Backed by a pair of re-acquired bats, the Colorado Rockies (7-12) defeated the Philadelphia Phillies (11-7) 6-2 Thursday night at Coors Field.
The victory was the first of the season for the Rockies at 20th and Blake and extends their winning streak to four games. After getting off to their worst start since 2005, the Rockies appear to have turned things around.
Ahead are takeaways from the latest Rockies victory.
The Rockies received much-needed reinforcements
Thursday’s game marked the return of two key components of the Rockies’ lineup in both David Dahl and Ryan McMahon. Both players were previously on the 10-day injured list but returned to Colorado’s lineup at the start of their seven-game homestand.
The return of Dahl and McMahon enables manager Bud Black to formulate better lineups moving forward after playing minor leaguers’ Josh Fuentes and Yonathan Daza consistently. With the ailments, the Rockies’ lineup was reflective of a Spring Training game due to the extent of Colorado’s injury woes.
McMahon made his presence felt almost immediately. With a 0-0 score in the bottom of the sixth inning and two runners on, McMahon cranked his first home run of the season over the raised wall in right-center field to establish a 3-0 lead for Colorado.
Ryan McMahon returns from the IL and hits his first tater of the year. pic.twitter.com/WQz7wm2Zoe
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) April 19, 2019
McMahon did not stop there. After Philadelphia managed to cut the lead to two runs, McMahon crushed his second home run of the game, to a nearly identical spot. It was a two-run shot, extending the Rockies lead to 6-2. It was also the first multi-homer game of McMahon’s young career.
Expectations were sky high entering this season for McMahon following a spring in which he was the team’s MVP. McMahon hit .424 during Spring Training and led the MLB in slugging percentage (.763), OPS (1.232) and extra-base hits (13) during that span.
Dahl also managed to get going, pulling a double to deep right field while also working a walk.
Before hitting the shelf, Dahl was the Rockies’ hottest hitter. He had hit a home run in each of the two games before his injury and managed to record a hit in seven of the 10 games he played in.
Injuries have been a problem throughout his entire career, but when healthy, Dahl is a major threat at the plate and adds serious protection to the middle of the lineup.
Freeland bounces back
Kyle Freeland rebounded back big-time for the Rockies in his start Thursday following a slew of poor outings. Prior to his start against the Phillies, Freeland had lost three consecutive starts and looked noticeably off his game, partially due to a blister he has been dealing with since his last time out.
The blister issue cut Freeland’s start short against the Phillies, but he was still sharp against Bryce Harper and company, hurling six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while fanning seven batters.
The start was the most dominant of the season for Freeland and came with Tony Wolters behind the dish due to an injury to Chris Iannetta. Iannetta has been Freeland’s personal catcher since the start of last season with Wolters having caught him just once since the beginning of 2018. Nonetheless, Freeland did not skip a beat.
Additionally, it was the fourth start for the Rockies with six or fewer hits, the most such starts within the first 20 games in club history.
Freeland is a critical component of the Rockies starting rotation. The club has won 17 of his past 22 starts in the regular season. Before his loss at home versus the Atlanta Braves earlier in the month, Freeland had not lost a start at Coors Field since June 10th and was 7-0 with a 2.14 earned run average between defeats.
The offense is coming around
Following a dreadful start to the season at the dish, the Rockies offense has started to string hits together consistently.
The Rockies have platted 23 runs over their last four games and have also compiled 36 hits in that stretch.
In their latest win, every member of the Rockies’ starting nine logged hits except for Freeland and Garrett Hampson. McMahon and Wolters both had multi-hit nights and accounted for more than half of the Rockies hits.
Wolters’ three hits tied his career high, while McMahon’s five RBI’s set a new career-high mark as well.