The Colorado Rockies’ winning streak against the San Diego Padres to begin 2019 ended at three games on Saturday as the former fell prey to a blown chance from their closer in a 4-3 loss.
Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers both homered for the visiting Padres and the Rockies will now look to Antonio Senzatela in the series’ rubber match on Mother’s Day.
Ahead are takeaways from the loss.
Davis implodes in the game’s biggest moment
Wade Davis has been the epitome of a nail-biting closer for Bud Black and company this year. After converting a league-leading 43 saves in his first year with the club, things have gotten choppy.
The earned run average for the club’s premier reliever was at a pristine 2.13 prior to his latest blunder, but the traffic has been everpresent.
In the blown opportunity, Davis allowed a single and two walks to load the bases after getting the first out of the inning. The second walk came to the Padres’ Austin Allen who was in the midst of his first plate appearance in the bigs.
Greg Garcia put the visitors ahead with a grounder to Garrett Hampson that the youngster tried to throw home, falling woefully short of cutting down the game-clinching runner.
While the play was foolhardy by the youthful second baseman, the traffic was hardly his fault and further elevated Davis’ walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP) to 1.537, the second-highest mark of his career.
Coors Field hosts a pitching duel
A year ago, Jon Gray and Joey Lucchesi engaging in a pitcher’s duel was something that would only happen in a dream. In 2019, the fallacy became reality.
From the game’s onset, both Gray and Lucchesi had their punchout pitches working. The two combined for 11 strikeouts in just the first three innings. For the former, his lesser-used curveball played a large role, accounting for four of his first seven whiffs.
After a first-inning double and walk, Luchessi went on to retire 12 consecutive Rockies’ hitters before Tony Wolters broke up the slump with a single. The hit extended Wolters’ hitting streak to six games.
In the end, the starter of the hosting Rockies twirled six innings, allowed three runs and struck out eight. The quality start was the first for the club since April 24th, a streak (13 games) that was one of the five longest in franchise history prior to Gray’s outing.
Opposing him, Lucchesi found a bounty of success, striking out four across 5.1 one-run frames. The funky left-hander only allowed three hits and his lone earned run came after he’d already departed the game in the sixth.
Chuck’s reign continues
The struggles for Charlie Blackmon are merely a distant memory as the Rockies outfielder is looking like he’s returned to his former self.
In 2017, Blackmon finished fifth in National League Most Valuable Player voting behind 37 home runs and a league-leading 213 hits. Though his latest streak hasn’t yielded quite the same astronomical results, he’s hit .368 in the month of May.
For his third home run of the month, Blackmon went over the right-field scoreboard:
That ball is gone and this game is TIED! pic.twitter.com/s39kEK0WDD
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 12, 2019
To begin the year, Blackmon went a career-long 81 at-bats without a home run. Since then, he has six, including a walk-off shot to end the streak. His most recent homer was the first game-tying shot of his career in the eighth inning or later.
As the production from Blackmon has increased, the Rockies offense has risen to the top of the field in the NL. In the month of May, they’ve scored the most runs in the league (72) and managed to overcome a rotation that’s allowed the most earned runs.
A new mindset at the plate has Wolters soaring
It didn’t take a high leg kick or completely re-designed stance to get Wolters going. All it took was a more “quiet” approach, a change that has his career arc pointing upwards.
The backstop went 2-for-3 in the Rockies latest contest including a run-scoring single in the seventh inning. The two hits brought Wolters’ average up to .304 on the year, the fourth-best mark across the majors for a catcher.
In true two-way fashion, Wolters also threw out another runner to get Gray out of trouble in the third stanza:
Say it with us now…
Don't. Dash. On. The. 'Stache. pic.twitter.com/PF658CKFwM
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 12, 2019
Wolters has now caught six of the 15 runners that have attempted to steal on him. J.T. Realmuto’s mark of 16 easily leads the league, but with a bat to support his efforts, the Rockies will happily take the contributions of their young catcher.