Rockies dig deeper hole, bludgeoned by Astros in opener

Aug 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez (44) celebrates with third baseman Alex Bregman (2) after hitting a home run against the Colorado Rockies during the second inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

On far too many nights this season, the Colorado Rockies have supplied viewers with a painful experience.

A battered bullpen, fallen ace and fielding mistakes all added up to an 11-6 loss Tuesday, the Rockies’ 61st of the year. The lopsided tally also dropped their run differential to -44 on the year.

Dating back to June 21, the Rockies have only won two-or-more games in a row twice.

Ahead are takeaways from the loss.

Bats wait out former nemesis, strike late

Zack Greinke is the league’s magician. Without a high-velocity offering in his elder days as a starter, he’s become a change-of-speed artist.

Just when the Rockies thought a Diamondbacks’ trade made him disappear, the ace faced them in his debut with his newest club.

At the game’s onset, the results were muddy.

In the first three innings, Greinke faced the minimum twice thanks to a double play in the second frame. Tony Wolters’ single in the third was the lone blemish that separated him from facing a mere nine hitters in his first three stanzas.

After waiting him out, the sluggers of the club began to chip away at Greinke.

An infield single by Trevor Story led off the fourth before a Daniel Murphy walk and Nolan Arenado sac fly put the Rockies on the board for the first time. A subsequent double from McMahon scored another.

In the inning, Greinke threw 26 of his 99 pitches and began to show signs of wear that prohibited him from a quality start in his newest uniform.

A Raimel Tapia, three-run home run in the sixth and final inning of Greinke’s outing served as the final straw. It was the second-most runs allowed by the veteran this year. He also allowed seven hits and struck out two.

The outing brought Greinke’s season earned run average to 3.08.

Marquez feels the wrath of league’s top club

There was a bevy of factors going against German Marquez in his latest start. Among them were a short porch in right field and an additional hitter due to interleague play. The largest factor in his lack of success was the best team in the majors.

The Houston Astros – armed with the fruits of an aggressive trade deadline – are the team to beat in the league. For Marquez, they made sure to prove it.

In his last start, Marquez went six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers and struck out 10 before departing due to full-body cramps. The ailment interrupted what was likely the hurler’s best start of the year, considering the competition.

For his efforts against the Astros, Marquez had an up-and-down afternoon that started to plateau early. In only the second inning, he fell victim to the hottest rookie hitter in recent memory. On a 3-1 count, Yordan Alvarez took advantage of a slider that refused to move, depositing the offering 436 feet away:

To make it three consecutive innings with a run – after a one-run fourth – Yuli Gurriel sent a Marquez offering over the aforementioned porch in right to make it 4-2. He took a Bryan Shaw pitch out to the same spot later in the game. The long balls were his fourth and fifth of the year in only three games against the Rockies.

Overall, Marquez allowed five earned runs in five innings and struck out four. The outing raised his season ERA to 4.82.

Rockies’ habit of large losses strikes again 

It’s been a tough year for the Rockies. Virtually out of playoff contention, they’ve begun the development portion of the year, whether they choose to take advantage of it or not.

A leading cause of the downtrodden year has been momentum-killing, blowout losses.

In 18 separate games this year, including their latest loss, the Rockies have lost by five-or-more runs. All too often, the defeats have come in a similar fashion to their opening contest against the Astros.

The Astros scored in six different innings, all in a span of consecutive frames from the second to the seventh. Each time the Rockies gained steam, they were quickly extinguished by a lack of success from their pitching.

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