Rockies 4, Pirates 3: Miracle of Steel City
Coming into today’s game, the Colorado Rockies had been excluded from an MLB record ten times before the end of May with a desperately poor 3-22 road record. At the start of the fourth inning, the Rockies had not scored a run in 17 innings after being shut out by the Pirates in yesterday’s two double-headed games. Still, Charlie Blackmon’s fearless beard combined with a great day from the bullpen to lift the Rockies to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Frustrating instead of free
Kyle Freeland made his second start of the season for the Rockies, and it was sloppy, inefficient and frustrating. Freeland pitched for just four innings on 84 shots, allowing three runs on five hits and four goals. He struck out only one batter. Freeland struggled with command while trying to nibble the area, and steps frequently came back to bite him. There was also a clear tension between him and his receiver Dom Nuñez. The two had an argument over the signs and clearly weren’t on the same page.
Bullpen light point
After Kyle Freeland’s short outing, the bullpen intensified and did its job despite the Rockies’ offense. Jordan Sheffield donned the rubber for two scoreless, scoreless innings. The rookie, with his 2.45 ERA, was one of the very few bright spots in the Rocky Mountain survey pen. Another bright spot is the apparent re-emergence of great man Carlos Estévez, who pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout in the seventh inning. Estévez has not allowed an earned run in his last eight appearances, dating back to April 15. Closer Daniel Bard looked sharp for two innings of work to clinch the win as a pitcher on record. He walked the first hitter he faced, but stopped the Pirates after that with three strikeouts.
Ryan McMahon is an All-Star
Ryan McMahon had no success today against the Pirates, but his two marches were instrumental in the victory of the Rockies. McMahon walked to start the ninth inning and was led for the race tied. He also plays incredible defense on second and third bases. This afternoon he made a stellar dive stop to steal a shot down the second inning. McMahon has been one of the best defensive players in the league so far and plays like an All-Star.
Mostly offends ugly
Despite the rally in the ninth inning, the Rockies’ offense failed for most of the game, just as they did during this series and road trip. The Rockies are a hideous 3 for 30 with runners in goal position during the trip. Perhaps the ugliest round of the season came early in the sixth, where a start single and back-to-back marches loaded the goals with no outs. Three consecutive hitters were then taken out, two looking, in naughty at-bats. No round would mark that round. Don’t let the final spark of the round fool you: something is still fundamentally broken with the Rockies’ offense on the road.
Drag the team to victory
Charlie Blackmon and Yonathan Daza put the team on their backs this afternoon, contributing five of the Rockies’ seven hits. Blackmon hit hard, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple. His triple led into the Rockies’ first run of the day after a single from Yonathan Daza. He also led in the race tied for the top of ninth with a 1-2 after a walk by Ryan McMahon. Chuck Nazty himself was the winning race, reaching third on wild ground and being led by Matt Adams on an RBI single against the shift. Yonathan Daza was 2-for-4 with one walk and two singles, and CJ Cron drew an RBI walk with the bases loaded in the eighth.
To be continued
The Rockies will return home to Denver to enjoy a day off on Memorial Day Monday before pitching a homestand with a three-game streak against the Texas Rangers. Germán Márquez will start for the Rockies as the rotation reverses. The Rangers will start off right-hander rookie in glasses Dane Dunning. The first pitch is at 6:40 MDT.