Rockies eliminated from postseason contention after series loss vs. Dodgers

Sep 23, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) reacts after the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of extra-innings losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers have ended the Colorado Rockies’ streak of series wins and, with it, any hope of a miracle postseason run.

The Rockies were eliminated from playoff contention with a 7-5 defeat in 10 innings on Thursday. Colorado’s bullpen, which has performed well as of late, allowed four unanswered runs in the eighth through 10th innings to squander a 5-3 lead. The Dodgers were down to their final out in the ninth when Carlos Estevez allowed three consecutive singles to plate the tying run. Max Muncy put L.A. up by a pair of runs with a two-run homer off of Lucas Gilbreath in the following frame. The result ruined quite a feat accomplished by the Rockies’ offense; the group tallied five earned runs off of Dodgers starter Max Scherzer, who had allowed only five earned runs in 58 innings since being acquired at the trade deadline.

Kyle Freeland tossed six innings of three-run ball, striking out five and walking only one while also driving in a pair of runs at the plate. Sam Hilliard led Colorado’s offense with three hits, and Raimel Tapia added a tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth inning off of Scherzer.

The Rockies also dropped a tightly contested extra-innings affair in the opener. C.J. Cron led the Rockies with a pair of doubles and two RBI as part of a three-hit effort, but Colorado managed just two hits and failed to score against the Dodgers’ bullpen. Meanwhile, L.A. plated the go-ahead run on Albert Pujols’ RBI single off of Jhoulys Chacin in the top of the 10th. Yes, that happened in 2021, not 2011.

The only comfortable win of the series was also the Rockies’ lone victory, a 10-5 decision over the Dodgers on Wednesday. Cron, who finished the series with nine hits, went 4-for-5 with two doubles. Brendan Rodgers added a pair of hits including a homer, and Sam Hilliard hit a key three-run shot that gave the Rockies some distance from the Dodgers in the bottom of the seventh.

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Germán Márquez appeared to be over his second-half slump when he spun six innings of shutout ball against the Phillies a couple of weeks ago, but he’s encountered another rough patch. The Rockies’ ace has allowed 11 earned runs and has walked more batters than he’s struck out over his last two starts, including five runs on six hits and four walks on Wednesday.

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Tyler Kinley has not allowed a run in any of his last six appearances out of the bullpen. In fact, the right-hander has been very good for most of the last two months. Over his last 21 2/3 innings spanning 20 appearances, Kinley owns a 1.25 ERA with 25 strikeouts and just five walks.

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The Rockies (71-81) will have another chance to play spoiler with the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants coming to Coors Field for a three-game series starting Friday. The Giants lead baseball with 99 wins but lead the Dodgers in the division by just one game, meaning there’s likely going to be a 100-win team stuck playing in the NL Wild Card Game. In an effort to avoid being that team, the Giants will send three of their best starters–Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani, and Kevin Gausman–to the mound in the series opposite Peter Lambert, who is making his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery prior to the 2020 season, Jon Gray, and Antonio Senzatela.

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