Rockies

Giancarlo Stanton hits No. 57, Marlins delay D-backs clinch
PHOENIX — Giancarlo Stanton extended his club record with his 57th home run and set a team mark with his 125th RBI, lifting the Miami Marlins over the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-6 on Saturday night. Arizona could have clinched a playoff spot with a win, but will have to wait another day at least. The Diamondbacks can lock up an NL wild card on Sunday with a win or losses by Milwaukee and St. Louis. Arizona lost for the fourth time in six games, having given up 30 runs in the last three games. Justin Bour added two run-scoring singles and a late two-run home run for Miami, which has won four of five. The Marlins scored five runs – taking advantage of a pair of errors by Arizona starter Taijuan Walker (9-9) – in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Miami chased Walker after 3 2/3 innings, getting seven runs and six hits off him. Walker struck out six, walked three, hit a batter and had a wild pitch. Miami starter Dillon Peters, in fifth career start, went four innings, allowing five runs, six hits and three walks. Brian Ellington (1-1) earned the win after pitching the fifth and sixth, allowing just J.D. Martinez’s 43rd home run of the season. Related ArticlesSeptember 23, 2017 Saunders: Casting my vote for NL MVP will be no easy task September 22, 2017 Brad Ausmus out as manager of Detroit Tigers after season September 21, 2017 Cubs rally in 9th, beat Brewers 5-3 in 10th to extend lead September 21, 2017 Where have you gone, Tim Lincecum? In search of beloved Giants ace. September 21, 2017 Rockies rookies dress up in Broncos gear for flight Miguel Rojas led off Miami’s third inning with a double down the right-field line, and then Walker couldn’t field Peters’ sacrifice bunt to the third base side of the mound. Dee Gordon followed with a tapper on the first-base side that Walker also couldn’t handle, allowing Rojas to score from third and Peters to go to second. Stanton doubled to left, scoring Peters and Gordon, and Bour later singled in another run. Paul Goldschmidt hit his 36th home run of the season, a three-run shot to left in the third to cut the lead to 5-4. He has 120 RBIs. Brandon Drury added his 13th home run of the season. UP NEXT Arizona and Miami finish their weekend series on Sunday with RHP Dan Straily (10-9, 4.17) scheduled to face Patrick Corbin (14-13, 4.14). [...]
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Jon Gray is lined up to pitch a wild-card game for the Rockies, if they can get there
SAN DIEGO — A man for all seasons, Jon Gray wore a bobble snow cap with the the pom on top as he walked through the Rockies clubhouse here Friday. A few hundred feet from the beach, with the heat of a postseason stretch about to boil over, Colorado’s best pitcher appears prepared for October. “When he’s on the bump,” third baseman Nolan Arenado said, “we feel really good about our chances.” The Rockies have enjoyed the luxury of using eight starting pitchers this season, after using 11 last year, and half of those are rookies. Two others have pitched just nine games combined since the all-star break. Gray, though, is everything the Rockies thought he would be and more. He is a flame-throwing, 25-year-old, first-round draft pick who has rounded into a rotation anchor. His 3.75 ERA before a Friday night start against the Padres was the best mark among Rockies starters, trailing only relievers Chris Rusin and Greg Holland overall. And the Rockies, with an eye on the postseason, have lined up Gray to pitch in a potential wild-card game on Oct. 4 or a play-in game on Oct. 2. “Well, we’ll talk about that when we get there,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “But in that scenario, if we can, we’ll use the best pitcher we can.” With just more than a week remaining, their best pitcher is Gray. He leads Colorado’s rotation with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.41 K-to-walk ratio. He has allowed three or fewer runs in 12 consecutive starts, the second-longest streak in Rockies history, behind only Ubaldo Jimenez, who also reached 12 games in 2009 and 14 in 2010. Over his past seven starts, Gray has allowed just seven runs on 28 hits in 35 innings — for a 1.80 ERA. Black has repeated his claim that an ace is forged over time, leaving open the choice for a must-win pitcher in the playoffs. But in Gray, the Rockies at least have their best shot. In his five starts this season against the division-leading Dodgers and wild-card pacing Diamondbacks, Colorado is 4-1. “This is what we expected,” Arenado said. “We’re more surprised when he doesn’t do well. His stuff is too good to get hit.” In his first two seasons, Gray survived on a fastball-slider combo and overpowering velocity. In his third season, the right-hander from Oklahoma has added a curveball, a pitch he is now throwing with 13.6 percent of his pitches, according to Fangraphs, a career high. “His fastball is a plus-pitch. His slider is a plus-pitch,” Black said. “But when I saw his curveball for the first time in spring training, I said, ‘Whoa, this is legit.’ It’s a real weapon.” Related ArticlesSeptember 22, 2017 Nolan Arenado leads a solo-homer trio as Rockies snap a troubling skid in victory at San Diego September 21, 2017 Rockies shut out again as the crumble continues, this time in San Diego at the hands of a rookie September 21, 2017 Rockies riding the wave of postseason pressure with a “positive vibe,” but plenty of urgency September 20, 2017 Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon not ready to ponder 200-hit milestone or MVP talk September 20, 2017 Rockies’ offense a no-show again in loss to Giants Perhaps that ski cap is helping Gray prepare for October. As he has surged toward a potential postseason assignment, Gray has simplified his approach. Veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy, a July deadline trade acquisition from the Texas Rangers, did not need to remake Gray, he said. His influence on Colorado’s top arm is subtle, if not minor. “It’s not rocket science,” Lucroy said. “He’s throwing strikes, attacking hitters, staying down in the zone. If you do that, you’ll have a good day.” Footnote. Outfielder Gerardo Parra, who sat Thursday in the Rockies’ shutout loss to the Padres, returned to the lineup Friday. It was a rest day against a difficult left-hander in Clayton Richard, Black said. But Parra will start for the foreseeable future, Black said. Looking ahead Rockies RHP Chad Bettis (1-3, 6.23 ERA) at Padres RHP Jhoulys Chacin (12-10, 4.12), Saturday, 6:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 AM Bettis was pushed back in the Rockies’ rotation after giving up five runs and recording just one out in a loss at Arizona on Sept. 14. He returns rested and more in line with home plate after some minor mechanical adjustments. “It looked like he was trying to be too fine,” manager Bud Black said of Bettis’ brief outing last week. “We wanted to freshen up the fastball a little bit.” In his first two starts this season, Bettis was superb, including seven scoreless innings against the Braves at Coors Field on Aug. 14, his first game back from cancer. Chacin, a former member of [...]
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Nolan Arenado leads a solo-homer trio as Rockies snap a troubling skid in victory at San Diego
SAN DIEGO — The clicker does not reside in Jonathan Lucroy’s locker, so the televisions hanging from the clubhouse ceilings at Petco Park flashed with ballgames from around the National League on Friday afternoon. He crossed his arms and scowled. “If it was up to me, I’d turn off every TV here,” the Rockies’ veteran catcher said. “Just go play the game and not worry about what anybody else is doing.” There were plenty of worrisome situations on the field and off for the Rockies before they dug out a 4-1 victory over the Padres later in the night. The Cardinals and Brewers had crept up on Colorado like cat burglars in masks, underlining the wild in a wild-card chase just as the Rockies lost their offensive prowess. And Jordan Lyles, the lanky right-hander discarded from Colorado’s bullpen in July, was blowing by his former team with four perfect innings. The Rockies had gone scoreless in two consecutive games prior and their 19-inning skid without a run became 23. “It felt like two months,” Nolan Arenado said. “You hold us down two games in a row, it’s kind of a shock.” Then Arenado hit an opposite-field solo home run to right field to pop a hole in the dam. His leadoff shot was followed three batters later by another from Ian Desmond — his sixth this season and fourth in San Diego — and the Rockies drew a crooked number on the scoreboard for the first time since Tuesday. “We’re like, ‘Man, we have to at least score some runs,'” Arenado said. “These are bigger games. We have to do something. Us getting shut out just gives us a better chance to break out.” Trevor Story added a line-drive homer to lead off the seventh and Lucroy drove in a run with a single to left as the Rockies carved space to catch a breath. The Brewers fell to the Cubs in extra-innings for a second time in as many nights, falling 2 games back in a wild-card chase. The Cardinals topped the Pirates in Pittsburgh to leap-frog past Milwaukee. They remain 1 1/2 games behind Colorado. If Friday’s slog through San Diego was not a do-or-die game, it sure felt like it. The Giants were 22 games behind the Rockies, so far down they could see roots, but they swept a two-game series against Colorado earlier this week. And the Padres, 14 games in the rear, drowned the Rox for an easy 3-0 victory Thursday. Jon Gray, the Rockies’ right-hander, continued to thrust his team toward October, throwing six quality innings on just five hits. As he struck out eight Padres batters and walked just one. And Gray extended to 12 games a streak of allowing three or fewer runs. That tied the second-longest mark in club history, along with Ubaldo Jimenez’s number from 2009. Jimenez threw 14 quality starts in a row in 2010. Gray will likely not reach that record. He has just one more scheduled start before the postseason. “I feel more comfortable every time out,” Gray said. “I knew as long as I kept the same mindset, everything would work out. Our offense is too good to stay where they were at. I knew they would get out of it. They hit the ball hard.” Related ArticlesSeptember 22, 2017 Jon Gray is lined up to pitch a wild-card game for the Rockies, if they can get there September 21, 2017 Rockies shut out again as the crumble continues, this time in San Diego at the hands of a rookie September 21, 2017 Rockies riding the wave of postseason pressure with a “positive vibe,” but plenty of urgency September 20, 2017 Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon not ready to ponder 200-hit milestone or MVP talk September 20, 2017 Rockies’ offense a no-show again in loss to Giants Lyles upset Gray’s shutout outing with a run-scoring single to center in the fifth and he fared significantly better than his last outing, a four-inning effort that resulted in seven runs and eight hits in a loss to the Rockies. Right-hander Pat Neshek squirmed out of the seventh after relieving lefty Chris Rusin with runners on first and third. He struck out Manuel Margot and Arenado sprinted back to a cranny corner in foul territory for a nifty catch to put out San Diego Christian Villanueva, the rookie who homered the Padres to victory Thursday. Jake McGee then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and closer Greg Holland pitched a clean ninth for the first time since Sept. 8, tying a club record with his 41st save, matching Jose Jimenez from 2002. The Rockies snapped a four-game skid. “Wins like this make it feel like we’ve won five in row,” Arenado said. “It’s that big.” [...]
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Cubs rally in 9th, beat Brewers 5-3 in 10th to extend lead
MILWAUKEE — Javier Baez grounded a tying single with two outs in the ninth inning, Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer in the 10th and the Chicago Cubs widened their NL Central lead over Milwaukee, beating the Brewers 5-3 Thursday night. The Cubs now are 4 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers after winning the opener of a four-game series. Related ArticlesSeptember 21, 2017 Where have you gone, Tim Lincecum? In search of beloved Giants ace. September 21, 2017 Rockies rookies dress up in Broncos gear for flight September 20, 2017 Aaron Judge hits 45th home run, young girl hit by foul ball as Yankees top Twins September 20, 2017 Giancarlo Stanton hits 56th homer, Marlins beat Mets for sweep September 20, 2017 Get used to it: With record number of homers, MLB is in midst of a fundamental shift Milwaukee was in position to win it in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out. But Wade Davis (4-1) struck out Domingo Santana and then, after falling behind 3-1 in the count to Orlando Arcia, came back to retire him on an easy comebacker on a full-count pitch. The Cubs trailed 3-2 when Ian Happ led off the ninth by hitting a grounder that first baseman Neil Walker fielded wide of the bag. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress covered first and Happ was called safe in a close play, a ruling upheld on replay. Happ moved to second on a one-out grounder and scored when Baez, down to his last strike, singled up the middle. Bryant hit his 28th homer, connecting off Oliver Drake (3-5). [...]
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Rockies shut out again as the crumble continues, this time in San Diego at the hands of a rookie
SAN DIEGO — Cheerfully blind to the one-sided pressure he parachuted into Thursday, Christian Villanueva, the 26-year-old Padres third baseman from Guadalajara, Mexico, dispensed the Rockies in back-to-back at-bats without a care in the world showing. Villanueva was playing in just his fourth big-league game, counting up, he hopes, to an extended career. The Rockies were counting down. With 10 games remaining in their season and two teams hot on their trail trying to steal away a wild-card spot, Colorado looked like a club running out of gas in a 3-0 loss at Petco Park. The best Rockies team in seven years is crumbling. Colorado lefty Tyler Anderson gave up a 410-foot solo homer to Villanueva in the fifth inning, his second career shot and on consecutive nights to the second deck in left field, and a run-scoring single to Villanueva in the sixth. And San Diego sniped the Rockies for a fourth consecutive loss. “It was an 0-2 changeup that he hit to the moon,” Anderson said. The Rockies are lucky they haven’t been eclipsed. After the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Brewers with Kris Bryant’s two-run homer in the 10th inning, Colorado (82-71) remained one game ahead of Milwaukee for the second and final National League wild-card spot, and 1 1/2 games in front of the Cardinals. But they are sliding into danger. The Rockies’ offense was shut out on a second consecutive night — for the first time since 2015 — by another team that can’t see the playoffs with a telescope. The Giants on Wednesday took down Colorado, 4-0, behind left-hander Matt Moore (6-14, 5.20). On Thursday it was lefty Clayton Richard (8-14, 4.63), another middling veteran, who set them down. “Obviously right now we want to win every one. But big picture, it’s two games,” Anderson said. “We have an unbelievable team. This team is resilient. We can bounce back. Nothing will hold us back.” This six-game road trip down the West Coast, against the worst team in the NL and another only slightly better, was supposed to accelerate Colorado toward the finish. Instead, the Rockies, in the heat of a postseason chase, have not scored in 19 consecutive innings. Nolan Arenado and Mark Reynolds each singled twice, the only Rockies with multiple hits off Richard, who on Wednesday signed a two-year, $6 million extension with San Diego. Neither of them reached second base. Only DJ LeMahieu got past first base, in the first inning, after he singled and Arenado singled behind him. “You have to be relaxed and loose, but yet be focused and intense,” Colorado manager Bud Black said from his dugout before the game. “It’s a skill. And a lot of times, experience helps create that skill.” Boxscore: San Diego 3, Colorado 0 Villanueva, with very little experience, seemed to exhibit very little anxiety. Anderson worked through 5 2/3 innings with just six hits off him. But Villanueva’s homer in the fifth was the first run allowed by Anderson in 14 innings since he returned from knee surgery. Related ArticlesSeptember 21, 2017 Rockies riding the wave of postseason pressure with a “positive vibe,” but plenty of urgency September 20, 2017 Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon not ready to ponder 200-hit milestone or MVP talk September 20, 2017 Rockies’ offense a no-show again in loss to Giants September 20, 2017 Tracking the Colorado Rockies and the race for the National League wild card September 20, 2017 Coors Field will get a massive new video board and a sound system, Rockies announce Anderson (5-6, 5.24) allowed the other run on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Renfroe in the sixth that scored Wil Myers, who had walked. Anderson struck out six in total. But pitching was not the problem. The Rockies hit into three inning-ending double plays, in the first, fourth and seventh. Richard struck out eight and walked just one. “Our offense is potent. There is no doubt in my mind that our offense will show up,” Anderson said. “When you least expect it, they’re going to put up 12 on you. We’re capable of it every day.” Even LeMahieu’s workmanlike 12-pitch at-bat in the eighth, with Pat Valaika on second base and Charlie Blackmon at first, fell short. Reliever Kirby Yates forced LeMahieu to foul off six pitches before striking him out. The game ended in a whimper as Trevor Story, Ian Desmond and Carlos Gonzalez each struck out at the arm of Brad Hand. The Rockies’ magic number — the combination of wins and Brewers losses needed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2009 — fell to nine. But there is nothing especially magical about an 0-for-3 start to this late-season road trip. “We haven’t been getting the big hit,” Story said. “These games are im [...]
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Rockies’ offense a no-show again in loss to Giants
SAN FRANCISCO — The somber visitors clubhouse at AT&T Park was full of mixed messages Wednesday after the Rockies were blanked 4-0 by the Giants. Veterans silently pulled on Denver Broncos T-shirts, while rookies, such as pitcher German Marquez, were forced to don full Broncos uniforms, complete with shoulder pads, helmets and padded football pants. Rookie hazing is a baseball tradition that accompanies the last road trip of the season — in this case, Colorado’s flight to San Diego for the final four road games of the season. And if ever a team needed some levity, it’s the Rockies, who have now lost three straight, including this two-game sweep by the Giants, and who have seen their once-comfortable lead for the National League’s second wild card evaporate to remain just one game over Milwaukee. The Brewers, winners of nine of their previous 11 games, lost 6-4 later Wednesday at Pittsburgh against the Pirates to remain one back. “It’s natural for young players and guys who have not been here before to press when we get close to crunchtime,” veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. “Guys are pressing a little bit, so we are going to take a step back and have some fun on the flight with the football team we have. “Hopefully that loosens some guys up and then we get back at it against the Padres. All we can control is our effort and our work. Everything else is kind of up to baseball.” Colorado’s offense has been two-faced much of the season, and the ugly mug showed up again when the Rockies managed just six hits and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. That 0-for-RISP has become symbolic of the Rockies’ all-to-frequent struggles at the plate in the second half of the season. “We couldn’t get the big hit,” manager Bud Black said. “We had some baserunners, but we couldn’t get the big hit, like we have talked about over the course of the few games that we have lost lately.” Unlike Lucroy, however, Black discounted the idea that his team is pressing as it enters the final 10 games of its season and seeks its first postseason berth since 2009. “It’s crunchtime all year. (That question) was asked two weeks ago, and you saw what happened,” Black said, referring to a stretch when the Rockies won eight of nine games when their offense started producing big numbers, such as an 8-1 victory against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Sept. 10 to complete a four-game sweep. “I think the guys want to get hits, there is no doubt about that,” Black continued, “but whether they are pressing, I don’t think so. We just have to go back to the plate and on the mound and get it done.” Giants left-handed starter Matt Moore entered the game carrying a 5-14 record and a 5.59 ERA, among the worst marks for a full-time big-league starter. He had allowed six runs over his last 11 innings and the Giants were just 9-20 in his starts this season. In six career starts vs. the Rockies, he was 1-3 with a 9.64 ERA and he seemed like the perfect anecdote to what’s been ailing Colorado’s offense. Instead, he morphed into a quasi-ace, pitching six-plus innings, allowing no runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Joe Panik continued his assault on Colorado pitchers, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. The only thing missing from a Panik cycle was a home run. He’s batting .455 since Sept. 1, the highest average in the majors. His torrid stretch includes a franchise-record 12 hits in a three-game series from Sept. 4-6 at Coors Field. In 19 games against Colorado this season, Panik hit .436 (34-for-78). His 34 hits are the most ever in a season by a Colorado opponent. “He’s been a Rockie killer for sure,” Black said. “We just can’t seem to solve him. We are trying all sorts of different things to get him out, but the mistakes that we have made, he’s not missing.” Panik ambushed starter Tyler Chatwood in the first inning with Panik crushing a ball to right-center for a one-out triple and then scoring on Denard Span’s sacrifice fly. Related ArticlesSeptember 20, 2017 Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon not ready to ponder 200-hit milestone or MVP talk September 20, 2017 Tracking the Colorado Rockies and the race for the National League wild card September 20, 2017 Coors Field will get a massive new video board and a sound system, Rockies announce September 19, 2017 Rockies’ walk-off loss to Giants cuts wild-card lead to one game September 19, 2017 Greg Holland pitching for Rockies’ playoff spot and his next contract The Giants took a 3-0 lead in the third, combining Panik’s leadoff double, a groundout by Span and a sacrifice fly by Buster [...]
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Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon not ready to ponder 200-hit milestone or MVP talk
SAN FRANCISCO — When the season is over, Rockies all-star center fielder, leadoff man extraordinaire and National League MVP candidate Charlie Blackmon will sit back, ponder all that he’s accomplished and, maybe, give himself a little pat on the back. But there is no time for that now as the Rockies try to hold onto a wild-card playoff berth. “I’ll do it when the season is over,” Blackmon said Wednesday before Colorado’s 4-0 loss to San Francisco. “I go back every year and I will look at it and basically compare how I did, year after year. I’ll look at how I got better and why I didn’t get better, and how I could get better the next year.” Blackmon reached the 200-hit milestone Tuesday, making him the first major-league player to accomplish that this season and the eighth different player in Rockies history to do it. He didn’t know what he had accomplished until fellow outfielder Gerardo Parra gave him a heads up Tuesday night. “He said, ‘Congratulations, Papi,’ ” Blackmon said. “I said, ‘Why?’ He goes, ‘You just got 200 hits.’ I was like, ‘Really? Wow. That’s pretty good.’ That’s what he said.” That last Rockies player to get 200 hits in a season was Matt Holliday, who had 216 in the Rockies’ 2007 World Series season. “It’s good to get a lot of hits,” Blackmon deadpanned. “For that reason, it means you’ve been able to play a lot baseball and be an effective player. Matt Holliday was certainly a good player. It’s good to be in that conversation.” As for talk about his chances of being voted MVP, Blackmon said he can’t afford to pay attention to it. But he did offer this: “That means I’m doing something right, and if you are not a good player, you don’t have that problem.” Related ArticlesSeptember 20, 2017 Rockies’ offense a no-show again in loss to Giants September 20, 2017 Tracking the Colorado Rockies and the race for the National League wild card September 20, 2017 Coors Field will get a massive new video board and a sound system, Rockies announce September 19, 2017 Rockies’ walk-off loss to Giants cuts wild-card lead to one game September 19, 2017 Greg Holland pitching for Rockies’ playoff spot and his next contract Bettis on tap. Right-hander Chad Bettis has been struggling lately, as his 1-3 record and 6.23 ERA demonstrate, but manager Bud Black will start Bettis on Saturday at San Diego. “The couple bullpen sessions he’s had have been good in regards to some simple mechanical adjustments he’s made,” Black said. “He’s working to keep that fastball a little more direct to where he’s intending to throw the ball. I think four extra days of rest will be beneficial for him.” Bettis’ last start was short and ugly. He gave up five runs in one-third of an inning last Thursday at Arizona, but Black expressed confidence that Bettis will rebound. “I think we know what we’re going to get from Chad,” Black said. “We’re going to get strikes. We’re going to get the ball down and get a good changeup to keep hitters off balance. That’s our expectation. I think if he does those things, fundamentally speaking, he will pitch well.” Plus, there is this fact: Bettis owns a 3.00 career ERA in seven starts against the Padres. Golden endorsement. Shortstop Trevor Story has been turning in a lot of highlight-reel plays of late. That led Black to dole out some hefty praise for the second-year player. “He should get consideration for a Gold Glove,” Black said. “I really think so. There’s going to be a few guys ahead of him just because they’ve done it before. He should really get strong consideration.” Looking ahead Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesStarting pitcher Tyler Anderson #44 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Coors Field on May 30, 2017 in Denver.David Zalubowski, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Anderson delivers a pitch to Arizona Diamondbacks' A.J. Pollock in the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 6, 2017, in Denver.Hunter Martin, Getty ImagesStarting pitcher Tyler Anderson of the Colorado Rockies throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2017 in Philadelphia.Chris Coduto, Getty ImagesTyler Anderson of the Colorado Rockies poses for a portrait during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Feb. 23, 2017 in Scottsdale, Ariz.John Leyba, The Denver PostColorado Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Anderson (44) delivers a pitch against th [...]
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Greg Holland pitching for Rockies’ playoff spot and his next contract
SAN FRANCISCO — Greg Holland’s mission is twofold. First, the closer is pitching to secure a playoff spot for the Rockies. Second, he’s pitching for his next contract. Holland says plenty about his first job but not so much about what his long-term future might hold. Asked if there is chance he could return to Colorado for the 2018 season, the three-time all-star is purposely vague. “The only thing I will say regarding that is that my wife, Lacey, and I have loved it with the Rockies since we got to spring training,” Holland said. “That’s been really comforting, and I think that helped me a lot going to a new team. Not quite knowing what to expect and feeling immediately comfortable in the clubhouse was huge for me.” Holland, 31, also made it clear that with the season in its final stretch and the club clinging to a wild-card playoff spot, now is not the time to think too far down the road. “I actually had this conversation recently with my wife about what the future might hold for us, and then the next thing you know, the ball is going over the fence,” he said. “So I am just worried about staying healthy and helping us win. I think the old adage that winning takes care of itself is true for a lot of people. If you are doing the job and helping the team win, a lot of people find prosperity in that.” Holland, who signed with the Rockies as a free agent last winter after sitting out 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery, has already cashed in. He quickly finished thirty games for Colorado, triggering a clause that turned his $10 million mutual option into a $15 million player option. Though Holland isn’t saying for sure, all indications are that the right-hander will decline the option, and a likely qualifying offer, to test the free-agent market. Related ArticlesSeptember 19, 2017 Rockies’ walk-off loss to Giants cuts wild-card lead to one game September 18, 2017 Rockies are looking toward October with a refurbished pitching rotation. So who’s in? September 18, 2017 Lunch Special: When will Bud Black set up his rotation for the playoffs? September 17, 2017 Jon Gray’s day, a big anniversary, was hampered by rain. But the Rockies’ anchor is gaining steam. September 17, 2017 Rockies’ bullpen melts down late in 4-3 loss to Padres That means that closing strong over the final two weeks of the season will be a big deal for Holland, as well as the Rockies, who are counting on him to lock down games as he did in the first 2½ months of the season. Holland entered Tuesday night’s game at San Francisco having converted 40-of-44 save opportunities and a 3.62 ERA. His 40 saves are one shy of the franchise record set by Jose Jimenez in 2002. Holland was almost untouchable early in the season. From April 3 to June 14, he posted a 1.09 ERA and converted 23 consecutive save opportunities. Since June 15, however, he’s 3-6 with a 5.17 ERA with 17 saves in 21 chances. In early August, he allowed a combined six runs and blew back-to-back save opportunities for the first time in his career. The problem during his slump was a lack of pitch command, particularly with his slider, and too many walks. He has been better of late, going 1-1 with four saves and a 1.13 ERA over his last eight games. However, in Colorado’s 4-3 loss to San Diego on Sunday at Coors Field, Holland issued a costly one-out walk that eventually turned into the winning run for the Padres. While Holland’s slider has not been as sharp as it was early in the season, he appears to have a better feel for it in September than he did in August. “I think his (fastball) velocity is fine and his slider is good,” manager Bud Black said before Tuesday’s game. “I think with Greg, like any pitcher, he’s got to make pitches. But I think he’s in a good spot.” If the Rockies do make a run to re-sign Holland, they have two things in their favor. First of all, Holland believes the Rockies “have a chance to be good for a quite a few years.” Second, Holland, who makes his home in Asheville, N.C., in the Blue Ridge Mountains, also loves the Rocky Mountains. “We love Denver, the city itself, and we love going to Vail and Breckenridge and all of that,” he said. “So it’s a good fit. Lacey is more of a hiker, and I’m more of a sit-in-the-tree-stand kind of guy who hunts. But we both prefer the outdoors.” Footnotes. Rockies utility player Pat Valaika entered Tuesday’s game with 15 pinch-hit RBIs, tied for the most by a rookie since 1958. … Second baseman DJ LeMahieu leads all active players with a career .342 average against the Giants (entering Tuesday). He has gone 28-for-64 against them this season, the most hits again [...]
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Rockies’ walk-off loss to Giants cuts wild-card lead to one game
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s becoming increasingly evident that the Rockies’ quest for their first trip to the playoffs since 2009 is not going to come easily. A painful, 4-3, walk-off loss to San Francisco Tuesday night spelled that out with an exclamation point. The Giants won the game on Hunter Pence’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field to score pinch-runner Orlando Calixte. Calixte was running for Pablo Sandoval, who opened the ninth with an infield single off reliever Chris Rusin. With 11 games remaining, the Rockies’ lead for the National League’s second wild card has shrunk to a single game over Milwaukee. The Brewers blanked Pittsburgh 1-0 for their second shutout in a row over the Pirates. Milwaukee won for the ninth time in 11 games. It was second tough loss in a row for Colorado, which lost 4-3 to San Diego on Sunday at Coors Field. But Carlos Gonzalez does not sense panic in the Rockies’ clubhouse. “Right now is not the time to sit and complain, or cry about a game you end up losing,” the right fielder said. “You have to keep moving forward and you have to keep your head up. “We are still in the postseason, if the season finished today. We are still in the driver’s seat. The guys behind us have more pressure than us. They want us to lose. But if we keep pushing hard, eventually we’ll get wins and be rewarded.” This was a game stuffed full of drama, but the final act left the Rockies’ hearts aching in the City by the Bay. The Giants’ rally began innocently enough with Sandoval’s slow roller up the third-base line for a hit. Then Ryder Jones put down a sacrifice bunt that found no-man’s land between Rusin and charging third baseman Nolan Arenado. Pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson loaded the bases with a single through the hole at second base, setting up Pence’s game-winner. “I think he was just trying to get a bunt down and he ended up (getting) a single,” Rusin said of Jones’ critical bunt. “He got the ball past Nolan and I did what I could to try to get to it. I threw off-balance and it pulled (second baseman DJ LeMahieu, covering first) off the bag. That’s just baseball.” Manager Bud Black didn’t think Jones intentionally tried to squeeze the bunt between the mound and third, but it worked out for the Giants nonetheless. “If you miss that (spot), it’s potential a double play,” Black said. “I mean, Nolan gets it and throws to second and starts a double play.” The loss washed away some clutch plays by Colorado in the eighth that seemed to foretell a Rockies’ victory. In the bottom of the frame, with Giants catcher Buster Posey in scoring position, LeMahieu made a diving stop-and-throw on Brandon Crawford’s would-be single up the middle. It seemed, at the time, to be a game-saver. LeMahieu’s play was an encore to Gerardo Parra’s performance in the top of the inning. The left fielder delivered one of the coolest at-bats of the season, tying the game 3-3. With two outs and Gonzalez perched on third, Parra put together a nine-pitch masterpiece against reliever Hunter Strickland that included six foul balls. Finally, Parra stroked a double to right, scoring Gonzalez and knotting the game 3-3. “We played well, but we just couldn’t get another key hit,” Black said. “It was a good game and the Giants played well. Somebody has to win it, somebody has to lose it.” Save for one giant swing by Pence in the fifth, Rockies rookie starter German Marquez did his job, giving his team six innings and surrendering three runs on eight hits. He struck out five and walked just one. But the fifth inning was Marquez’s undoing. Giants starter Johnny Cueto led off with a single and waltzed home on Pence’s home run to center field, putting the Giants ahead 3-2. “I just rushed to the plate a little bit and he got ahead in the count and he didn’t miss that 3-1 pitch,” said Marquez, who threw an effective curveball most of the night. The Giant’s fifth-inning would have been greater had it not been for a perfect strike from Parra in left field. Related ArticlesSeptember 19, 2017 Greg Holland pitching for Rockies’ playoff spot and his next contract September 18, 2017 Rockies are looking toward October with a refurbished pitching rotation. So who’s in? September 18, 2017 Lunch Special: When will Bud Black set up his rotation for the playoffs? September 17, 2017 Jon Gray’s day, a big anniversary, was hampered by rain. But the Rockies’ anchor is gaining steam. September 17, 2017 Rockies’ bullpen melts down late in 4-3 loss to Padres After Pence’s homer, Denard Span singled and stole second, but [...]
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Brent Suter, Ryan Braun help Brewers beat Pirates to gain ground in playoff race
By Alan Saunders, The Associated Press PITTSBURGH — Brent Suter pitched five efficient innings, Ryan Braun homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 on Monday night to gain ground in the NL playoff chase. Milwaukee pulled within 3 1/2 games of the Cubs in the NL Central and two games behind the Rockies for the final NL wild card. Chicago and Colorado were both off Monday. Suter (3-2) allowed five hits and struck out four, throwing just 64 pitches before handing off to the bullpen. Five relievers split the final four innings, with Corey Knebel pitching the ninth for his 36th save in 41 tries. Braun’s solo shot, his 17th of the season, came in the fourth inning off starter Jameson Taillon (7-7). In the sixth inning, former Pirates infielder Neil Walker added on with an RBI single that ended Taillon’s night. Taillon had his last turn in the rotation skipped after a poor start Sept. 7 and rebounded by giving up two runs and six hits in five innings. Taillon walked one and struck out four. Travis Shaw hit an RBI single to score Walker in the eighth. It was Shaw’s team-leading 96th RBI this year. Braun, Shaw and Walker each had two hits. TRAINER’S ROOM Brewers: OF Domingo Santana (back strain) did not play, but manager Craig Counsell said he should play Tuesday. Related ArticlesSeptember 18, 2017 Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia bruises nose with foul, is day to day September 18, 2017 MLB home run record on track to fall Tuesday September 15, 2017 Cleveland Indians’ AL record win streak stopped at 22 September 14, 2017 Indians rally, win AL-record 22nd straight game September 13, 2017 Cleveland Indians set AL record with 21st straight win Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (left quad irritation) will be shut down for the remainder of the season. Cervelli hasn’t played since Aug. 25. He also missed time this year with a concussion and a wrist injury. … OF Starling Marte (left shoulder, finger) did not play. He was injured sliding into second base on Wednesday. UP NEXT Brewers: Chase Anderson (10-3, 2.88 ERA) will make his 23rd start of the season. He is 2-0 with a 2.43 ERA in two starts against the Pirates this year. Pirates: Trevor Williams (6-8, 4.26) is schedule to start. His 105 strikeouts are fifth among National League rookies. [...]
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Rockies’ bullpen melts down late in 4-3 loss to Padres
The afternoon shadows on the field are longer and a chilly rainstorm was a reminder that fall is just around the corner. September baseball is here and that means late-season baseball drama is back at Coors Field for the first time since 2010. The Rockies, however, could have avoided one chapter of that drama and given themselves some wild-card breathing room Sunday had they just closed the deal. Instead, their bullpen blew the game and closer Greg Holland dropped the ball — literally — as San Diego rallied for a 4-3 victory. With 12 games remaining on its schedule, Colorado holds a 2 ½ game lead over Milwaukee in the race for the second wild-card spot, and a 4 ½ game lead over St. Louis. The Brewers routed Miami 10-3 Sunday. Matt Szczur scored the winning run in the ninth on a squeeze bunt by Austin Hedges. Holland tagged Szczur as he slid into home, but Holland dropped the ball and was charged with an error, as well as the loss. “We were kind of in no-man’s land. I decided to tag him myself, because I saw him out of the corner of my eye,” Holland said, explaining why he chose to tag Szczur instead of tossing the ball to catcher Jonathan Lucroy. “I should have went in with two hands. They gave us a gift and chance to get out of the inning there and I didn’t do it.” Holland said impact with the ground knocked the ball out of his glove. Rockies manager Bud Black had no problem with Holland’s play. “Instincts will take over,” Black said. “(Lucroy) wants to go get the ball. But Greg is such a great fielder, he pounced on it. Greg made a great play. It’s a do-or-die play. He came up with it in his glove. He dove. And the umpire was about to call him out, it looked like. Then the ball came out of his glove. It was a great play by Greg.” Still, it was another disconcerting outing by Holland, who was so good early in the season en route to his third All-Star Game. After an awful stretch from Aug. 6-26 when he went 0-4 with three blown saves a 19.89 ERA, Holland appeared to have regained his command this month. He had four saves and a victory in September and seemed to have once again harnessed his slider. Until Sunday’s rough outing. BOX SCORE: Padres 4, Rockies 3 After striking out Erick Aybar to open the ninth, Holland walked Szczur and gave up an infield single to Allen Cordoba as Szczur advanced to third, setting up the game’s deciding play. “It (stinks),” Holland said. “I mean, (starter) Jon (Gray) has been throwing great, obviously. And our bullpen has been doing very well of late. But (San Diego) just got some timely hits. We still had a chance to win it if I don’t walk a guy and give them a free pass. That one is on me, today.” The loss spoiled another excellent start by Gray, who pitched five scoreless innings before a 1-hour, 23-minute rain delay halted his day. The Rockies led 3-1 in the eighth until reliever Pat Neshek gave up a two-out single to Carlos Asuaje, then reliever Jake McGee allowed a double to Yangervis Solarte. Into the game came right-hander Scott Oberg, who lately has been getting more time in big moments. Pitching carefully to slugger Wil Myers, Oberg walked him on four pitches, loading the bases for Hector Sanchez, who ripped a double to right, tying the game 3-3. Related ArticlesSeptember 17, 2017 Jon Gray’s day, a big anniversary, was hampered by rain. But the Rockies’ anchor is gaining steam. September 17, 2017 The longest home run in Coors Field history has an asterisk September 16, 2017 Charlie Blackmon makes his mark again in Rockies’ blowout of the Padres, this time for records September 16, 2017 Tyler Chatwood did not like his bullpen demotion. So he fought back into the Rockies’ rotation. September 15, 2017 Tyler Chatwood returns to rotation form in Rockies runaway win over the Padres at Coors Field The Rockies jumped to an early 3-0 lead against former Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin, with Trevor Story‘s two-run double the big blow. But that was the extent of Colorado’s offense. “We couldn’t get anything going against their relievers,” Black lamented. “Their bullpen outpitched our bullpen. That’s as plain as you can put it.” Added Story, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games: “It’s tough. This one definitely stings. We’ll bounce back.” San Diego, blanked 16-0 Saturday night, finally got on the board in the seventh on Solartes’ 443-foot, two-out homer to left off Chris Rusin. Exactly one year ago Sunday, Gray pitched the best game of his young career and one of the finest in Rockies history: a complete-game, 16-strikeout shutout of the Padres. He looked to be on his way to [...]
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Jon Gray’s day, a big anniversary, was hampered by rain. But the Rockies’ anchor is gaining steam.
Jon Gray never pretended to be Al Roker, but those clouds that creeped up behind him Sunday at Coors Field were not in his forecast. “It came out of nowhere,” the Rockies’ right-hander said. “I had no idea it was going to rain. It was a big surprise to me.” Exactly one year after Gray threw the game of his life, Gray was back on the mound, his momentum building against the same Padres he dominated last season. He struck out seven Padres, walked just one and needed just 63 pitches to cruise through five innings. Then a long rain weather delay knocked Gray out. And the Rockies fluttered away a three-run lead in San Diego’s late come-from-behind 4-3 victory. On Sept. 17 last season, Gray dominated the Padres over nine innings, as he struck out a career-high 16 batters, walked none and gave up just four hits. He was back on that path again Sunday with thoughts of another complete game. “Absolutely. I felt like we were getting better as the game was going on,” Gray said. “Command got better, pitches were sharper. It’s frustrating.” But something has changed in Colorado’s 25-year-old rotation anchor. Gray said he’s a better better pitcher now than the day he led the Rockies to an easy 8-0 victory last year at Coors Field. His fastball edged toward 98 mph. That’s his go-to pitch. He pressured hitters on the inside of their zone. His slider faded down and away. And his curveball mixed in enough to put a hiccup in the rhythms. BOX SCORE: Padres 4, Rockies 3 “I feel like last year I was mainly just a fastball-slider guy,” Gray said. “This year, I feel like I can get people out any way. It’s pretty comfortable having a lot of options to go to. “I’m just trusting my stuff and not picking off the side of plate, but driving through the plate,” he said. “Just going at guys. There aren’t as many wasted pitches.” Related ArticlesSeptember 17, 2017 Rockies’ bullpen melts down late in 4-3 loss to Padres September 17, 2017 The longest home run in Coors Field history has an asterisk September 16, 2017 Charlie Blackmon makes his mark again in Rockies’ blowout of the Padres, this time for records September 16, 2017 Tyler Chatwood did not like his bullpen demotion. So he fought back into the Rockies’ rotation. September 15, 2017 Tyler Chatwood returns to rotation form in Rockies runaway win over the Padres at Coors Field Gray had allowed just two hits through five innings: Allen Cordoba’s soft single to left field in the third and Matt Szczur’s double to center in the fifth. Cordoba disappeared quickly when Gray forced Jhoulys Chacin into a double play. And Szczur never advanced after Gray whiffed Cordoba. “That was an efficient outing for sure,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “He was in control of this game. The delivery looked good. The ball was coming out of his hand well. There was no telling how far he could have gone if the rains didn’t come.” Footnotes. Gray has pitched 11 consecutive games with three or fewer runs allowed. Only Ubaldo Jimenez has longer streaks in Rockies history — a 14-game run in 2010 and a 12-game streak in ’09… Gray’s day was done after the rain delay went 1 hour and 23 minutes. Black said his sliding scale in determining how long is too long before bringing back his starter ranges from 45 minutes to an hour. “That’s sort of the standard those of us in the game have come to,” Black said. Rockies are now 71-5 when leading after seven innings. Looking Ahead… Monday: Off Tuesday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (10-7, 4.41 ERA) at Giants RHP Johnny Cueto (7-8, 4.58), 8:15 p.m., AT&T SportsNet Wednesday: Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (8-12, 4.57) at Giants LHP Matt Moore (5-14, 5.39), 1:45 p.m., AT&T SportsNet Thursday: Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (5-5, 5.28) at Padres TBA, 8:10 p.m., AT&T SportsNet [...]
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Tyler Chatwood did not like his bullpen demotion. So he fought back into the Rockies’ rotation.
Tyler Chatwood borrowed — stole might be more accurate — Alexi Amarista’s bat Friday night, then he hit a game-breaking two-run single. But the veteran Rockies right-hander is not trying to pitch like somebody else. He is finally back to himself. Chatwood won a consecutive game for the first time since early June, after he threw 94 pitches over 5 2/3 innings to lead the Rockies past the Padres. His pitch count was telling. After the Rockies demoted the 27-year-old to the bullpen in late July, Chatwood returned to full length. He is a proper starter, once again a full-time member of the Rockies rotation. “That’s what I’m used to doing. Starting,” Chatwood said. “I’ve started most of my career. That’s what I feel best doing. That’s the best way I can help us win games.” In seven relief appearances over five weeks, Chatwood seemed lost, a pitcher without a clear purpose. He earned a second career save after pitching a clean 12th inning at Cleveland on Aug. 9, but was otherwise relegated to middle-inning mop-up duty out of the bullpen. Chatwood was not pleased about this development. “I’ve been good for awhile here. I had a rough start against the Mets and I got put in the bullpen,” he said. Friday’s victory over the Padres put him back in place. He has allowed just one run over 13 2/3 innings. But only after he found his go-to weapon, a two-seam fastball that runs down and away to left-handed hitters. For much of the season, his best pitch was running flat, off the plate, leading to too many walks. He had a 5.25 ERA on May 12. Some on-the-run mechanical adjustments squared his delivery, planting his foot more in line with his body. It gave him more true movement to his sinkerball. “I was fighting myself,” Chatwood said. “My two-seam has always been my pitch. We noticed it and I picked up on it right away.” Chatwood last season led the Rockies’ rotation with a 3.87 ERA, but the number hit a deeper trend. He had a 1.69 ERA on the road, but a 6.12 mark at Coors Field. His one-run effort Friday in Denver, the Rockies hope, signals a turnaround. “When we sent him to the bullpen, a lot of that was performance-based,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “He came back with a mind-set of, ‘I’m not going to beat myself. I’m gonna go after people and trust my stuff in the hitting area.’ ” Against the Padres, Chatwood threw just 52 strikes against 42 balls, a troubling sign according to Black. He was saved by forcing two double-play groundouts in the first and second innings. “For Tyler, long-term, that’s probably one thing for him that he should really concentrate on as his career continues,” Black said. “But we gave him this opportunity to get back into the rotation and he seized it.” Rotation changes. Chatwood will push up a day in the Rockies rotation to pitch Wednesday at San Francisco, the sight of his best game this season. He threw a two-hitter over nine innings there on April 15. The Rockies instead will push back right-hander Chad Bettis, who recorded just one out in his previous start, a loss at Arizona on Thursday. Bettis instead will pitch Saturday at Arizona. The rest of the rotation will fill in before him. Looking ahead Padres RHP Jhoulys Chacin (12-10, 4.06 ERA) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (8-4, 3.95), 1:10 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 630-AM A second consecutive Colorado cast off will face his former team when Chacin, a mainstay in the Rockies’ rotation from 2009-14, returns to Coors Field. The Rox cut Chacin late in spring training before the 2015 season, then he bounced between the Diamondbacks, Braves and Angels before finding a spot in San Diego, where he has been the Padres’ best pitcher this season. He took a loss to the Rockies on June 3, giving up  four runs over six innings. Gray struck out 10 batters over seven innings in his previous start, a win at Arizona. Monday: Off Tuesday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (10-7, 4.41) at Giants RHP Johnny Cueto (7-8, 4.58), 8:15 p.m., AT&T SportsNet Wednesday: Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (8-12, 4.57) at Giants LHP Matt Moore (5-14, 5.39), 1:45 p.m., AT&T SportsNet [...]
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