Quick Hits from Rockies 10-6 loss to LA Sunday

Just how big a factor is the Rockies bullpen in the team’s 5-2 start. Well, the Rockies have been outscored 30-28 despite losing only two games.

The five wins have all been by one or two runs, and have been the result of dominating late-inning relief work.  In the five wins, the bullpen has five saves — four by Greg Holland and one by Jake McGee.

And the relievers have overpowered. Holland, McGee, Adam Ottavino, Mike Dunn and Scott Oberg have combined to work 17 innings in those five games, giving up two runs on nine hits and eight walks while striking out 28.

In the two losses, Jordan Lyles has given up five runs in two innings, Oberg gave up a run for the first time this season on Sunday, and Chris Rusin was the victim of an unearned run in his season debut after being activated from the disabled list.

THE ROCKIES committed their first two errors of the season in Sunday’s 10-6 loss to the Dodgers. Yaisel Puig led off the top of the ninth reaching on an error by shortstop Trevor Story and eventually scored the Dodgers’ final run. Franklin Gutierrez scored in the seventh inning on an errant pickoff attempt by catcher Tony Wolters, the Rockies first error coming in their 70th inning of the season.

DEFENDING NL batting champion DJ LeMahieu wasn’t the lineup on Sunday, but he did get into the game for the final three innings and had a single and a double, giving a sign that his season-opening struggle might be over.

LeMahieu used the right-center field alley to get the double. That is his area os strength. In the six previous games he was a combined 2-for-23 and both hits were singles.

GERARDO PARRA has taken advantage of playing time in light of projected left fielder David Dahl being on the disabled list. He was 3-for-5 Sunday, his fourth multi-hit game of the season on Sunday. He raised his average to .440.



Look Ahead Game 7 (vs. Dodgers, 4-9-17)

Lefthander Chris Rusin was recalled Sunday morning, giving manager Bud Black three left-handed relievers in the bullpen. German Marquez, who had not pitched this season, was sent to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Rusin.  Rusin opened the season on the disabled list.

Rusin made one rehab appearance at Albuquerque, working 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the Isotopes opener on Thursday. He made 29 appearances for the Rockies last year — 22 out of the bullpen. As a reliever he was 2-1 with a  2.58 ERA.

Rusin joins right-hander Jordan Lyles as the long men in the Rockies bullpen. He will back up fellow lefthanders Jake McGee and Mike Dunn.

THE ROCKIES first five victories have all been by one or two runs. That’s a marked change from a year ago. The Rockies were 24-36 in games decided by one or two runs a year ago, the worst record in the NL. The Twins have the worst overall record (27-48) in games decided by one or two runs.

The Rockies 60 games decided by one or two runs lat season was the fewest in the majors.

THE ROCKIES have opened the season 5-1 for the third time in history. Today they will attempt to claim their sixth victory in the first seven games, which would equal the best start in franchise history, which was in 1995. In their third year of existence, the Rockies claimed the first NL wild-card in the strike-shortened season.

They opened Coors Field that year, and it started with a two-game sweep of the Mets.

This season the Rockies opened by taking three of four in Milwaukee, and then came home on Friday to play the Dodgers. They have won the first two games of the Dodger Series and this afternoon will go for the sweep. Tyler Anderson has drawn the start for the Rockies against the Dodgers Kenta Maeda.

THE ROCKIES have had their problems with the Dodgers. They trail in the all-time series 170-229 (.426), and have won a season series in six of the previous 24 years.

The Rockies have, however, swept nine of the 128 series against the Dodgers, including two in 2007. The Rockies have already clinched only thier 44th series victory against the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have won the season series in Coors Field in 10 of the 23 seasons of the ballpark’s existence.


Down on the Farm (Games of 4/8)

The Isotopes Pat Valaika hit for the cycle for the second time in his career and drove in 7 runs as the Rockies Triple-A club beat Salt Lake 12-5. Valaika’s previous cycle came last August against Fresno. Pitcher Zach Jemiola (1-0) got the win, despite allowing five runs on nine hits with three strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.


Double-A Hartford (1-2) lost the Richmond Flying Squirrels. A wild pitch in the 8th inning was the difference in the game.


High-A Lancaster (1-2) lost to Visalia 8-5. Jethawks pitcher Peter Lambert struck out 9 in 4 2/3 innings.


Low-A Asheville (1-2) had a rough day losing both games of a double header to Hagerstown.


Kershaw & Coors Don’t Mix

Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw is among the most dominate pitchers in the game, except at Coors Field. Kershaw was the losing pitcher in the Rockies 4-2 victory against the Dodgers on Saturday night. He is 8-4 at Coors Field, but the other numbers aren’t pretty.

He has a 4.71 ERA. The only other ERA above 4.00 in a current ballpark is at Angels Stadium where he has a 4.05 ERA. He has allowed 19 home runs to the Rockies, the most of any team, and has given up 16 at Coors Field, which is No. 1, and 13 more than he has given up at AT&T Park, No. 2 for a visiting park.

And Saturday was a particularly tough night for Kershaw. He gave up three home runs in a game for only the third time in his career. With the score tied 1-1 he gave up back-to-back home runs for the first time in his career, a two-run shot to Mark Reynolds followed by a solo shot from Gerardo Parra.

REYNOLDS hit the two-run home run and also singled in the eighth, adding to the best start of his career. He has hit in the first five games of a season for the first time, but more than that he is 9-for-19 with three home runs and eight RBI.

Reynolds second longest season-opening hitting streak was four game sin 2009, but he had only five hits and just one RBI.

Reynolds was offered $3 million to play in Korea this year, but instead returned to the Rockies, although he signed a minor-league contract and was invited to spring training.

His role became significant, however, when Ian Desmond suffered a broken hand during spring training, opening not only a roster spot for Reynolds, but a spot in the starting lineup.

GREG HOLLAND earned his fourth save in four appearances, working a 1-2-3 ninth for the Rockies in their 4-2 victory against the Dodgers.

Holland has not allowed a hit in his four one-inning appearances. He has struck out six. Mike Dunn retired both batters he faced to finish off the sixth inning. He has allowed one hit in four innings.

Holland and the left-handed Dunn were the two key relievers the Rockies signed in the off-season.

THE ROCKIES 5-1 start matches the best in franchise history. They also opened the 1995 and 2013 seasons winning five of six. In 1995, their third year of existence, they earned the first wild-card spot in NL history, and lost to the Braves in the NL Division Series. In 2013 they finished 74-88 and in last place in the NL West.