You never realized what you’ve got until it’s gone, and boy things looked great for a while. The entire team was buzzing, winning games and staying atop the National League West. But after a June where they won 19 of 28, they’ve come back down to earth, playing sub .500 ball and showing everyone their true talent level. Sucks doesn’t it.
Clay Buchholz was supposed to start this game, but was scratched due to elbow tightness and Matt Koch replaced him in the bottom of the first. I hope it was just for precaution sake, but if it’s not, Buchholz had as fine a season as any of the D-backs starters. After losing Taijuan Walker to Tommy John surgery, Clay came on and pitched beautifully.
Facing Koch was Kyle Freeland, who has just been sensational in his 2nd full year at the MLB level. The young lefty raised his K/9, lowered his BB/9, and most importantly, gives up .82 HR/9. Get used to him, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Freeland going forward. He started off the game with a 10 pitch 1st inning, getting two ground balls and a flyout.
The Rockies started off strong, with David Dahl singling to right but a double play followed, giving Koch a nice shot at a clean inning. Nolan Arenado didn’t care, driving a first pitch fastball for an early 1-0 Rockies lead. He hit it a very long way.
The D-backs equalized thanks to A.J Pollock, who hit a ball that just kept going and going.
Nick Ahmed singled afterwards, but Ketel Marte doubled him off to end the 2nd 1-1.
Koch ran into problems again in the 2nd, with Trevor Story singling and Gerardo Parra walking, but Desmond grounded into a double play to hurt the Rockies chances. Iannetta walked and Freeland helped his own cause with a liner over the head of Pollock for a double, scoring Story 2-1 Rockies.
The offense would continue to struggle against Freeland, striking out in 5 of their next 6 at-bats before having an opportunity to score in the 5th. Ahmed reached on a throwing error and Jeff Mathis walked with two outs for pinch-hitter Christian Walker, but he grounded out to end the chance.
Meanwhile the Rockies continued to pile on runs. With a runner on and two outs, Story battled in an 8-pitch at-bat before demolishing a ball to deep deep left field.
It went an estimated 471 feet. 4-1 Rockies. Matt Koch was done after the inning, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits while striking out 2.
The Rockies again scored in the bottom of the 4th, this time off Silvino Bracho. A bunt single from Freeland (he was 4 for 60 coming into the game) and a blooped double from David Dahl gave the Rockies another run, 5-1.
Savior Jimmie Sherfy came on in relief and was electric, striking out 4 over 2 scoreless innings. Makes you wonder where he was all season. Unfortunately, that left the real bullpen to rear it’s ugly head, as Diekman, Boxberger and Chafin combined for 5 runs allowed in the 7th. The D-backs had actually cut the lead to 5-3 after 3 consecutive extra base hits from Souza, Ahmed, and Marte but a disaster of a 7th went as follows:
Single, HBP, Walk, Walk (6-3), Line Out, Single (8-3), Single (9-3), Single (10-3).
The D-backs had two more hits, but erased them both with double plays and the Rockies coasted to an easy victory, to take 3 out of 4 from the D-backs. The loss lowered their playoff chances to a measly 2.7%
☆ - Nick Ahmed (2 for 4, 1RBI) +10.6% WPA
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The pain never stops, with a 3-game series against the Astros starting tomorrow in Houston. Who knows, maybe the team will show some life.