Rockies

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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Home run king Barry Bonds says he wishes he’d played one more year
SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds so badly wanted to play one final season. On the 10th anniversary of breaking baseball’s all-time home run mark, Bonds told The Associated Press on Monday night that believes he would have hit 800 homers or come very close. Bonds said it “stung” to walk away from a decorated 22-year career with little notice immediately after a record-setting 2007 season with the San Francisco Giants in which he topped Hank Aaron’s mark. Bonds said there were never discussions about him playing for the Giants in 2008. He also said he didn’t push for it because, “I was just told I’m not coming back and that was it.” The 53-year-old Bonds now works for the Giants. He was at AT&T Park on Monday night, the same place he hit No. 756 to pass Aaron. Bonds finished with 762 home runs. The seven-time NL MVP finished his career under the cloud of steroids allegations. “Yeah, it should have only been nine (years ago). I should have played one more year, I should have had the chance to,” Bonds said, standing behind the batting cage. “It’s all right, though. Those 22 were still good. I wish I could have gotten to retire better, or just walk away better, whatever it was, however you want to call it,” he said. Bonds waved from the broadcast booth when he was shown on the big board before the top of the third inning, when highlights of his record-setting homer were played. “I was what (38) away from 800? I’d have been real close. I would have never hit under 20-something, no matter what,” Bonds said. Hours earlier, Bonds spent time chatting up his 2007 manager, current San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy, and giving some guidance to Pablo Sandoval and Jarrett Parker between their turns taking batting practice. Bonds said he hadn’t even thought about this being 10 years since his milestone home run until hearing from the team with an invite to the ballpark Monday, when the Giants hosted the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. “I didn’t know it was 10 years,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was out of baseball 10 years. It feels like just yesterday,” he said. As the Giants hitters got loose, Bonds pondered what might have been with a season more of chances. “It always will eat at you in a way, always, because it just wasn’t right the way it was done. It is what it is. Just to say goodbye like that after all, that’s not cool,” he said. “But I’ve learned to overcome it and accept it and move on. If I didn’t overcome it I wouldn’t be back here. There’s no reason to subject myself to that kind of stuff. If it wasn’t for me to just overcome it then just say, I played my 22 years, I had a great career, I love my city, the city loves me. That means more to me than anything. You’ve got to weigh it all. Great community, great city, great fans here, family I say mostly, that’s what they are.” In July 2015, Bonds said he had a huge “weight lifted” when federal prosecutors dropped what was left of their criminal case against him after a nearly decade-long steroids prosecution. Bonds was on 53.8 percent of Hall of Fame ballots in this year’s voting, up from 43.3 percent of ballots last year and 36.2 percent in his initial appearance. “I went to court, I won. Major League Baseball’s not punishing me for anything,” Bonds said. “If I did something wrong, then MLB can take it down. If you think I did something wrong or I violated a rule, which I never violate any rules in baseball, MLB’s not the one punishing me. The media’s punishing me, which is all right. If that’s what they want to do, go ahead, do your thing.” Whether he believes he will eventually be enshrined at Cooperstown, Bonds isn’t ready to go there. “When the time comes I can answer that, but right now there’s nothing really to answer,” he said. “It’s all a big why? I’m not the one doing it.” Fit and friendly, Bonds is now an avid cyclist. He finally got a plaque on the Giants Wall of Fame this spring. A jury found Bonds guilty in 2011 for giving a meandering answer to a federal grand jury in 2003 when asked whether his personal trainer gave him anything that required a syringe for self-injection. An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that conviction in April 2015. Bonds was charged in 2007, four years after his testimony before the grand jury after receiving a grant of immunity. He didn’t dispute that he took steroids, but testified to the grand jury that his former trainer, Greg Anderson, told him they were flaxseed oil and arthritic balm. Bonds hit 28 home runs and led the majors with a .480 on-base average in 2007. He never played after that. “Yeah, it stung at the time, hard. But we built [...]
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Justin Turner, Dodgers steamroll Mets for season sweep
NEW YORK — Justin Turner’s caught stealing turned into a two-out stolen base when a video review determined he reached around Amed Rosario to evade the rookie shortstop’s tag, sparking a three-run first inning that started the record-setting Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8-0 rout of the Mets on Sunday night and their first season sweep of New York. Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-6), Tony Cingrani and Kenley Jansen combined on a one-hitter. New York’s only baserunners were on Travis d’Arnaud’s third-inning single and Brandon Nimmo’s ninth-inning walk. Los Angeles crushed the Mets like refuse in a trash compactor, outscoring them 57-15 over seven games and outhomering them 25-11. Rookie Cody Bellinger hit his 32nd homer, a 447-foot, two-run drive in the eighth. Turner, who like Bellinger homered for the second straight day, raised his NL-leading batting average to .349. Ryu extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings, striking out eight over seven innings as Los Angeles opened a season-high, 15½-game NL West lead. Cingrani and Jansen each pitched an inning. Logan Forsythe hit a two-run single in the first and came home on Austin Barnes’ double. Turner made it 5-0 in the third with a two-run, opposite-field drive to right-center off Steven Matz (2-5). Bellinger homered against Hansel Robles. Los Angeles has won four straight, 13 of 14 and is 24-3 since July 4, losing three games to Atlanta. The Dodgers’ 79-32 record puts them on pace for 115 wins, and they are just the fourth big league team to win 43 or more over a 50-game stretch — the first since the 1912 New York Giants, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The others were the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association. New York has lost nine straight to the Dodgers and seven of eight overall. At 49-60, the Mets are 11 games under .500 for the first time since July 2014. Matz was removed after 102 pitches and 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits. He is 0-4 with an 11.03 ERA in his last six starts. Corey Seager singled with one out in the first, Turner hit into a forceout and then stole second. Umpire Will Little called him out, but replays showed Turner’s right arm reached around Rosario’s tag, and the call was reversed. Bellinger walked and Matz failed to check the runners as the Dodgers pulled off a double steal. Forsythe stayed with a curveball and grounded the next pitch up the middle for a 2-0 lead, and Barnes doubled down the left-field line. Kike Hernandez singled, but d’Arnaud blocked a sliding Turner as he took the throw from center fielder Michael Conforto and tagged the runner. Runners are 9 for 9 on steal attempts on Matz this year and 32 for 38 in his big league career. Turner doubled his season stolen base total to four, and 10 of his 13 homers have come off left-handers. LEFT, TOO RHP Yu Darvish played catch left-handed, two days after pitching seven shutout innings to win his Dodgers’ debut. “He’s got a three-pitch mix, and he can really do some things with the baseball left-handed,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. FAN CLUB Hernandez wore the Yoenis Cespedes No. 52 chain, given to fans as a promotion Saturday. Hernandez said he got it from family who attended the game. TRAINER’S ROOM Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw, who hasn’t pitched since injuring his back on July 23, will rejoin the Dodgers on Monday night in Phoenix. … C Yasmani Grandal was out of the starting lineup, a day after leaving in the ninth inning due to a sore back. “I expect him to be ready to start on Tuesday,” Roberts said. … LHP Alex Wood (13-1) threw a bullpen session and adjusted his mechanics, three days after feeling fatigue after beating Atlanta. He is to start Wednesday. … 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who hasn’t played for the Dodgers since June 11 because of lumbar disk herniation, went 2 for 5 with two RBIs in the first two games of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Related ArticlesAugust 6, 2017 Darren Daulton, former Phillies All-Star catcher, dies at 55 August 6, 2017 Yonder Alonso traded to Seattle Mariners from Oakland Athletics August 3, 2017 Dahlberg: David Price is wrong going after Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley August 2, 2017 Philadelphia Phillies scrap plans to honor Pete Rose August 2, 2017 WATCH: Austin Jackson’s amazing catch robs homer from Hanley Ramirez, but Cleveland loses Mets: RF-1B Jay Bruce missed his second straight games with a sore neck. … Neil Walker, 3 for 27 since returning from a partially torn left hamstring on July 28, fouled out when he pinch hit in the sixth. … RHP Matt Harvey (right shoulder stress injury) pitched a bullpen session and is to throw batting practice Tuesday. … RHP Robert Gsellman, on the DL s [...]
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How Jonathan Lucroy will guide the Rockies into new territory in a pennant chase. “We need a guy like that,” Nolan Arenado said.
A stomach bug stalked Jonathan Lucroy over his final days in Texas last week — “One last parting gift,” he said — before his trade from the Rangers to the Rockies. It was a delayed attack. Colorado’s new starting catcher finally felt the backlash only when he stepped into the batting cage on his first day at Coors Field. “I brought the Black Plague with me,” Lucroy said. “I was struggling. It hit me in batting practice. I was ready to rock and then I got cold sweats and it really hit me.” Sickness aside, Lucroy’s effect in an escalating playoff chase was already well underway. In the hours after Colorado acquired the veteran last Sunday, Lucroy set in motion an immediate revamping of how the Rockies will approach the final two months in their bid to make the playoffs. Colorado manager Bud Black called Lucroy from the noisy tarmac at Dulles International Airport late Sunday night after the Rockies split a doubleheader with the Nationals. Their conversation was clear and straightforward. Lucroy, a 31-year-old, eight-year veteran and a three-time all-star, was tasked with elevating an abundantly young pitching staff, a rookie-heavy rotation with 75 percent of its victories this season coming from four starters with an average age of 23. “I could tell right away by the tone of his voice that he was really excited,” Black said. “This is a good fit for him. We like our arms, for sure. We felt like we got a veteran catcher who is battle-tested in pennant races. Going with young starters like we are, there’s a comfort in him for all of us, most importantly to the pitchers.” Lucroy’s addition is blanketed by reputation. His name carries weight in Colorado’s clubhouse, an earned level of esteem from both well-traveled veterans, such as first baseman Mark Reynolds, and rookies, including 22-year-old Venezuelan pitcher German Marquez. When the Rockies’ rotation finally settles in September, it will probably include Marquez and as many as three other rookies: Antonio Senzatela, 22; Kyle Freeland, 24; and Jeff Hoffman, 24. Entering the weekend, they combined for 36 of 48 wins from starters this season. “This game is too hard to think about tomorrow or a week from now,” Lucroy said. “You have to dumb it down. It’s too hard to worry about anything else. It’s something I take very seriously. You have to slow this game down. It’s one thing I really want to impress on these young pitchers. Just worry about execution pitch by pitch.” He played alongside Reynolds and Rockies left fielder Gerardo Parra in Milwaukee. He shared a clubhouse with outfielder Ian Desmond in Texas. He caught for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on a team with Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and relievers Jake McGee and Pat Neshek. He knows bench coach Mike Redmond personally. Related ArticlesAugust 5, 2017 Jon Gray, Gerardo Parra, Pat Valaika power Rockies past Phillies August 5, 2017 Saunders: Is Rockies great Todd Helton Hall of Fame worthy? August 5, 2017 Kyle Freeland goes on DL as Rockies look to replace him in starting rotation August 4, 2017 DJ LeMahieu lifts Rockies to win over Phillies, but Kyle Freeland is injured August 4, 2017 Kyle Freeland exits Rockies game in first inning with strained left groin “He’s been through it,” Arenado said. “He’s been on teams that just missed the playoffs and teams that made it. He knows what the grind is. These next two months, we’re going into territory we’ve never been. We need a guy like that who knows how to handle that situation, especially with pitchers.” Arenado said getting Lucroy was a morale boost for a team that has not sniffed the postseason since 2009. During the WBC in March, Arenado regularly shared a 30-minute car ride with Lucroy on the way to games, along with Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Washington’s Daniel Murphy. They would eat breakfast together and talk about matchups and the philosophies of the game. “I really enjoyed the conversations we had, about how he’s been so good in this game for so long,” Arenado said. “I saw him up close. I liked the way he went about his routine, how he does his homework. He’s a guy who is very locked in and wanting to be good. He never goes into games without making sure he has everything covered. I have a lot of respect for that.” When Lucroy debuted for the Rockies on Thursday, he made an early impression. Marquez left a fastball up in the strike zone that Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes hammered for a home run early in the game. Lucroy corrected Marquez quickly, calling him through eight more outs as Colorado held its lead. The catcher started his pitching assistance with a visual [...]
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Jon Gray, Gerardo Parra, Pat Valaika power Rockies past Phillies
Inspired by Jon Gray’s 16-strikeout performance last September against San Diego, the fine folks at Coors Field installed an audio clip into the public address system that emits a wolf’s howl every time Gray whiffs a batter. There were only four howls unleashed Saturday night, but Gray (Twitter handle Mr.GrayWolf22, in case you didn’t know) still manhandled Philadelphia to lead the Rockies to an 8-5 win in front of 40,563 fans. “I like it. I like it a lot. I hope it keeps happening,” Gray said of the howl, which was noticeably louder than in previous games this season. The victory was Colorado’s third straight and it has a chance to sweep the Phillies on Sunday afternoon. The Rockies, who improved to 35-20 at home, now own the top wild-card spot in the National League by a half-game after Arizona lost to San Francisco Saturday night. Colorado maintained a 5 ½-game lead over Milwaukee for the NL’s second wild-card spot. Gray, 4-2, pitched seven innings, allowed a single run. He aggressively poured his 94-96 mph fastball in on Phillies hitters and it paid off. “These are two, solid, back-to-back games for Jon,” manager Bud Black said. “The last two games are indicative of what Jon can do. Seven innings pitched, in control, and he continues to pitch aggressively with the fastball, which I like.” Although Gray got knocked around a bit, giving up six hits, he was never in big trouble, in part because he walked only one. First baseman Mark Reynolds helped him out in the fifth, going horizontal to snare Freddy Galvis’ bases-loaded smash for the final out. Had Reynolds not made the play, it could have been a different game. Gray improved to 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA at Coors Field this season. He felt especially  comfortable Saturday night when he used his fastball. “It’s been about fastball command and being aggressive, and not really relying on secondary stuff,” the stocky right-hander said. “Sometimes (breaking balls) can make your pitch count go up. It’s been good, just throw fastballs and get groundballs early.” It helped Gray that the Rockies came out swinging against Philadelphia right-hander Nick Pivetta, who suffered through a painful, five-run, 43-pitch first inning. Related ArticlesAugust 5, 2017 How Jonathan Lucroy will guide the Rockies into new territory in a pennant chase. “We need a guy like that,” Nolan Arenado said. August 5, 2017 Saunders: Is Rockies great Todd Helton Hall of Fame worthy? August 5, 2017 Kyle Freeland goes on DL as Rockies look to replace him in starting rotation August 4, 2017 DJ LeMahieu lifts Rockies to win over Phillies, but Kyle Freeland is injured August 4, 2017 Kyle Freeland exits Rockies game in first inning with strained left groin The Rockies loaded the bases on a walk by Charlie Blackmon, a hit by pitch to DJ LeMahieu and a single by Nolan Arenado. Enter current cleanup hitter Gerardo Parra. He blistered a two-run single to right-center. Then Mark Reynolds plated Arenado on an infield grounder. Add in first baseman Tommy Joseph’s two-run error on Carlos Gonzalez’s hot shot and the Rockies were cruising. Ask Parra about his disappointing, injury-marred 2016 season and you’ll get a stony glare and an “I don’t want to talk about last year.” This year, the Rockies’ multifaceted outfielder is living large and flashing his infectious smile. He batted 3-for-4 Saturday night, raising his average to .361. Since coming off the disabled list July 7, Parra has treated games like batting practice. He has hit .443 (35-for-79) and rapped a base hit in 19-of-21 games. “GP is swinging great. He’s been swinging great for a while,” Black said. ” He’s hitting to all fields and he looks great. Let’s keep it going.” Utility man Pat Valaika, who has sparkled as a pinch hitter this season, got a rare start at shortstop in front of Trevor Story. Valaika feasted on the opportunity, delivering an RBI single in the first and blasting a two-run homer to left in the third. It was Valaika’s 10th homer of the season. Valaika went 2-for-4 and notched his seven multi-RBI game of the season. “Three RBIs tonight, it was great,” Black said. “He got a start, and made a couple of nice plays in the field. Pat’s dependable. He’s done a really nice job in his role, complimenting other players.” What looked like a tidy victory for Colorado was marred by a Phillies’ three-run eighth inning that coincided with a chilly rain that began to fall. The big swing came from Daniel Nava, who scored a three-run homer off of seldom-used reliever Zac Rosscup. Adam Ottavino came in to squelch the rally by striking out Maikel Franco. P [...]
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DJ LeMahieu lifts Rockies to win over Phillies, but Kyle Freeland is injured
DJ LeMahieu doesn’t display a lot of emotion on the baseball diamond. So it’s a big deal when he pumps his fist and claps his hands. The all-star second baseman scooted an RBI single through the right side of the infield in the eighth inning Friday night to score Pat Valaika and lift the Rockies to a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia. It was Colorado’s third one-run victory in its last four games at Coors Field. LeMahieu’s patented opposite-field hit, coming after the Phillies intentionally walked Charlie Blackmon, tagged a happy ending on a difficult night that saw rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland leave the game in the first inning with an apparent groin injury. Nolan Arenado — who else? — tied the game 3-3 with a one-out homer in the seventh off Ricardo Pinto. The 433-foot blast was Arenado’s 25th of the season It was his big-league best 65th extra-base hit. Closer Greg Holland notched his 34th save in 35 chances with a perfect ninth. It’s the most saves for the Rockies since Huston Street had 35 in 2009, the last time the Rockies made the playoffs. Freeland was facing Aaron Altherr, the third batter of the game, and had thrown only 11 pitches (10 for strikes) when he abruptly stopped pitching. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy immediately went out to the mound, as did manager Bud Black, assistant trainer Scott Gehert and pitching coach Steve Foster. After throwing a pitch, it was quickly determined that Freeland could not continue and he was replaced by Chris Rusin. Freeland, who appeared to be in some pain, motioned to his left groin while he talked to Black and Gehert. Later, Freeland could be seen limping in the Rockies’ dugout. Freeland, a Denver native and graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, is 11-7 with a 3.70 ERA. His 11 victories are the most among all major-league rookies this season. If he’s out for any length of time, it will throw a wrench into the Rockies’ starting rotation. Related ArticlesAugust 4, 2017 Kyle Freeland exits Rockies game in first inning with apparent leg injury August 4, 2017 Mike Dunn’s return to form helping stabilize Rockies’ bullpen August 3, 2017 Chad Bettis gets deeper into a rehab from cancer in one more step in his Rockies return August 3, 2017 Decision coming soon on Tyler Chatwood’s place in Rockies rotation; Greg Holland returns; Jake McGee and Ian Desmond updates August 3, 2017 German Marquez passes fifth-inning moment of truth en route to Rockies’ walk-off win over the Mets Rusin, the Rockies’ Swiss Army knife out of the pen, ran into big trouble in the second, giving up three consecutive singles to load the bases before whiffing Cameron Rupp, inducing Phillies starter Vince Velasquez to pop out to second and getting Cesar Hernandez to roll out to second. In 3 ⅓ innings, Rusin struck out five. The Rockies took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off the bat of Gonzales. Colorado loaded the bases with walks by Blackmon, Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds off Phillies starter Vince Velasquez. Then Gonzalez, who has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, ripped a two-run single to right-center. Philadelphia tied the game 2-2 in the sixth off Antonio Senzatela. Altherr led off with a single and scored on Nick Williams’ double to right center. Williams scored on Maikel Franco’s triple to right. He should have been held to a double, but Gonzalez whiffed on the bouncing ball, allowing Franco to reach third. Oberg relieved Senzatela and got pinch-hitter Hyun Soo Kim to groundout to end the rally. [...]
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