Rockies

San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies live blog: Updates, analysis, more
Follow the latest updates and analysis of Wednesday’s game at Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies take on the San Diego Padres. (function(d, s, id) {var js,ijs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//embed.scribblelive.com/widgets/embed.js";ijs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ijs);}(document, "script", "scrbbl-js"));Five years ago, we all thought movie theaters were perfectly safe. That would change in just a few hours. dpo.st/2tqZNxlWas at Citi Field last weekend for #Rockies and #Mets .. They extended the safety netting and fans told me you could hardly tell a differenceIn last 22 games (counting today), #Rockie Parra is hitting 35-for-66. (.530).Wow!Ian Desmond's sac fly makes it 3-0, #Rockies .Parra follows with with single. Parra hitting 17-for-32 since coming off DL.Sac fly by Ian Desmond brings home Arenado. #Rockies lead 3-0, 2 outs B1 and looking for more as Parra singlesRemember what happened last time @MrGrayWolf22 faced the #Padres ? Complete-game shutout, 16 Ks.#Rockies up 2-0. LeMahieu scores on passed ball.Passed ball brings home LeMahieu from third. Still no outs, and Richard is looking rattled on the mound right now. 2-0 #Rockies leadAfter a Blackmon bloop and LeMahieu walk, Arenado singles to give #Rockies a 1-0 lead over Padres, B1#Rockies Nolan Arenado with RBI single. 74 RBIs now, most in major.Charlie Blackmon extends his hitting streak to 14 games, tied for the longest streak of his career (3x, last: April 14-29, 2017).If DJ could pull the ball to left, he'd have a triple. Quite a shift.#Rockies 14-game hitting streak for #Rockies @Chuck_Nazty ties career high. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DFHwdRRUMAA3gfz.jpg#Rockies ' Charlie Blackmon ties his season and career best with a 14-game hit streak, thanks to a 1st-inning single <a href="https://t.co/H0vsjTJF1l" title="https://www.mlb.com/gameday/padres-vs-rockies/2017/07/19/491516#game_state =live,game_tab=,game=491516">mlb.com/gameday/padres…14-game hitting streak for #Rockies @Chuck_Nazty ties career high. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DFHwdRRUMAA3gfz.jpgFor what it's worth, #Rockies 24 victories in day games are most in MLB.#Rockies @MrGrayWolf22 gives up a walk to #Padres Margot, but picks him off. Gets 2 pop ups in 1st.Part of it is his superior defense, With Gray on the mound today, they want that. twitter.com/mattwlloyd/sta… [...]
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Rockies get cooking against the Padres, win consecutive games for first time in nearly a month
The last time the Rockies won consecutive games — an eon ago on June 20 — Nolan Arenado blasted a cycle-capping walk-off home run. Since then, they wandered a desert trail of ordinary, never pitching well enough to match the bats or failing to slug when the arms were slinging. They sank from first place to third in the National League West. On Monday back at Coors Field, that oasis of good times, the Rockies jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 9-6 victory over the San Diego Padres in front of 37,561 fans in LoDo. Colorado, finally, won a second game in a row, after romping the Mets in New York, 13-4 on Sunday. Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesRockies centerfielder Charlie Blackmon is congratulated by first base coach Tony Diaz after hitting a home run in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on July 17, 2017 in Denver.David Zalubowski, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez delivers a pitch to San Diego Padres' Manuel Margot during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 17, 2017, in Denver.David Zalubowski, The Associated PressSan Diego Padres' Carlos Asuaje, left, dives back into first base as Colorado Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds fields a pickoff throw during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 17, 2017, in Denver.Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesCharlie Blackmon #19 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on July 17, 2017 in Denver.Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesCharlie Blackmon #19 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on July 17, 2017 in Denver.David Zalubowski, The Associated PressSan Diego Padres starting pitcher Luis Perdomo reacts after giving up a solo home run to Colorado Rockies' Charlie Blackmon, back, during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 17, 2017, in Denver.David Zalubowski, The Associated PressSan Diego Padres' Wil Myers, back, jokes with manager Andy Green while waiting to bat against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 17, 2017, in Denver.David Zalubowski, The Associated PressSan Diego Padres starter Luis Perdomo delivers a pitch to Colorado Rockies' Charlie Blackmon during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 17, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Show Caption of Expand Gerardo Parra and Charlie Blackmon each hit solo home runs, Trevor Story knocked in three runs, and 22-year-old rookie right-hander German Marquez struck out nine Padres hitters as everything fell together, at least for seven innings. “We’ve definitely underperformed lately,” Story said. “We got back to how we normally swing it. And it’s contagious. Once we get a couple games stacked up like that, hopefully there’s more to come.” Two victories do not make a streak. But the Rockies have a hole to dig out from, and consecutive runaway wins are a step up. They are 11 games in the wake of the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, yet the Rockies (54-41) moved 12 1/2 games ahead of the fourth-place Padres (40-52), who had won two in a row and seven of 10 coming in. BOX SCORE: Rockies 9, Padres 6 This is the Rockies’ lot: Their chances to win the West are fading toward black, but the playoffs are very much in play. They are sitting strong in a wild-card spot. But after losing 15-of-20 games since Arenado’s highlight-reel homer way back when, Colorado’s hold on the postseason became tenuous. “It’s still too early to be looking at the standings,” Desmond said. “We have some things to address and it looks like we are.” What they hope will be a turnaround started Monday from the jump. After Marquez struck out Manuel Margot and Wil Myers in the first, Blackmon led off the bottom half with a towering, 451-foot shot off the third deck facade in right field, his team-leading 22nd homer. Related ArticlesJuly 17, 2017 Inside-the-park homer stands for Charlie Blackmon, even if the effort was unnecessary July 17, 2017 David Dahl might not return this season; Kyle Freeland remains out of Rockies’ rotation July 16, 2017 Rockies’ Jeff Hoffman settles nerves, delivers in front of home-state crowd July 16, 2017 Charlie Blackmon hits inside-the-park homer as Rockies blast Mets July 15, 2017 Rockies’ misery continues as Tyler Chatwood injured in loss to Mets Story’s two-run double in the third helped the Rockies bat around their order in a five-run frame, giving them a 7-2 lead. Parra’s looper to the left-field seats in the seventh made it 8-3. Marquez gave up a two-run homer in the second to light-hitting Jabari Blash, a righ [...]
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Rockies’ Jeff Hoffman settles nerves, delivers in front of home-state crowd
NEW YORK — Nearly 40 friends and family members came to Citi Field to watch the Rockies’ Jeff Hoffman pitch Sunday against the Mets. The rookie right-hander was very much aware of the fan club that traveled three hours from Latham, N.Y., to see him pitch. “I actually had more jitters this time than I’ve ever had,” Hoffman said, adding that he could hear “familiar voices cheering for me.” Jim McIsaac, Getty ImagesJeff Hoffman of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets on July 16, 2017 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.Kathy Willens, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Sunday, July 16, 2017, in New York.Kathy Willens, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman winds up during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Sunday, July 16, 2017, in New York.Kathy Willens, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman (34) kicks the mound after allowing a solo home run to New York Mets' Lucas Duda, right, during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 16, 2017, in New York.Show Caption of Expand One voice, in particular, stood out. It belonged to Jeff Hoffman Sr. “My dad’s voice carries,”  Hoffman said with a laugh. “I’ve been hearing that voice for a long time, telling me how to play the game. When I’m on deck, I can hear that voice above everybody else’s. That guy’s voice carries forever.” Hoffman did his father and fan club proud. The Rockies were in dire need of a strong start and Hoffman delivered, pitching six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and walking only one in Colorado’s 13-4 victory. He improved to 6-1 overall, and is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA on the road. “Overall, Jeff did just fine,” manager Bud Black said. “Every game is a learning experience. And now he’s come back and pitched in front of family and friends. So he can check that box. He’s done that.” Hoffman blanked the Mets for three innings before Lucas Duda ripped a solo homer to right with two outs in the fourth. Asdrubal Cabrera added a two-run homer in the fifth. But thanks to a big lead provided by the Rockies, Hoffman was never in any real trouble. “He pitched a lot with his fastball,” Black said. “They connected with a couple of mislocated fastballs, but overall he did a good job.” Desmond update. Before the game, right-handed starter Tyler Chatwood was placed on the 10-day disabled list (strained calf) and Ian Desmond was activated off the DL. Desmond, returning from a strained calf that landed him on the DL on July 3, made a start in left field and went 2-for-3, driving in two runs with a first-inning single to jump-start Colorado’s offense. “It felt good to contribute,” Desmond said. “I felt good, but I was fighting my brain a little bit because you just don’t know how it’s going to go. I was 100 percent when (the injury) happened, so coming off it, you never know what might happen.” Desmond was replaced by pinch-runner Raimel Tapia in the sixth after drawing a walk, but that was just for precautionary reasons. “He’s fine,”  Black said of Desmond. “He’d been out there for a couple of hours and I felt fine with where we were with the game. So we took him out. But he’s fine. He’ll continue to get more confidence in the calf, as will we.” Rotation in motion. Chatwood said his right calf muscle isn’t as sore as he expected it to be and hopes he can play catch Monday. Still, he will miss at least two starts while on the DL. He injured the calf during warm-ups Saturday night and tried to pitch through it. He lasted only 19 pitches before he left the game with the Rockies trailing 3-0. “After the fact, it would have been nice to know that he felt something (during warm-ups),” Black said. “At that point we could have made a decision, one way or another, to pull him back right then. … But what makes professional athletes at this level is their extreme competitiveness and desire to play.” Related ArticlesJuly 16, 2017 Charlie Blackmon hits inside-the-park homer as Rockies blast Mets July 15, 2017 Rockies’ misery continues as Tyler Chatwood injured in loss to Mets July 15, 2017 Saunders: Slumping Rockies face tough questions as second half begins July 15, 2017 Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood removed from game with injury in first inning vs. Mets July 15, 2017 Kyle Freeland facing short-term bump from rotation as Rockies look to rest his arm Chat [...]
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Ron Cook: Let’s give Pirates’ drug cheat Starling Marte the benefit of the doubt
So how are you going to react to seeing Starling Marte when he strolls onto the PNC Park lawn Tuesday night for the first time since he was busted for steroids? I have a suggestion: Boo Marte when he is introduced before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Boo him even more loudly when he is introduced before his first at-bat. Then, get over it. No need to thank me. Marte needs to know you are disgusted with him. He sabotaged the Pirates’ season with his 80-game suspension for using a performance-enhancing drug. Who knows where the team would be if it had him all season? It probably wouldn’t be 42-47, 7 games behind the Brewers in the National League Central Division. It might even be in first place in the lousy division. Shame on Marte. Boo your hearts out. But after Marte’s first at-bat? You need to remember he still plays for your team and isn’t going away anytime soon. He has a six-year, $31 million contract through 2019 with club options for 2020 and 2021. The better he does, the better your team will do. A little support from you wouldn’t hurt. I know, that’s distasteful. But it’s true. At the very least, if you want to see the Pirates win, you should give Marte a fair chance to turn the boos to cheers. I have no idea how long Marte had been using steroids. He says it was a one-time thing, but I’m too cynical to believe that. It’s a lot easier to speculate about why Marte turned to performance-enhancing drugs. Maybe he wanted to be able to work out longer to become stronger. Maybe he wanted to be able to recover from injuries faster after playing in just three of the final 27 games last season because of a back issue. Or maybe he just wanted to hit more home runs after finishing with only nine last season. He had to know a lot of people were counting on him to replace some of the power lost when Jung Ho Kang drove himself drunk right out of baseball. Marte’s reasons don’t matter at this point. All that matters is he is back. All eyeballs — including those in his clubhouse — will be on him to see if he can again become the Pirates’ best overall player. He’s a two-time Gold Glove winner, was an All-Star last season and has enough speed that he stole 47 bases a year ago. The prediction here is Marte will be that player, maybe even better. Too many others have returned from drug suspensions to be great to think that he can’t do it. Seattle Mariners star Nelson Cruz heads that list. Perhaps you saw him Tuesday night at the All-Star Game posing for a picture with home plate umpire Joe West? Cruz has 17 home runs and 70 RBIs this season after averaging 42 home runs from 2014-16 after his suspension. There are other examples with Pirates ties. Marlon Byrd played a big part down the stretch in 2013 to help the team end 20 years of losing and make the playoffs for the first time since 1992. Edinson Volquez was good enough to get the ball for the wild-card game against San Francisco in 2014. Francisco Cervelli has played well enough here to get a three-year, $31 million contract extension through the 2019 season. Marte has to have similar success to earn your cheers again. I get that Marte’s path back as a drug cheat is different and more difficult than the others. The suspensions of Byrd, Volquez and Cervelli happened with other teams. You don’t care about the impact on those clubs. But Marte’s suspension happened here. You lived it. You have seen what it has done to the Pirates. You are sickened by it. But all of that can be overcome. Dee Gordon is the proof. He won the 2015 National League batting championship with the Miami Marlins before being suspended last season. No one on South Beach seems to be holding that suspension against him. Of course, it helps that he’s hitting well again this season with 32 stolen bases. Marte has said and done all the right things since his suspension April 18. He immediately apologized to the Pirates and their fans in a statement. He was smart to apologize directly to his teammates before leaving the club in St. Louis and, reportedly, was in tears when he did. He would be wise to speak to those teammates again before the game Tuesday night. Most have no use for cheaters in baseball and are repulsed by the thought. Related ArticlesJuly 16, 2017 Bob Wolff, versatile and longtime sportscaster, dies at 96 July 16, 2017 Giancarlo Stanton loses glove over wall on triple by Dodgers’ Chris Taylor July 14, 2017 Red Sox cut losses, designate Pablo Sandoval for assignment July 14, 2017 Need a baseball refresher? 9 second-half story lines to watch. July 13, 2017 Tim Tebow hits first pro walk-off HR for St. Lucie Mets “I made a mistake, and I learned from it,” Marte told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Stephen J. Nesbitt [...]
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Rockies’ misery continues as Tyler Chatwood injured in loss to Mets
NEW YORK — Just 25 days ago, the Rockies were in baseball heaven, leading the National League West and cruising at an altitude of 21 games over .500. Now they’re in crisis mode, their postseason aspirations beginning to fade with each loss and every new dilemma. The Rockies were not only throttled 9-3 by the New York Mets on Saturday night at Citi Field, starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, the veteran of the rotation, left the game with a strained calf injury early in the first inning. There is no timetable for Chatwood’s return, but manager Bud Black described the injury as “tricky.” Chatwood will be re-examined Sunday morning. “I couldn’t get the ball down and I couldn’t push off, which isn’t ideal for a guy who’s had two Tommy John surgeries,” a disappointed Chatwood said. The right-hander explained that he first felt something in his calf when he was warming up just before the game, but tried to work through it. The Rockies weren’t aware of the injury until pitching coach Steve Foster visited Chatwood on the mound after Chatwood walked Michael Conforto and Asdrubal Cabrera, the first two batters he faced. “I think as a competitor, you don’t ever want to say you can’t go, especially because I thought we needed innings tonight,” Chatwood said when asked if he considered telling the Rockies he was unavailable before the game began. The loss was Colorado’s 15th in its last 20 games, and its lead over the Chicago Cubs for the National League’s second wild-card spot is down to 5 ½ games. Chatwood, who leads the majors in walks, looked out of sync from the beginning with he walked Conforto and Cabrera on nine pitches. He got Yoenis Cespedes to fly out to center, but then it all fell apart. Jay Bruce blasted a three-run homer, and then Chatwood walked T.J. Rivera. At that point, Black and assistant trainer Scott Gehret went to the mound to check out Chatwood. He threw several practice pitches before he was removed from the game. “It became apparent that he was going to be unable to fight through it,” Black said, adding that he thought the calf injury affected Chatwood’s ability to command his pitches. “Visually, it looked that way to me. Tyler said he wanted to continue, but from what I saw, and for precaution, we thought it was best to take him out.” Chatwood, 6-11 with a 4.74 ERA, has been healthy all season. However, he has a history of elbow problems, having undergone Tommy John surgery in high school and again in July 2014, a surgery that cost him the 2015 season. Chatwood’s early departure, combined with Jon Gray‘s two-inning start in a 14-2 loss to the Mets on Friday night, means the Rockies’ faltering bullpen is being heavily taxed as the second half of the season begins. Saturday night, left-hander Chris Rusin, who has been excellent this season, was called into early duty. He didn’t fare well, giving up four runs (one earned) on six hits over 2 ⅔ innings. Rusin nearly escaped the second inning without damage, but second baseman DJ LeMahieu was charged with a throwing error off a grounder by Bruce and that opened the gates to a three-run inning. Gerardo Parra, making his second start at first base this season, did not do a good job of handling LeMahieu’s throw. New York starting pitcher Seth Lugo compounded Colorado’s misery by blasting a one-out homer off Rusin in the third. It was the first homer of Lugo’s career. Related ArticlesJuly 15, 2017 Saunders: Slumping Rockies face tough questions as second half begins July 15, 2017 Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood removed from game with injury in first inning vs. Mets July 15, 2017 Kyle Freeland facing short-term bump from rotation as Rockies look to rest his arm July 15, 2017 Bud Black’s first season as Rockies manager has become a pitching tutorial. They hope final exams will be in October. July 14, 2017 Jon Gray blasted by Mets as Rockies open second half with a road loss Rookie starter Kyle Freeland, who was supposed to be taken out of the rotation for the short-term to limit his innings, followed up Rusin and pitched well, blanking the Mets for three innings, giving up no hits and one walk while striking out four. It was Freeland’s first major-league relief appearance and his first since relieving in the Cape Cod League in 2013. “I kind of knew we might need another relief guy, because I knew that Rusin couldn’t go that long, so I was on alert,” Freeland said. Black said that Chatwood’s injury could force the Rockies to alter their starting rotation plans once again. “Everything changes,” Black said. “We have some ideas of what we want to do with our pitching, but with the Chatwood situation [...]
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Ian Desmond likely to return to Rockies on Saturday; other roster moves on the horizon
NEW YORK —  Changes are in the offing for the Rockies’ roster as they opened the so-called second half of the season Friday. A number of moves are pending, and those moves will directly lead to other roster decisions: — Left fielder and first baseman Ian Desmond worked out Thursday and passed all of the tests. He remained on the 10-day disabled list Friday, but should be close to returning from his right calf strain that put him on the DL on July 3. “You might see him sooner than you might think,” Black said when asked about Desmond’s progress, an indication that Desmond will not need to go out on a minor-league rehab assignment. “He had a good day yesterday in Denver, working out. We ran him through a number of things that he passed. He hit and ran the bases.” — When Desmond comes off the DL, the Rockies will have to make a corresponding move, meaning the team will have to send a player to Triple-A Albuquerque. The most likely candidate is reliever Zac Rosscup, who is currently the fourth left-hander in the bullpen. However, should the Rockies decide they want to keep an eight-man bullpen, the most likely position candidates to be sent down would be utility infielder Pat Valaika, outfielder Raimel Tapia or struggling shortstop Trevor Story. — Valaika started at short in front of Story on Friday night, though Black said not to read too much into that decision. “I don’t know if he’s starting ‘ahead’ of Trevor,” Black said. “Pat started last Sunday. He had five RBIs and hit a three-run homer. He did a nice job playing baseball.” — Black announced that German Marquez will start Monday’s game against San Diego at Coors Field. Tuesday’s starter could be rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela, who pitched 3 ⅔ innings at Triple-A Thursday. If that is indeed the case, rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland could be either sent to the bullpen or optioned to Triple-A. Such a move would not be a demotion. After all, Freeland threw 8 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday in the final game before the all-star break. But having Freeland skip a start or two would be part of the Rockies’ overall plan to lighten the load on their young pitchers over the course of the season, as opposed to shutting them down completely. Also, keep in mind that Freeland threw 126 pitches in his near no-hitter against the White Sox. Related ArticlesJuly 14, 2017 Jon Gray blasted by Mets as Rockies open second half with a road loss July 13, 2017 Rockies’ Chad Bettis pitches two strong innings in first rehab start with Yard Goats July 13, 2017 Rockies’ inconsistent offense is major concern as second half begins July 12, 2017 Rockies Mailbag: Has the National League figured out the Rockies’ young starters? July 11, 2017 Saunders: Aaron Judge’s home runs leave deep impressions, even on commissioner Rob Manfred Senzatela was originally moved to the bullpen to preserve his arm. With Double-A Hartford last year, he threw just 34 ⅔ innings. After two long-relief appearances with the Rockies, his big-league total reached 92 ⅓ innings. His start at Triple-A Thursday night was his first since being optioned July 8. Footnotes. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who was selected for the All-Star Game but did not play, is still not 100 percent healthy. His groin strain is healing, allowing him to play, and LeMahieu expects to be 100 percent healthy in a few days. … Gerardo Parra hit cleanup Friday night as the Rockies tried to capitalize on his hot streak. Since returning from the DL on July 7, the outfielder was batting 7-for-13 (.538) with three doubles and five RBIs. Looking ahead Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-10, 4.42 ERA) at Mets RHP Seth Lugo (3-2, 4.59), 5:10 p.m. Saturday, AT&T SportsNet; 850 AM Chatwood pitched reasonably well in his last start, allowing three runs on eight hits over six innings, but the Rockies lost the game to Cincinnati at Coors Field and Chatwood was saddled with his third consecutive loss. As has been the case over the last two seasons, Chatwood has been much better at home than on the road this year, going 4-5 with a 3.19 ERA. He has been excellent against the Mets at Citi Field, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.53 ERA in three starts. Lugo has never started against the Rockies, but he did face them as a reliever last season, giving up two runs on one hit in three innings in the Mets’ 7-2 loss. Lugo has pitched well at Citi Field, going 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA over 10 games (five starts).  Sunday: Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman (5-1, 4.15 ERA) at Mets LHP Steven Matz (2-2, 3.05), 11:10 a.m., AT&T SportsNet Monday: Padres RHP Luis Perdomo (4-4, 4.54) at Rockies RHP German Marquez ( [...]
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Jon Gray blasted by Mets as Rockies open second half with a road loss
NEW YORK — The Rockies’ 14-2 loss to the Mets at Citi Field on Friday night got so ugly, so early, it conjured up some classic quotes from legendary football coach John McKay. Once, when asked about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ execution, McKay quipped: “I’m in favor of it.” Another time, McKay famously said: “We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.” Substitute pitch for tackle, and replace blocking with hitting and you get the gist of how the Rockies opened the second half of their season. Jon Gray, the would-be ace of Colorado’s staff, simply could not command his usually potent stuff. His location was off, his slider was flat and he was gone after two innings, plus six batters. The Mets battered Gray for eight runs on nine hits. He walked three and struck out one. Boxscore: NY Mets 14, Colorado 2 “I think it was a little bit of everything,” Gray said. “It was just a bad start altogether. I’ve been there before. It (stinks), I don’t like it. I hate it for my teammates, and I hate it for the guys playing behind me and for the guys who count on me to do good.” Gray vowed to get better. “I’ve always shaken it off in the past and gone after the next one,” he said. “Nothing is going to stop me from going out and working hard this week and getting the next one.” The Rockies were feeling better about themselves before the All-Star Game when they took two of three from the Chicago White Sox at Coors Field. But in reality, the Rockies have been sliding for almost three weeks. They have lost 14 of their last 19 games since their high-water mark June 20 when they were 47-26. Manager Bud Black, however, did not read too much into Friday’s night’s blowout. “It’s one game, against a guy who was on,” Black said. The guy who “was on” was New York right-hander Jacob deGrom (10-3), who handled Colorado as he always does. He pitched eight innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out 11 and walking only one. In five career starts vs. the Rockies, deGrom is 3-0 with an 0.99 ERA. Plus, the Rockies were facing the Mets’ ace at the wrong time. He improved to 6-0 with a 1.53 ERA over his last six starts. The six consecutive wins are a career high. “He is one of the those pitchers who comes over the top and his fastball rides up,” said Carlos Gonzalez, who went 0-for-3 and saw his average dip to .218. “So it’s one of those pitches that is tough to lay off and you see a lot of guys swinging and missing at a high fastball, especially late in the count. That’s why he’s been so successful against this team.” The 25-year-old Gray, meanwhile seemed off the mark almost from the beginning. True, four of the Mets’ hits were bloopers, but they also roped solid hits off Gray (2-1), who saw his ERA rise from 3.75 to 6.23 after five starts. In four career starts vs. the Mets, Gray is 1-3 with a 9.72 ERA. “There is still a progression to be made with Jon,” Black said. “Jon is a guy who has to continue to clear some hurdles on the pitching side. And he will in time. For a lot of young pitchers it takes a while to fully maximize who they are.” While Black boxed Friday’s game up and stored it away as one bad game, Gray was clearly disappointed he didn’t get the Rockies off to a better start to their second half. “I’ve got a lot to learn, and baseball is never going to stop teaching me,” Gray said. “But to me it’s disappointing because this was a really important game for me to start the second half. “I just wanted to get some good, positive energy going in that first game, and it (stinks) because I let the team down.” New York scored two runs in a second inning that included a wounded-duck single by Lucas Duda, a solid double to right by Jose Reyes and a bloop RBI single by deGrom. The Mets salted the game away in the third, sending 11 men to plate and scoring six runs. Yoenis Cespedes opened the inning with a looping double down the first-base line, followed by Jay Bruce’s single to shallow left. Those hits had no steam on them, but T.J. Rivera’s subsequent two-run double was blasted to right-center. Related ArticlesJuly 14, 2017 Ian Desmond likely to return to Rockies on Saturday; other roster moves on the horizon July 13, 2017 Rockies’ Chad Bettis pitches two strong innings in first rehab start with Yard Goats July 13, 2017 Rockies’ inconsistent offense is major concern as second half begins July 12, 2017 Rockies Mailbag: Has the National League figured out the Rockies’ young starters? July 11, 2017 Saunders: Aaron Judge’s home runs leave deep [...]
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Tim Tebow hits first pro walk-off HR for St. Lucie Mets
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tim Tebow seems to have found his stroke since getting back to his home state. Tebow hit the first game-ending home run of his pro baseball career Thursday night, lifting the Class A St. Lucie Mets over the Daytona Tortugas 5-4 in a seven-inning game. The former NFL quarterback went deep with one out against Cincinnati Reds farmhand Austin Orewiler, smacking a first-pitch fastball over the fence in left field. Tebow was doused with Gatorade and mobbed by teammates when he reached home plate. “It was fun to celebrate with all the guys,” Tebow said. The 29-year-old Tebow said it was his first walk-off homer since his junior year at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville. The former Florida quarterback did not play his senior year in order to focus on football. “(The high school homer) was for the district championship. That felt pretty good, but this one was special,” Tebow said. It’s his third home run in 16 Florida State League games following a promotion from Class A Columbia, and his sixth home run in 80 games overall in his first season as a minor leaguer. Tebow has hit safely in 11 straight games and is batting .327 with 10 RBIs with St. Lucie. All three of his home runs with the Mets have gone to the opposite field. “The goal is just to stay behind as many balls as I can. See it, let it get deep. When you stay behind it, it goes the other way,” he said. Tebow’s high shot cleared the fence about 20 feet inside the foul pole, thrilling the 2,667 fans — many of whom arrived early to see the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner in action. The victory capped a doubleheader sweep for the Mets. Minor league teams commonly play two seven-inning games during doubleheaders. TIM TEBOW WALK-OFF HOMER IN BOTTOM 7 —>>>VIDEO @Mets #Mets #LGM #NYM pic.twitter.com/mL9XIceGhJ — Bill Whitehead (@BillWhiteheadFL) July 14, 2017 [...]
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Rockies Mailbag: Has the National League figured out the Rockies’ young starters?
Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders posts his Rockies Mailbag every other week during the season. Pose a Rockies – or MLB – related question for the Rockies Mailbag. Do you think the early success of the Rockies starting pitchers this season was due to them being a talented group, or because the league was unfamiliar with them? I’m fearing it’s the latter as it sure seems like the league has figured them out. Would like to know your thoughts. — Jarrod, Denver Jarrod, I do think the Rockies starter have talent — a lot of it. I also think that Kyle Freeland’s near no-hitter on Sunday proved that, as did various outings by Jeff Hoffman, German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela. In fact, I’m confident is saying that in terms of talent and depth, this Rockies rotation has the chance to be the best in Colorado history. If not this year, then in 2018. The young pitchers have taken their lumps as the season has worn on, and I was pretty certain that was because teams in the National League West had “read the book” on the young starters. It turns out I was only partially correct about that. Looking back at performances by the rookies does not reveal an automatically bad outing the second or third time the pitcher faced a certain team. Marquez, for example, has faced Arizona three times. The first time he faced the Diamondbacks, he held them scoreless for six innings on six hits. The second time he faced the D-Backs, they ripped him for five runs on five hits over six innings. The third time, Marquez limited Arizona to one run on four hits in six innings. In other words, the D-Backs adjusted, but so did Marquez. Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesStarting pitcher Kyle Freeland #31 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Coors Field on July 9, 2017 in Denver. Freeland facing the Dodgers, however, is a different story. He dominated the Los Angeles in his big-league debut in the Rockies’ home opener, giving up just one run on four hits while whiffing six and give up two walks. His next start, at Los Angeles, was rougher: one run on four hits with four walks over four innings. His last start against the Dodgers was ugly. Freeland gave up five runs on 10 hits, with three walks, over six innings at Dodger Stadium. After that game, Freeland said he thought the Dodgers hitters were waiting to attack his sinkerball. They did, and Freeland paid the price. So, in a long-winded answer to your question, yes the Rockies starters are talented enough to win, but there are going to be bumps in the road. Related ArticlesJuly 11, 2017 Saunders: Aaron Judge’s home runs leave deep impressions, even on commissioner Rob Manfred July 11, 2017 Kiszla vs. Groke: Most likely to break out of a Rockies slump: Desmond, Story or CarGo? July 11, 2017 WATCH: Charlie Blackmon on how he transitioned from “ineffective” pitcher to all-star hitter July 10, 2017 Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon swats 14 homers but falls in first round of Home Run Derby July 10, 2017 Major-league homers are being launched at a record pace. What’s up? Interestingly, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told me he doesn’t think the age, or even the inexperience of the young guns should be an issue. This is from my recent Sunday story: “I don’t necessarily buy into this whole concept that young players have to go through some sort of roller-coaster ride during the season,” Bridich said. “I think, maybe because of what’s happened in the past, that our local media kind of ordains that it must happen. You’re waiting for it and you’re talking about it. But that doesn’t mean it has to happen. “So I think that’s misplaced. There are plenty of veterans — and we have some — who go through periods of the season where it’s great, but then they go through large parts where they struggle. And nobody blames that on lack of age. “If you are at this level and you are good enough to be here, then you are good enough to play well here.” Have the Rockies thought about putting a “C” on Nolan Arenado‘s jersey? Also what do you think the Rockies will do with Ryan McMahon if he continues to hit like he has? — PFC Ashton, Las Vegas Well, Mr. Ashton, let’s start with your question about Mr. Arenado. The Rockies have never had an officially designated captain, not even when Todd Helton played. I have heard no discussion about it, so I don’t think it will happen. As for McMahon, the 22-year-old is killing at Triple-A Albuquerque. He is slashing .390/.419/.676 with eight homers, 29 RBIs and four steals in 32 games since being promoted from Double-A. I don’t think his promotion will come soon, in part because there [...]
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Milwaukee Brewers tap into player-created IPA beer
MILWAUKEE — It’s time for Brewers fans to toast their first-place team with a frosty pint of new beer. “Beerded Brewer IPA” will be tapped at Miller Park as part of a promotion for an Aug. 10 game against the Minnesota Twins. Slugging first baseman Eric Thames, along with All-Star closer Corey Knebel and reliever Oliver Drake helped create the beer with master brewers at MillerCoors. The brewery is about a mile from the team’s Miller Park home. The players spent a day in May learning the science of beer. The team says the limited-edition beer will be available to the first 1,000 fans who buy a ticket package to the Aug. 10 game. There will no general availability of Beerded Brewer. [...]
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Robinson Cano hits 10th-inning homer to lead American League to All-Star Game victory
MIAMI — In the season of the home run, pitchers ruled the All-Star Game. Almost. With the outcome hanging by a thread in the 10th inning, things abruptly changed with one big swing of the bat by Seattle’s Robinson Cano. He played Home Run Derby against Chicago Cubs reliever Wade Davis, lining a leadoff homer to right field to lift the American League to a 2-1 victory in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Marlins Park. It was the AL’s fifth consecutive win, and the Junior Circuit is now 23-6-1 the last 30 All-Star Games. Davis hung a breaking ball on a 1-1 pitch and Cano hammered it, becoming the first American League player in All-Star Game history to hit a home run in extra innings. He was, of course, named the game’s MVP, becoming the third Mariners player to do so, joining Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (1992) and Ichiro Suzuki (2007). “I know I was facing one of the best closers in the game,” Cano said. “I was just ready, for whatever he threw over the plate, I was going to swing … I (was) going to take a pitch right over the middle.” Tuesday marked the first extra-inning All-Star Game since 2008, a game that lasted 15 innings. Colorado, with four players in the Midsummer Classic for the first time, did not factor in the game’s outcome, but Nolan Arenado made some history of his own. He hit two singles, becoming the first Rockies player to have two hits in an All-Star Game. Boxscore: American League 2, National League 1 “That felt good. You always like to get hit, especially in a game like this,” he said. “You always want to hit a home run, but two hits in two at-bats is pretty good.” Arenado nearly hit a home run in his second at-bat but hooked it foul down the third-base line. The National League was in position to win the game in the ninth when Boston reliever Craig Kimbrel walked two batters. But Kimbrel, who has allowed just five runs all season, struck out the Mets’ Michael Conforto, sending the game into extra innings. Arenado singled off AL starter Chris Sale in the second and led off the fourth with a single to left off Kansas City’s Jason Vargas. When Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman followed up with a deep fly to center, Arenado decided to test the arm of Boston’s Mookie Betts by tagging up and trying to reach second. Bad idea. Betts’ 93 mph throw was perfect, and he threw out Arenado with ease. “Well, I’m not the fastest guy, so I didn’t think I was going to do much from first base,” Arenado said. “And, man, he threw that ball from the warning track. I thought I could beat it, but he made a great throw.” Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon batted 0-for-3 and had an uneventful evening, save for hauling in two flyballs. Blackmon lined out to right to lead off the first, swinging at the first pitch of the game from Sale. Blackmon struck out in the second and grounded out to second base in the fifth. Rockies closer Greg Holland, who had 28 saves in 29 chances prior to the break, took care of business in the eighth. He got former Kansas City teammate Mike Moustakas to fly out to deep right and struck out Justin Upton before Cleveland’s Michael Brantley singled to right. Holland regrouped to strike out the Indians’ Francisco Lindor on three pitches. “There was a lot of adrenaline out there,” Holland said. “I wish I could had a 4-0 lead or something in that situation, but I knew I had to hang tough. I’ve faced Brantley a lot in the past, and he’s a tough out for me. But I got us out of the inning.” Holland was just the fifth Rockies pitcher to appear in the Midsummer Classic and the first since Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010. Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, still recovering from a strained groin, did not play in the game. Related ArticlesJuly 11, 2017 Saunders: Aaron Judge’s home runs leave deep impressions, even on commissioner Rob Manfred July 11, 2017 All-Star players remember late Marlins ace Jose Fernandez July 11, 2017 Kiszla: Baseball has a problem as big as the monster home runs by Yankees slugger Aaron Judge July 11, 2017 Baseball’s customs keep Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper from being bigger stars July 11, 2017 Livan Hernandez, who made $53 million over 17 seasons, files for bankruptcy “Yeah, I’m better, but that was kind of the plan going in, to probably not play me,” LeMahieu said. The American League finally broke the ice in the fifth against Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood. Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop smashed a double down the left-field line and scored on a bloop single to shallow right by Minnesota’s Miguel Sano. Cardinals veteran catcher Yadier Molina — he of the glittering gold chest protector and helmet — t [...]
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MLB looks to Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge to connect with fans
MIAMI — Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Aaron Judge have become the face of baseball as a gleaming, modernist ballpark and a city known for its Latino culture host the All-Star Game for the first time. After decades of falling behind, the sport finally has stepped up its national promotion. There’s huge room for improvement: Not one player from baseball is among the 100 most famous athletes in the world. LeBron James, Tom Brady and Tiger Woods dominate water-cooler talk far more than Max Scherzer and Chris Sale, the starting pitchers in Tuesday night’s game at Marlins Park. “I feel he’s won 15 rings,” Harper said of Brady on Monday. “If you win, you’re going to get noticed.” Major League Baseball hopes to break into a wider public consciousness with this new generation — for the first time since at least 1961 there are no All-Stars with at least double-digit selections. After Rob Manfred succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner two years ago, MLB required sponsors to market top talent. But the tradition-bound sport is still trying to rebound from a quarter-century of labor wars that ended in the late 1990s. “There is little doubt that top baseball players are less recognized than the top athletes in many other sports,” said Marc Ganis, president of the marketing company Sportscorp. “Basketball players and the NBA set many trends and are relevant in pop culture. NFL dominates in the U.S. and the second-most popular sport is also football — college football. “Baseball has the potential to be the cultural star in places like Latin America and Japan, where so many great players come from these days. But in the U.S. and in the Eurocentric, English-primary world, basketball, NFL, soccer, tennis and at certain times golf stars connect more with fans, especially younger fans, and sponsors who covet those fans,” he said. Judge beat hometown slugger Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of the field to win Monday night’s Home Run Derby at 5-year-old Marlins Park, a sleek retractable-roof ballpark with splashes of Joan Miro colors, a Red Grooms home run sculpture and a Clevelander night club with a swimming pool just beyond the left-field wall. MLB hopes to continue momentum from the Chicago Cubs’ first title since 1908, which drew the highest television rating for the World Series in a dozen years. “We know that fans connect locally every day with the teams that they root for and love, and our job is to try to highlight the performances to make it a national story as much as possible when we have that,” said Tony Petitti, MLB’s chief operating officer. “We were really fortunate last fall. We had an incredible national story in the Cubs.” MLB’s “This Time It Counts” promotion has been scrapped after 15 years. The World Series will start at the home of the pennant winner with the best record, not the league that prevails in the All-Star Game. Related ArticlesJuly 10, 2017 PHOTOS: Aaron Judge wins 2017 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby July 10, 2017 Max Scherzer has become a $210 million bargain for Washington Nationals July 10, 2017 Tim Tebow has an 8-game hitting streak going for St. Lucie July 10, 2017 Major-league homers being launched at record pace. What’s up? July 10, 2017 Aaron Judge smashes way to Home Run Derby title The league and many of its national sponsors are featuring players in marketing campaigns. Still, baseball players say athletes in other sports are seen far more often in commercials. “Football is football. You can’t even really compare yourself. It’s just everybody loves football America. That’s just the way it is,” said Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who praised MLB for doing the best it can. Judge, the 6-foot-7 larger-than-life New York Yankees rookie who leads the big leagues with 30 home runs, was celebrated by MLB with a Judge-Con promotion in on Monday in which the sport enlisted actors and comics to dress as judges and make appearances throughout New York City. David Matranga of PSI Sports Management, which represents Judge, says the 25-year-old outfielder has kept his mind on pitchers, not corporate pitches. “We’ve had quite a few offers from various markets and brands. It just keeps coming every day,” Matranga said. “He’s got a lot of people pulling at him but right now Aaron just wants to keep his focus on the Yankees.” Partly because of the busy schedule — 162 games in 183 days — baseball players don’t have much time for marketing during the season. And when it comes to viewers, clicks and retweets, MLB often lags in recent decades, when the NFL and NBA have connected far better with younger audiences. ESPN’s 2017 ranking [...]
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Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon swats 14 homers but falls in first round of Home Run Derby
MIAMI — You couldn’t blame Charlie Blackmon if he felt a tad out of place. There he was, surrounded by the most powerful sluggers in baseball, including New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, who smashed four home runs of more than 500 feet en route to winning the Home Run Derby on Monday night at Marlins Park. “Home runs aren’t my thing,” Blackmon said prior to the event. “It’s definitely not just (batting practice) for me. You come watch my BP, I’m flipping balls over the shortstop. I’m going to have to do something a little different.” The Rockies’ all-star center fielder certainly did that. The bearded wonder represented, hitting 14 homers in the first round at an average of 413 feet. His longest blast traveled 434 feet and his average exit velocity was 103.6 mph, according to Statcast. Unfortunately for Blackmon, he lost a heartbreaker to the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger. The L.A. rookie hit his second 440-foot homer with 5 seconds left to earn 30 seconds of bonus time, and then blasted the two homers he needed to oust Blackmon, 15 to 14. Bellinger advanced to the second round, where he was defeated by Judge. “I had a great time,” Blackmon said. “It was a lot of fun, and I was glad to be a part of it all.” Rockies bullpen coach Darren Holmes, who pitched to Blackmon, was thrilled with Blackmon’s effort, but disappointed he didn’t advance. “It was a blast to be a part of this,” Holmes said. “Charlie did a great job. He didn’t miss very many. He probably missed three or four that were right there. He popped some up or hit some duck hooks, but he did great.” Added DJ LeMahieu, Colorado’s all-star second baseman and Blackmon’s close friend: “He did awesome. He got on a nice roll too, hitting about five or six in a row.” LeMahieu said he thought Blackmon was nervous beforehand. Blackmon admitted as much. “Yeah, I guess I was pretty nervous leading up to it,” he said. “I was more nervous just making sure my body was ready to go. I was kind of discombobulated because this wasn’t a normal game day. There is no such thing as routine for the Home Run Derby, because that was my first one.” Related ArticlesJuly 10, 2017 MLB looks to Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge to connect with fans July 10, 2017 PHOTOS: Aaron Judge wins 2017 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby July 10, 2017 Max Scherzer has become a $210 million bargain for Washington Nationals July 10, 2017 Aaron Judge smashes way to Home Run Derby title July 10, 2017 Aaron Judge’s rise: From .179 to the All-Star Game Asked if he met his own expectations, Blackmon replied: “My goal was to hit one, and I did 13 better than that. So, yeah, I did a little bit better than I thought I was going to do.” Blackmon’s 14 homers rank as the third most by a Rockies player in the derby, behind Larry Walker’s 19 in 1997 and Michael Cuddyer’s 15 in 2013. Blackmon might be a leadoff hitter, but he has shown plenty of pop in his bat. He launched a 477-foot shot over the visiting bullpen in the sixth inning Sunday at Coors Field as the Rockies drubbed the Chicago White Sox, 10-0. He’ll enter the second half of the season with a team-high 20 home runs. In fact, Blackmon is just the second player in major-league history to hit at least 20 home runs and 10 triples before the break. Jim Rice did it twice for the Boston Red Sox during the 1970s. Tuesday night, Blackmon will start in center fielder for the National League. [...]
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