. On an 85-mph slider that Greinke aimed at his hands, Gonzalez launched a 449-foot home run into the trees behind center field. Gonzalez tied Jason Giambi for most career home runs off Zack Greinke with his fifth. Boxscore: Colorado 4, Arizona 3 Gonzalez twice carried Colorado on his back. And the Rockies (47-26) dove into a wicked week that will force them to twice prove their worthiness atop the NL West. In a week-long round-robin tournament of the best teams in the NL, the Rockies opened by winning a sixth consecutive game, snapping Arizona’s seven-game streak. Colorado, now two games ahead of Arizona in the West, is scheduled for back-to-back series against Arizona (44-27) and at Los Angeles (45-26 before Tuesday), where the Rockies will likely face Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. The eighth inning was nearly Colorado’s undoing. Arizona’s Peralta crushed a 455-foot homer to the second deck in right field off lefty Chris Rusin to lead off the frame. Then Paul Goldschmidt followed with a first-pitch shot to right off Adam Ottavino. Within two pitches, the Diamondbacks quickly took their first lead off the game. “It’s one of those games where maybe we didn’t deserve to win, but we kept fighting,” Gonzalez said. The Rockies wasted little time pouncing on Greinke in the second inning. Ian Desmond legged out an infield single to the left side, then sprinted to second base when Arizona third baseman Jake Lamb launched a throw past first base. Greinke’s wild pitch to Trevor Story pushed Desmond up another base and he scored on catcher Jeff Mathis’ throwing error. Desmond’s marathon trip around the bases gave the Rox a 1-0 lead. Gonzalez’s one-out homer in the fourth gave them a two-run lead. After an 0-for-27 skid through June, Gonzalez now has a hit in four consecutive games. The Rockies were waiting for his surge. They might still be waiting. But Gonzalez in the fifth dove fully horizontal to nab a Peralta liner toward the gap, robbing him of at least a double and an RBI. Related ArticlesJune 20, 2017 Joe West umps 5,000th career game in Colorado. He gave Rockies manager Bud Black his first career ejection. June 20, 2017 Jon Gray will wait for his return, Bud Black says, because Rockies have the luxury of patience June 19, 2017 Carlos Estevez gets called up, believes he can bolster Rockies’ bullpen June 19, 2017 Rockies eager to face Diamondbacks as torrid NL West race heats up June 19, 2017 [...]
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Carlos Estevez gets called up, believes he can bolster Rockies’ bullpen
The Rockies’ bullpen has gone from sturdy to shaky, and it needs shoring up. Is Carlos Estevez up to that job? He thinks so. “We have a really good team, so that’s why I’ve been sent down, but I know I can pitch up here and work my way through it and get outs,” the hard-throwing right-hander said Sunday. Related ArticlesJune 19, 2017 Rockies eager to face Diamondbacks as torrid NL West race heats up June 19, 2017 Rockies’ Bud Black optimistic CarGo will find groove in second half. “He’ll be there at crunch time.” June 19, 2017 Rockies’ Nolan Arenado second in All-Star Game fan voting; Charlie Blackmon looking like a starter June 18, 2017 Nolan Arenado, Bud Black say Rockies are getting pumped by growing Coors Field crowds June 18, 2017 Nolan Arenado’s walk-off homer completes cycle in Rockies’ historic win over Giants Estevez, 24, was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to fill a roster spot when veteran Chad Qualls was placed on the disabled list because of lower-back spasms. In 13 relief appearances at Triple-A, Estevez was 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA, allowing seven walks and striking out 13. He’s struggled during his big-league stints this season, posting a 7.98 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 14 ⅔ innings. Estevez, who had 11 saves as a rookie last season, has simplified his mechanics. He’s quicker to the plate and is learning to slow down, not speed up, when he encounters traffic on the bases. He’s still a work in progress, but manager Bud Black expressed optimism. “I look at the long term as this fellow being a great Rockie,” Black said. “He’s going to make contributions this year, because he’s talented.” History maker. When third baseman Nolan Arenado hit a one-out, three-run walk-off homer Sunday to beat the Giants 7-5, he added a new chapter to baseball’s history book. According to the Elias Sports bureau, Arenado became just the sixth player in major-league history to hit a walk-off home run in a game in which he also hit for the cycle. The others: the Cardinals’ Ken Boyer in 1961, the Twins’ Cesar Tovar in 1972, the Royals’ George Brett in 1979, the Red Sox’ Dwight Evans in 1984, and the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez in 2010. Arenado, however, is the only one of those six whose walk-off home run took his team from a deficit to victory. The five others hit their walk-offs with the game tied. McMahon honored. In just his second week in Triple-A, infielder Ryan McMahon was named the Pacific Coast League player of the week for June 12-18. McMahon, 22, batted .593 (16-for-27) in six games, with five home runs, four doubles and 14 RBIs. Right-hander Jeff Hoffman, now in the Rockies’ rotation, received pitcher-of-the-week honors from the PCL earlier this season. Looking ahead … Nam Y. Huh, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 9, 2017, in Chicago. Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.00 ERA) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (5-3, 4.19), 6:40 p.m., ROOT TV, 850-AM Greinke, Arizona’s ace, is a Top-10 pitcher in the majors — one of two the Rockies will face within a week. They will likely see Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles this weekend. Greinke’s approach is simple and effective: throw strikes. He strikes out 10.4 batters per nine innings while walking just 1.9. That ratio is among the best in baseball. Marquez, the 22-year-old rookie, has twice faced the D-backs, in consecutive six-inning outings. He struck out eight without allowing a run in Arizona on April 30, then allowed five runs at Coors Field on May 5. Nick Groke, The Denver Post Wednesday: Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (5-3, 3.32) at Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman (4-0, 2.25), 6:40 p.m., ROOT Thursday: Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (6-6, 5.19) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (9-2, 4.10), 1:10 p.m., ROOT Friday: Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.08 ERA) Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (5-3, 4.70), 8:10 p.m., ROOT [...]
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Cody Bellinger, Dodgers’ rookie, becomes fastest to 21 home-run-mark
Hey, @Cody_Bellinger. You’re like REALLY good. #AnotherOne. pic.twitter.com/2Pu0at6zZ9 — MLB (@MLB) June 20, 2017 LOS ANGELES — Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger became the fastest player to 21 home runs in baseball history, connecting in his first two at-bats against New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler on Monday night. Bellinger, who was not called up until three weeks into the season, now has 21 home runs in his first 51 games. That surpasses by one the totals of Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees, 2016) and Wally Berger (Boston Braves, 1930). Both had 20 home runs through 51 games. It took Berger 55 games and Sanchez 59 games to reach the 21-homer mark. Bellinger, 21, now leads the National League in home runs. His first game was April 25. He has five multihomer games, tying Mike Piazza for the Dodgers’ rookie record. [...]
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Nolan Arenado’s walk-off homer completes cycle in Rockies’ historic win over Giants
Nolan Arenado wore the cut above his left eye like a prize fighter. The infield dirt smeared across his white uniform spoke to his blue-collar style. The giant smile finished off the perfect picture. A few minutes before, the Rockies’ all-star third baseman had blasted a walk-off, three-run homer off closer Mark Melancon to beat San Francisco 7-5 in front of a delirious sellout Father’s Day crowd of 48,341 at Coors Field. But this wasn’t just any walk-off homer. This one sent shock waves rumbling through LoDo because it not only completed the first cycle of Arenado’s career, it capped the Rockies’ first four-game sweep of the Giants in the Rockies’ 25-year history. Arenado became the fifth player in big-league history to hit a walk-off homer to finish his cycle, and the first to do it since teammate Carlos Gonzalez shocked the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2010, at Coors. Related ArticlesJune 18, 2017 Nolan Arenado, Bud Black say Rockies are getting pumped by growing Coors Field crowds June 17, 2017 Kyle Freeland is living by the groundball. The Rockies, at homer-heavy Coors Field, will take it. June 17, 2017 Kiszla: Why Nolan Arenado believes Rockies can be “most dangerous team in the major leagues” June 17, 2017 Saunders: Rockies and all MLB teams must do better a job protecting fans from foul balls, flying bats June 17, 2017 Rockies’ parade of singles buries the Giants again at sold-out Coors Field. “Winning is fun,” Trevor Story says “This is No. 1, probably the best moment of my career,” Arenado said, momentarily fingering the cut he suffered during the wild postgame celebration scrum. “Obviously, winning the WBC (World Baseball Classic) was big, and I’ve hit some big homers, but this was by far the best.” The victory was the Rockies’ fifth straight overall and their ninth straight against the Giants, their longest winning streak against a National League West opponent in franchise history. Division leader Colorado (46-26) remains a game ahead of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the NL West. At 20 games above .500, the Rockies are close to the high-water mark in franchise history. The Rockies were 92-68 with two games remaining in 2009, the last time they made it to the playoffs. The Rockies trailed 5-3 entering the bottom of the ninth Sunday after Giants tagged fill-in closer Jake McGee for three runs in the top of the frame on a two-run, pinch-hit homer by Hunter Pence and an RBI double by Brandon Crawford. Colorado’s rally started innocently enough with a one-out, bloop single to center by Raimel Tapia. Then Charlie Blackmon singled Tapia to third and DJ LeMahieu scooted a single through a hole at second base to score Tapia. Arenado strode the plate to face Melancon, the proud product of Golden High School. Melancon’s first pitch was a fastball down and in and Arenado turned on it. “I got a pitch and I was able to do some damage,” said Arenado, who is hitting .299 with 15 homers and 55 RBIs. “I thought it had a chance. I put some backspin on the baseball and I was hoping it would go out. “I got it good, but I was a little nervous when I saw the left fielder (Austin Slater) go back. I hadn’t hit a homer in a while (since June 3), so thank God it went out.” Melancon’s Giants, mired in the NL West basement with a 26-45 record, have lost a season-high six straight. “My performance has been absolutely terrible,” said Melancon, who blew his second save. “I need to be better. That’s it.” Melancon said he was hoping to induce Arenado to hit a groundball double play to short, but Arenado sat on the first pitch to cap the eighth cycle in Colorado history. David Zalubowski, The Associated PressColorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado follows through with his swing after connecting for a triple off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ty Blach in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 18, 2017, in Denver. BOX SCORE: Rockies 7, Giants 5 “I think everybody kind of thought that if Nolan got to the plate in the ninth inning, that’s what he was going to do,” said Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood, who gave up two runs over six solid innings. “He’s a special player and we have all been spoiled to see it forever. “I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves nationally. I think with us winning games and being on top of the division, I think people are taking notice of him.” Arenado was aware that he was a home run away from the cycle, but he kept things in perspective when to went to the plate with the game in balance. “I wasn’t thinking about the cycle, honestly,” he said. “I didn’t want my ego to get in the way, I just [...]
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Nolan Arenado, Bud Black say Rockies are getting pumped by growing Coors Field crowds
As Nolan Arenado took a curtain call outside the Rockies’ dugout late Sunday afternoon, an avalanche of cheers engulfed him. Arenado waved his arms, wanting more. “Things are getting loud here,” Arenado said after he hit a walk-off, three-run, cycle-completing homer to beat the San Francisco Giants 7-5. “This was the loudest I’ve ever heard this place. I think the fans and the people of Denver are starting to get the hint that we are for real. “I was just fired up, and I was fired up for them. I just wanted to give them some love.” The Father’s Day crowd of 48,321 was the second sellout in a row at Coors Field for a team that improved to 20 games above .500 and holds onto first place in the National League West. Related ArticlesJune 18, 2017 Nolan Arenado’s walk-off homer completes cycle in Rockies’ historic win over Giants June 17, 2017 Kyle Freeland is living by the groundball. The Rockies, at homer-heavy Coors Field, will take it. June 17, 2017 Kiszla: Why Nolan Arenado believes Rockies can be “most dangerous team in the major leagues” June 17, 2017 Saunders: Rockies and all MLB teams must do better a job protecting fans from foul balls, flying bats June 17, 2017 Rockies’ parade of singles buries the Giants again at sold-out Coors Field. “Winning is fun,” Trevor Story says “Yes, no doubt about it,” manager Bud Black said when asked if his team can be energized by the crowd. “The crowd stayed today, and our guys heard it as they came off the field (before the last at-bat). “These last few games, with the growing attendance, it’s been great. The players are talking about it. It’s wonderful.” Chatwood’s start. The Rockies received a sturdy, though flawed, start from Tyler Chatwood, who pitched six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. “Six inning and two runs and we won the game. That’s what it’s about,” Chatwood said. “I think if you look at our offense, you know that eventually they are going to break through, and that’s what I was able to do.” However, the right-hander’s lack of command caught up with him in the fifth inning. He walked Denard Span for the third time in the game and, two batters later, Crawford sliced a flyball, two-run homer that just cleared the wall down the left-field line. But credit Chatwood (6-7, 4.08 ERA) for his ability to manage traffic and give his a team length, even if he needed 114 pitches to get through six. Giants leadoff hitters reached base in each of the first four innings, but the Chatwood found escape routes. The Rockies turned double plays in the first and second innings, and Chatwood got Crawford to pop out to center fielder Charlie Blackmon with two on in the third. Lyles delivers. Right-handed reliever Jordan Lyles has struggled mightily this season, giving up eight homers in 30 ⅓ innings while carrying a 6.82 ERA. But he pitched a perfect eighth inning Sunday, striking out slugger Buster Posey to open the frame. “We had some guys who were down today in the bullpen,” manager Black said. “(Lyles) gave us a one-two-three inning, and that was critical. He’s capable of that, and there is a lot of season left for him to help us.” Estevez called up. Hard-throwing right-handed reliever Carlos Estevez was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque, and veteran righty Chad Qualls was placed on the 10-disabled list because of lower-back spams. Estevez, 24, is 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA (12.1 IP, 4 ER), seven walks and 13 strikeouts in 13 relief appearances in Triple-A. Qualls, 38, began the season on the DL with right forearm tightness and had a 4.60 ERA in 15 ⅔ innings.  Black said Qualls’ back issue cropped up Friday, so the Rockies decided to call up Estevez to help a bullpen that has been taxed in recent games. Looking ahead … Monday: Off Tuesday: Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.00 ERA) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (5-3, 4.19), 6:40 p.m., ROOT Wednesday: Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (5-3, 3.32) at Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman (4-0, 2.25), 6:40 p.m., ROOT Thursday: Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (6-6, 5.19) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (9-2, 4.10), 1:10 p.m., ROOT [...]
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Kyle Freeland is living by the groundball. The Rockies, at homer-heavy Coors Field, will take it.
Kyle Freeland’s loudest out Saturday was a punch. Two on, two out in the sixth in a one-run game. The 23-year-old left-hander, an anchor in the Rockies’ rookie-heavy rotation, threw a sinkerball to strike out a Giants threat, whiffing pinch-hitter Brandon Belt. “Big at-bat, he got him,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “Thing about the strikeout is, the ball doesn’t leave the field.” But neither do groundballs. Freeland forced 15 groundballs among the 22 the Giants put in play Saturday in the Rockies’ 5-1 victory, a rate by which the Denver native is conquering Coors Field. His 58.7 percent groundball rate this season is the best in the National League, followed closely by Colorado veteran Tyler Chatwood (58.4 percent) and San Diego’s Clayton Richard (58.3). Freeland, by extension, is translating all those groundballs into a Coors Field anomaly. He is allowing very few home runs, eight total this season, none from the Giants on Saturday. His 0.89 home run per nine innings ratio ranks 10th best in the NL. “Being a sinker-heavy pitcher, it plays into my game,” Freeland said. “I can go back-to-back-to-back sinkers and have a good chance of getting a groundball.” Sure, groundballs depend on defense and bad luck will squirt a single through gaps in the infield to get runners on. But Freeland does not care much for relying on strikeouts. “Not really, no,” he said. “You go for strikeouts when you can. Bottom of the order, nobody on, you have a 1-2 count, you can bounce one in the dirt and try to get him to chase. But my game throughout the season is to throw sinkers and get groundballs.” Said Black: “You know what you need? You need outs without them scoring runs. However you produce that combination, we’ll take it.” Catcher rhubarb. When former Rockies and current Giants catcher Nick Hundley scored from second base in the fourth inning, he lowered his shoulder and plowed through Colorado catcher Tony Wolters while crossing home plate. It led to a stare down as Hundley walked off the field. When Wolters came to bat in the bottom of the fourth, they bumped fists and all was well again. “We’re good. I texted him to apologize,” Wolters said. “I was trying to deke him as long as I could. And he clipped me a little bit.” Otto’s roll. Right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino struck out two in a quick eighth inning, his second consecutive two-K, 1-2-3 outing. After missing 10 days in early June with a sore shoulder, and despite a two-run outing that led to a loss at Pittsburgh last week, Ottavino seems to have found form. “Let’s hope so. I think he’s in a good spot,” Black said. Related ArticlesJune 17, 2017 Kiszla: Why Nolan Arenado believes Rockies can be “most dangerous team in the major leagues” June 17, 2017 Saunders: Rockies and all MLB teams must do better a job protecting fans from foul balls, flying bats June 17, 2017 Rockies’ parade of singles buries the Giants again at sold-out Coors Field. “Winning is fun,” Trevor Story says June 16, 2017 Rockies continue to steamroll the Giants, batting around for another Coors Field win June 16, 2017 Carlos Gonzalez will not wait for the gift of hits. The Rockies’ slugger loves his swing too much. Ottavino has struck out nine of the 19 batters he faced and walked just one, lowering his ERA to 2.84. “The last two outings are more reflective of what he can do,” Black said. “Crisp fastball, breaking ball. We haven’t seen the real wide pitches.” CarGo going. Carlos Gonzalez dove and slid into the right-field wall in fifth to steal a hit from Buster Posey, eliciting a pointed shoutout from Freeland as they walked off the field. And including a line-drive single in the second, Gonzalez reached base three times and scored twice. He now has hits in consecutive games for the first time since June 2, after snapping an 0-for-27 skid Friday. “As much as people think he might be in a funk, he’s still dangerous,” Black said. Looking ahead Giants LHP Ty Blach (4-4, 4.24 ERA) at Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.16), 1:10 p.m. Sunday, ROOT; 850 AM Blach, a Regis Jesuit High School graduate, will make his first start against the Rockies. He moved from the Giants’ bullpen to the rotation to help replace injured ace Madison Bumgarner. Chatwood, meanwhile, will make his second start this season against San Francisco. He has given up only four runs in 15 innings against the Giants for a 2.40 ERA, including a nine-inning shutout in April. Chatwood has a 1.35 ERA in his past three outings, all on the road. His season road ERA is 2.41. At Coors Field, it is 7.03. Monday: Off Tuesday: Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greink [...]
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Rockies continue to steamroll the Giants, batting around for another Coors Field win
The boomerang of emotion circled back at Jeff Samardzija in 5.2 seconds. The Giants’ goateed right-handed pitcher hurtled a home run to the bullpen in the fifth inning at Coors Field in a two-ball count. No takes for this guy. Swing away. He flipped his bat into the dirt in celebration. A few minutes later, the deed was returned. Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond hit a home run to right field off Samardzija that just over five seconds to leave the park. Just that quickly, the Rockies were back on top. Samardzija spiked the dirt in outrage. Colorado’s 10-8 victory Friday — a club record seventh in a row against San Francisco — was a relay play through a surging lineup. The Rockies ebbed (they fell behind 4-1 at one point) and they flowed (a five-run fifth) and they continued to surge through June. DJ LeMahieu finished 4-for-4 at the plate for eight hits in two nights, Charlie Blackmon hit his career-high 10th triple, Trevor Story nailed a pinch-hit home run and Desmond hit his first homer at Coors Field this season as the Rockies held off the Giants. “Not to sound greedy,” Desmond said, but I think there’s more in this lineup. There’s a lot there. It’s a really good lineup. When we all get clicking, it’s going to be fun.” The Rockies (44-26) remained atop the National League West. They improved the second-best winning percentage in the majors (.629). They have more wins in 70 games than any Rockies team in 25 years. They have not been in first place this late in a season since 2006. They are cruising through the NL West, with a 22-11 record. And 24 hours after surviving a vicious Giants rally that turned a 9-1 lead into a gasping 10-9 walk-off victory, the Rockies scored 10 more Friday in front of 46,632 fans in much breezier fashion. Rockies 22-year-old rookie Antonio Senzatela fell behind four pitches into the game when Joe Panik homered to right-center field. Denard Span’s homer in the third put Senzatela behind by two. But solo homers, the saying goes, will not beat you. Not at Coors Field anyway. Even after Samardzija hit a two-run shot for a 4-1 lead. After Blackmon and LeMahieu doubled consecutively in the third for a run and catcher Tony Wolters blooped a single to lead off the fifth, the runs streamed out. Blackmon tripled off Samardzija for a run. LeMahieu singled him in and his consecutive four-hit games were the first among Rockies since Carlos Gonzalez did it in 2010. Nolan Arenado singled to go with an earlier double. Then Desmond blasted a three-run home run for a 6-4 lead. “Our pitchers are working hard. They’ve been carrying us all year long,” Desmond said. “I just want to pick them up. It’s what we all want to do.” Senzatela improved his record to 9-2 — his win total is tied for most in the majors, sharing the NL lead with only Clayton Kershaw — after pitching through six innings on six hits and five runs. He struck out six and walked just one. The solo homers did not beat him. “It was not a really good game for me,” Senzatela said. “But they supported me. And we won.” Related ArticlesJune 16, 2017 Carlos Gonzalez will not wait for the gift of hits. The Rockies’ slugger loves his swing too much. June 16, 2017 Raimel Tapia remains in a juggled Rockies lineup — his rookie rise is difficult to stop June 16, 2017 Kiszla: Only one word to describe these Rockies and this baseball-crazy town: Un-funky-believable June 15, 2017 Rockies’ June boom continues — but only after they let a Coors Field blowout turn into a Giants squeaker June 15, 2017 Kiszla: If the Rockies are legit playoff contenders, Nolan Arenado must be legit MVP candidate Samardzija was rattled, on 11 hits and eight runs over six innings. Giants right fielder Hunter Pence fared worse, misplaying two hits his way. He got chewed up once Thursday and once again earlier this season at Coors Field. For evidence of how neatly things are unfolding for the Rockies, witness their opposite. Giants manager Bruce Bochy got ejected in the seventh by home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom for arguing borderline, but fair, balls and strikes. Samardzija was stumbling. The Rockies were about to score three more. The Giants were about to fall 17 games out of first place in the NL West cellar. San Francisco has not been that far back before the all-star break since 1985. Losing stings. Winning, the Rockies are learning, is fun. [...]
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Jon Gray’s return to the Rockies has a tentative plan. “This is the first time it feels realistic,” he said.
Jon Gray was always too far from returning to the Rockies to count the days. It was always four or five more weeks, always beyond the horizon. But the reality of rejoining the Rockies rotation is finally settling in. “This is the first time it feels realistic,” Gray said Thursday at Coors Field. “I feel ready.” Gray, who broke his left foot on the mound in San Francisco in April, pitched four scoreless innings in a minor-league rehab start for the Single-A Lancaster (Calif.) Jethawks on Wednesday night. He struck out five batters, threw a fastball that touched 97 mph, and earned 36 strikes among his 55 pitches. Five batters reached base, on four hits and a walk. “It was good to feel that speed again, the speed of a game,” Gray said. “It still feels a little weak. But I’m gaining the strength back quick.” The 25-year-old on April 12 fielded a high chopper on the mound and threw to first against the Giants, but he landed wrong on on his left foot and suffered what the team called a stress fracture. He was put in a walking boot several weeks while on the DL. And while he kept his arm in shape during his disabled list stint, Gray had to wait to work on moving around the field. On Wednesday, he fielded a comebacker or two, Gray said, but the nervousness of fielding his position on a bum foot was not out of his mind. “I don’t think it was. But when I reacted to the ball hit to the right side, I didn’t try to stop myself,” he said. “I got over there and thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t even notice it.’ That’s a really good sign.” Gray will next start for Triple-A Albuquerque in Sacramento on Monday, with a pitch count limit nearer to 80 tosses. Colorado manager Bud Black said the club will collect evidence from that appearance to decide if Gray will start next week for the Rockies at Los Angeles or pitch again for the Isotopes. Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson (left knee inflammation) will also make a rehab start in Sacramento, on Sunday. Looking ahead David Zalubowski, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela reacts after getting St. Louis Cardinals’ Randal Grichuk to hit into a double play to end the top of the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 26, 2017, in Denver. Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (2-8, 4.31) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (8-2, 3.84), 6:40 p.m., ROOT, 850 AM Samardzija is running on hard luck. His southward win-loss record is a perfect example of why wins are misleading. The Giants’ veteran right-hander has 100 strikeouts this season, 31 more than the Rockies’ top K guy, Tyler Chatwood. And Samardzija has walked only two batters since May 3, an extraordinary command and control streak over his past eight starts. Senzatela, on the other hand, has a great win-loss record, despite a disturbing 6.46 ERA in his past three starts, including a season-low four-inning outing last week at Chicago. He earned a no-decision in that game. Saturday: Giants RHP Matt Cain (3-5, 5.22) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (7-4, 3.57), 1:10 p.m., ROOT Sunday: Giants LHP Ty Blach (4-4, 4.24) at Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.16), 1:10 p.m., ROOT Monday: Off [...]
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