Rockies

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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Rockies call-up slugger Tom Murphy and their catching corps is now intact; Carlos Gonzalez sits again
The Rockies on Thursday called up catcher Tom Murphy, the slugger who missed the first 10 weeks of the season with a broken right arm. And now, finally, their core catching corps is intact. “It’s almost like opening day,” Murphy said. “You know you’re going to be a really good team. That’s the feeling I have right now.” Murphy was in line to compete with Tony Wolters for the Rockies’ starting catcher job on opening day. But Murphy fractured his lower arm throwing to second base in a spring training game against the Cubs when his arm hit Anthony Rizzo’s bat on a throw to second base. The Rockies initially thought Murphy might miss 4-6 weeks. In his absence, Wolters played in 42 of the club’s 68 games. Veteran Ryan Hanigan, signed late in March for depth, and Dustin Garneau, filled in for Murphy. Colorado optioned Hanigan to the minor-leagues on Thursday to make room for Murphy. Colorado manager Bud Black immediately placed Murphy in the Rockies lineup. He hit eighth against the Giants at Coors Field. “To me, it’s just making sure I remember what type of player I am and how I go about the game,” Murphy said. He was sent to Triple-A Albuquerque on June 3 for a rehab assignment, then hit 12-for-29 (.414) with a home run, a triple and four doubles in seven games. Murphy, too, used his time away working on his defensive posture. With his arm immobilized, Murphy could not hit while he was injured. But Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, a former major-league catcher, drilled Murphy on footwork and balance. Related ArticlesJune 15, 2017 Jon Gray’s return to the Rockies has a tentative plan. “This is the first time it feels realistic,” he said. June 15, 2017 Lunch Special: Should the Rockies give up on Carlos Gonzalez? June 14, 2017 German Marquez, Raimel Tapia lead Rockies over Pirates to snap three-game losing streak June 14, 2017 Rockies sit slumping Carlos Gonzalez; catcher Tom Murphy nearing call-up June 13, 2017 Rockies go heavy on college pitchers in 2017 MLB draft, including a standout from Broomfield “Right now, this is the best catching I’ve ever had,” Murphy said. CarGo sits again. Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies veteran right fielder, was not in the starting lineup for a second consecutive game. He is healthy, but mired, going 0-for-20 on the Rockies’ seven-game road trip through Chicago and Pittsburgh. His sitting was the manager’s decision. “Giving him a couple days to clean the slate,” Black said. “He’ll be in there tomorrow. When he gets it, he can go on a tear. And I still think that’s going to happen.” 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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German Marquez, Raimel Tapia lead Rockies over Pirates to snap three-game losing streak
PITTSBURGH — The Rockies waded into the fountain of youth Wednesday night and came away with an important victory. Behind a bounce-back start from rookie starter German Marquez and a career-high four hits from speedy rookie outfielder Raimel Tapia, the Rockies beat Pittsburgh 5-1 to snuff out a three-game losing streak. The Rockies (42-26) finished their seven-game road trip 4-3 and begin a seven-game homestand Thursday at Coors Field against San Francisco. An assist goes to left-handed reliever Jake McGee, who inherited a one-out bases loaded mess from Adam Ottavino in the seventh and bailed him out. McGee induced a weak pop up to center from Adam Frazier and struck out Josh Harrison with a rising, 97 mph fastball. McGee came back out and pitched a scoreless eighth, bridging to closer Greg Holland, who set the Pirates down in order in the ninth. Marquez, just 22, grew up a little bit more Wednesday night. In his last start, he was gone after three innings, weighed down by an 80-pitch load. But the right-hander delivered five-plus solid innings Wednesday night, allowing one run on four hits. Marquez kept his cool in a bizarre fifth inning that included a near brouhaha. Andrew McCutchen singled with one out, and then Marquez threw an inside fastball that clipped Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli. At that point, Cervelli and Colorado catch Tony Wolters started jawing and the benches emptied. No punches were thrown and order was restored, but with two outs, Marquez uncorked a wild pitch, advancing McCutchen to third and Cervelli to second. Colorado’s 3-0 lead was in danger, but Marquez got pinch-hitter Jose Osuna to groundout to short. After two games here in which the offense scuffled terribly, the Rockies needed an early boost. They got it from Ian Desmond in the second inning. He lined the first pitch he saw from Pittsburgh starter Chad Kuhl just over the left-field wall. Desmond’s fourth homer gave Colorado a 1-0 lead. Colorado pulled ahead 3-0 in the fifth on an RBI single by Trevor Story through the left side to score Desmond, and with an adventurous, but ultimately successful sacrifice bunt by Marquez to score Tapia, whose speed helped him reach on an infield single. Marquez got clipped on the finger by an earlier bunt attempt, but he stood tall at the plate and put down a two-strike bunt between the mound and first base. Pirates first baseman Josh Bell was charged with a fielding error, but Marquez was credited with an RBI. Tapia, getting the start in front of the slumping Carlos Gonzalez, scored three runs. He led off the seventh with a ground-rule double to left and came home on a pinch-hit single to right by Alexi Amarisa to boost Colorado’s lead to 4-1. Tapia scored again in the ninth, reaching on another infield single and scoring on Pat Valaika’s shallow sacrifice fly to foul territory down the third-base line. [...]
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Kacy Clemens – Roger’s son – among familiar names on Day 2 of MLB draft
NEW YORK — Another Rocket is headed to Toronto. The Blue Jays selected University of Texas first baseman Kacy Clemens — son of Roger — in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday. The younger Clemens hit .305 for the Longhorns this season, along with a team-leading 12 home runs and 49 RBIs. There could be another Clemens taken Wednesday when the draft wraps up with rounds 11-40: Kacy’s younger brother Kody, a redshirt-sophomore shortstop who hit .241 with five homers and 23 RBIs for Texas. Roger Clemens was the No. 19 overall pick by Boston in 1983 and later pitched two seasons for the Blue Jays. Another of his sons, Koby, was an eighth-round selection of Houston in 2005 and is currently a coach in the Astros organization. Rounds 3-10 were held Tuesday via conference calls with teams. The first two rounds were Monday night at MLB Network studios, leading off with Minnesota taking California high school shortstop Royce Lewis at No. 1. [...]
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Rockies waste strong start by Tyler Chatwood, lose to Pirates
PITTSBURGH — The 2017 Rockies have the best road record in the National League, but Tuesday night conjured up bad memories of Rockies road seasons of the recent past. Despite another stellar start from Tyler Chatwood, the Rockies lost 5-2 to Pittsburgh on a night when all-star Andrew McCutchen slammed two home runs at PNC Park. Colorado (41-26) lost its third straight game, matching its longest skid of the season. Pittsburgh won its fourth straight for its longest winning streak of the season. Jon Jaso’s pinch-hit, two-run homer off reliever Adam Ottavino in the seventh was the deciding blow. McCutchen then hammered a 3-0 pitch off struggling reliever Jordan Lyles in the eighth for a two-run homer to close the deal. Lyles has given up eight homers in 29⅓ innings, and his ERA has ballooned to 7.06. Ottavino got tagged with the loss, but the Rockies’ offense was a no-show, managing just three hits. Carlos Gonzalez went 0-for-4 and is now 0-for-20 with six strikeouts on the current road trip. The Rockies created enough traffic to win the game, but one night after going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, they went 1-for-6 on Tuesday night. Trevor Story singled in Ian Desmond with two outs in the ninth to dent the Pirates’ victory margin. Ottavino entered the game because manager Bud Black played the percentages with the game tied 1-1 the seventh. With Desmond on second and Story on first after drawing walks off Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole, Black pinch hit for Chatwood, even though Chatwood had thrown only 79 pitches. But move didn’t work out, because Alexi Amarista struck out to end the Rockies’ would-be rally, and Jaso hit his go-ahead homer off Ottavino in the bottom of the frame. Virtually nothing was happening for the Rockies offensively against Cole until Story turned on his speed in the fifth to tie the game 1-1. Story drew a walk on six pitches and then took off on the first pitch to Tony Wolters. The timing was perfect, because Wolters dumped a single into shallow left field and Story kept running as third-base coach Stu Cole waved him home. Related ArticlesJune 13, 2017 Kiszla vs. Groke: Can Mark Reynolds hit .300 for the Rockies for the first time in his career? June 13, 2017 Rockies face rotation questions as Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson near return June 13, 2017 DJ LeMahieu moves up a spot in latest National League all-star voting update June 12, 2017 Rockies nab prep power-hitter Ryan Vilade in MLB draft — with echoes of Matt Holliday June 12, 2017 Rockies’ bats cold in the clutch, Kyle Freeland struggles in loss to Pirates Pirates left fielder Adam Frazier, rather than throwing home, threw to second base, and the relay attempt to nail Wolters was a hair too late. According to Statcast, Story sprinted from first to home in 9.18 seconds. That ranks as the sixth fastest in the majors this season, and it was also the fastest Statcast has ever tracked a Rockies player going from first to third. Chatwood made another excellent road start, going six innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out five. Chatwood’s ERA over his last four road starts is 1.00. His one big mistake came in the fourth. Chatwood had just gotten Josh Bell to ground into a double play when McCutchen stepped to plate, timed up Chatwood’s 2-2 curveball and drove it into the left-field seats. McCutchen’s 10th homer gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Cole had been in a deep funk, posting a 10.71 ERA over his last four starts. But he pitched like an ace against the Rockies, giving up a single run on three hits. [...]
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Carlos Gonzalez’s slump continues, but Rockies manager Bud Black still preaching patience
PITTSBURGH — Bud Black is keeping the faith. The Rockies’ manager is well aware of the details of Carlos Gonzalez‘s prolonged slump: .223 batting average, five home runs and just 19 RBIs in 215 at-bats entering Monday night’s game here. Black also knows that Gonzalez is batting .157 (8-for-51) with runners in scoring position. So, while Gonzalez hit fifth instead of cleanup against Pittsburgh on Monday, Black continues to express confidence that Gonzalez will snap out of his funk. “We have to be patient, we have to just hang in there, knowing that this is a skilled player and very talented,” Black said. “This is a guy that we know, in the end, the production will be there.” Nonetheless, Gonzalez’s frustration overflowed Sunday in Colorado’s 7-5 loss to the Cubs when he was ejected for arguing after striking out in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and no outs. It was only the second time in Gonzalez’s 10-year career that he was tossed. He admitted afterward that frustration fueled his blowup. “I want to help the team score runs, and that’s what really frustrated me,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve said for a long time, I’m not a guy that’s going to get upset for getting out. I get upset when I feel I have the opportunity to help the team and I don’t.” Black thought Gonzalez was showing signs of breaking out during Colorado’s 10-game road trip through Minnesota, Cincinnati and Philadelphia last month. Gonzalez hit .400 on the trip, increased his average from .214 to .256, hit two home runs and drove in five runs. However, he’s regressed since then. “That 10-game road trip was more CarGo-like,” Black said. “I think all of us, including CarGo, thought that might be the trigger for him. We’ve seen some signs since that, but it hasn’t quite come together like it did on that trip.” Gonzalez began slowly in 2015 as well. At this point of the season two years ago, he was hitting .242 with seven homers and 20 RBIs. Injury updates. Two key Rockies — right-handed starter Jon Gray and catcher Tom Murphy — are getting closer to rejoining the club. Gray, the opening-day starter, is working his way back from a stress fracture in his left foot. He’ll make an injury rehab start Wednesday for High-A Lancaster (Calif.) and his scheduled to pitch four innings and/or 60 pitches. The Rockies will then decide if Gray needs one or two more rehab starts before he rejoins the Rockies. The Rockies want to get Gray’s pitch count up to about 90 pitches. Murphy, out since the end of spring training with a fractured right forearm, is playing well for Triple-A Albuquerque. Murphy was hitting .375 with a .667 slugging percentage in 26 plate appearances through Sunday since joining the Isotopes at the beginning of June. “He’s getting at-bats and getting reps. His arm feels good,” Black said. “He’s getting close, probably a week to 10 days.” Related ArticlesJune 11, 2017 Frustrated Carlos Gonzalez ejected in Rockies’ loss to Cubs June 11, 2017 Rockies have a record-long wait in the 2017 MLB draft, but there is precedent for potential June 11, 2017 Rockies’ seven-game winning streak ends as Cubs homer twice off Jordan Lyles June 10, 2017 Rockies’ RBI machines Mark Reynolds and Charlie Blackmon take full advantage of windy Wrigley Field June 10, 2017 Saunders: Brilliance of Rockies’ Nolan Arenado is tough to capture in words, stats or tweets The Rockies have to make a decision regarding Murphy soon. He must be activated from the 10-day disabled list by June 23. At that point, Colorado must decide whether to add Murphy to the 25-man roster or option him to Triple-A. Part of the decision revolves around what the club will do with veteran Ryan Hanigan, who’s handled the pitching staff well. Colorado can’t simply option Hanigan to the minors without exposing him to waivers. However, it must be remembered that Murphy competed with Tony Wolters to be the tandem starting catcher during spring training, until Murphy was injured. “Murph was going to play a lot,” Black said. “He showed some power with his bat and we liked how he caught games last year.” [...]
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Regis Jesuit alum David Peterson selected by Mets with 20th pick in first round of 2017 MLB Draft
As a highly-touted pitcher at Regis Jesuit, David Peterson was on track to be taken early in the 2014 MLB Draft. A broken leg suffered while playing pickup basketball shortly before his senior season changed all that and Peterson tumbled down the draft board to the 28th round (854th pick overall) to the Red Sox. Three years later, that ill-advised game of hoops looks like a blessing in disguise as Peterson — who elected to attend the University of Oregon following high school — was taken by the New York Mets with the 20th overall pick in Monday night’s first round of the 2017 MLB draft. Related ArticlesJune 12, 2017 Royce Lewis picked by Minnesota Twins as No. 1 overall pick in 2017 MLB draft June 12, 2017 MLB draft preview: Twins hoping for more Joe Mauer magic with No. 1 pick June 11, 2017 Rockies have a record-long wait in the 2017 MLB draft, but there is precedent for potential June 11, 2017 A look at the top prospects for 2017 MLB draft The selection capped a dominant junior season for the Ducks’ southpaw, who went 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA while becoming a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the first All-American in Oregon baseball history. Peterson also set an Oregon record with 140 strikeouts in 100.1 innings while walking just 15 batters. He ranks second in the nation in strikeouts and wins, and recorded six games with double-digit Ks this spring. While at Regis Jesuit, Peterson was 3-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 40.1 innings as a senior following his return from his broken leg, leading the Raiders to a Class 5A state runner-up finish. Another Raiders player is likely to hear his named called over the next few days, as Caleb Sloan is the top pitching prospect in Colorado’s Class of 2017. If picked, Sloan — who has committed to Texas Christian University — will make it six straight years that at least two former Regis Jesuit players were taken in the draft. [...]
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Rockies have a record-long wait in the 2017 MLB draft, but there is precedent for potential
Rockies manager Bud Black twice skipped a chance to play professional baseball to stay a student. His third chance at the Major League Baseball draft worked out just fine, but not without torment. “The first couple hours, not too much anguish,” Black said of waiting to be drafted in 1979. “Then we were in the 10th and 11th rounds and I was like, ‘Really? I thought I was better.’ And then I said, ‘Whatever.’ ” Black was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 17th round and received a $1,000 signing bonus. He used that money to buy enough gas to drive from Southern California to Bellingham, Wash. The Rockies won’t have to wait until the 17th round Monday to pick a player. But they will have to wait. Their selection at No. 48 will be the lowest first pick in their 25-year history. Last year, the Rockies had three picks in the top 50. They drafted within the top five each of the past five years. Related ArticlesJune 11, 2017 Rockies’ seven-game winning streak ends as Cubs homer twice off Jordan Lyles June 10, 2017 Rockies’ RBI machines Mark Reynolds and Charlie Blackmon take full advantage of windy Wrigley Field June 10, 2017 Saunders: Brilliance of Rockies’ Nolan Arenado is tough to capture in words, stats or tweets June 10, 2017 Jeff Hoffman outpitches Eddie Butler as Rockies beat Cubs for 7th straight win June 10, 2017 On The Rox podcast: What is Chad Bettis’ role when he returns to Rockies? This year, Colorado has three picks among the first 100 and just two on the draft’s first day — No. 48 and No. 70, both in the second round. They also have the No. 86 pick. The three-day draft starts with the first two rounds Monday and runs through Wednesday. Black was pick No. 417, a value pick if ever there was one. His 15-year career as a big-league pitcher ended with a 21.1 WAR (wins above replacement). Orel Hershiser went 23 picks later to the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched 18 years for a 56.8 WAR. The Rockies have to hope for similar fortuity. By signing free agent Ian Desmond away from the Texas Rangers, for five years and $70 million, Colorado had to forfeit the 11th pick as compensation (given to Texas at the back of the first round). In the 15 years before Jeff Bridich became their general manager in 2014, the Rockies used 22 first-round picks on 13 pitchers and eight of them never pitched in the majors for the Rockies. Since then, one first-round pitcher already is contributing: left-hander Kyle Freeland (the 2014 pick at No. 8). Rockies history outside the first round is more telling. Colorado drafted Nolan Arenado at No. 59 in 2009, Charlie Blackmon at No. 72 in 2008 and Chad Bettis at No. 76 in 2010. But the Rockies’ first pick this year will be their lowest since they drafted shortstop Jayson Nix at No. 44 in 2001. But even the No. 1 pick seems in the wind. California’s Hunter Greene would be a rare pick at No. 1 as a high school right-hander, perhaps enough to scare away the Minnesota Twins. Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright and Louisville’s Brendan McKay, a pitcher turned first baseman, might jump up instead. Regis Jesuit pitcher Caleb Sloan, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, might be the top prospect in Colorado. But his draft position is complicated by a firm commitment to Big 12 power Texas Christian. [...]
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Frustrated Carlos Gonzalez ejected in Rockies’ loss to Cubs
CHICAGO — It was a very un-CarGo-like moment. In the midst of the Rockies’ four-run rally in the fifth inning Sunday, with the bases loaded and no outs, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson. Gonzalez argued, tossed in a few choice words, and was ejected for only the second time in his 10-year career. “Obviously, everybody knows I’m not a guy who argues balls and strikes. I’ve been in this league for a long time and I can’t remember the last time I got ejected,” Gonzalez said after the Cubs won 7-5 to end Colorado’s seven-game winning streak. “I thought it was a bad pitch.” Gonzalez said he went into the Rockies’ clubhouse after his ejection and looked at video of the inside pitch from Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta. “Sometimes you go back and see it and you think, well, (the umpire) was right,” Gonzalez said. “But this time, it was a bad pitch. I said a few words and he tossed me.” The only other time Gonzalez was ejected: Sept. 9, 2011, against Cincinnati in the fifth inning at Coors Field. Gonzalez admitted that his ejection Sunday was also fueled by his inability to drive in runs during Colorado’s comeback. Gonzalez has driven in only 19 runs in 158 at-bats this season and is hitting .157 (8-for-51) with runners in scoring position. “I think it was about the situation too,” he said. “We had runners on and the bases loaded and there is an opportunity to score some runs and keep the inning going. “So that’s what really frustrated me. I’ve said for a long time that I’m not a guy who’s going to get frustrated (about) getting outs. But I get upset when I feel like I have an opportunity to help the team and I don’t.” McGee bouncing back. Left-handed reliever Jake McGee figures he was pitching with “maybe 70, 80 percent strength” in his left leg last season because of a wobbly knee. The injury robbed him of not only his fastball velocity, but accuracy. Now that he’s healthy, McGee has become an increasingly dependable late-inning arm out of the bullpen. He’s riding a scoreless streak of 12⅓ innings, the second-longest by a Colorado pitcher this season. “With my knee healthy, and my strength back, I think, now, I’m able to mess with hitters’ timing more,” said McGee, who owns a 1.40 ERA, with 32 strikeouts and only five walks in 25⅔ innings. “It’s a mix of other things too. I’m a year older and smarter now. I know how to vary counts and know what pitches to throw at the right time. But mostly, it’s about my location.” Related ArticlesJune 11, 2017 Rockies’ seven-game winning streak ends as Cubs homer twice off Jordan Lyles June 10, 2017 Rockies’ RBI machines Mark Reynolds and Charlie Blackmon take full advantage of windy Wrigley Field June 10, 2017 Saunders: Brilliance of Rockies’ Nolan Arenado is tough to capture in words, stats or tweets June 10, 2017 Jeff Hoffman outpitches Eddie Butler as Rockies beat Cubs for 7th straight win June 10, 2017 On The Rox podcast: What is Chad Bettis’ role when he returns to Rockies? McGee has earned manager Bud Black’s trust. “Jake pitched last year with a very balky knee,”  Black said. “That’s going to affect a lot of stuff — velocity, location, action on pitches. Now, because his lower half is where it needs to be, his velocity is up and he can drive the ball to where it’s intended.” According to Fangraphs, McGee’s overall fastball velocity is up from 93.4 mph last season to 94.5 this season. Footnotes. Mark Reynolds‘ tear continued Sunday. The first baseman went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He has driven in 54 runs, surpassing the 53 RBIs he had last season. … Ian Desmond went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and has three multihit games in his last five outings. … Colorado finished its season series with the Cubs at 5-2, its most wins against the Cubs since 2000. Looking ahead … Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesStarting pitcher Kyle Freeland #31 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs during the second game of a double header at Coors Field on May 9, 2017 in Denver. Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (7-3, 3.34 ERA) at Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31), 5:05 p.m. Monday, ROOT; 850 AM Taillon will be making his first start since May 3 after having surgery for testicular cancer. Taillon put up a 3.31 ERA in six starts before his diagnosis. In his final start at Triple-A, Taillon allowed five runs in six innings and struck out nine. Freeland, one of four rookies in the Rockies’ rotation, is coming off a fine performance las [...]
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On The Rox podcast: What is Chad Bettis’ role when he returns to Rockies?
Subscribe to the podcast SoundCloud | iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Pitcher Chad Bettis returned to the Colorado Rockies this week, following his chemotherapy treatment, and has an ambitious timeline to pitch before the All-Star break. The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders and Nick Groke discuss when they think Bettis will return to game action, and what his role will be when he returns. In the second segment, Patrick and Nick discuss which Rockies pitcher they would send to the mound in a hypothetical must-win game at the end of the season against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. Finally, Patrick catches up with Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster, to get his insight on the remarkable success of Colorado’s rookie hurlers. Foster also provides a quick thumbnail on each of the Rockies starting pitchers. Related ArticlesMay 31, 2017 On The Rox podcast: Kyle Freeland talks early season success [...]
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