Rockies’ lead evaporates as bullpen tumbles against Diamondbacks

Aug 12, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly (18) watches his go ahead solo home run in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what study you read, there’s a general consensus among scientists that over 60 percent of people experience recurring dreams. For the Colorado Rockies, that illusion has turned to a constant nightmare that is all too real.

On multiple nights in 2019, the club has found a way to capture a lead, only to have it blown by various pitchers in their stable of starters and relievers.

Once again, in front of a non-contending size crowd of 32,160, the Rockies fell prey to a staff that’s commonly dealt with inadequacy. As a whole, their earned run average ballooned to a league-worst 5.57 in the 8-6 loss.

In games where the Rockies have scored six-or-more runs this year, they’re merely 9-7. Last season, in the same circumstance, they were 13-2. The blown lead was their 26th of the year.

Ahead are takeaways from the defeat.

Bullpen blows another lead, sinks Rockies’ chances

It’s an all-too-familiar fate for the Rockies. Garner a lead, pull a starting pitcher and watch that margin simply evaporate.

The opening culprit of the collapse was Jake McGee. Quietly, he entered the matchup with a 3.13 ERA – over three runs lower than his season ERA (6.49) in 2018. Despite the newfound success, his night was one to forget.

Of the three batters that McGee faced, each recorded a hit, with two of the hits leaving the park. It was only the second time this year that the southpaw has allowed multiple runs in an appearance.

With the game tied 6-6 after McGee’s blunder, Chad Bettis was tasked with holding the tie. Instead, he allowed a leadoff home run on a curveball that refused to leave the middle of the zone:

It was the fifth home run allowed by Bettis in only his last 14.1 innings after allowing the same amount in his previous 48.1 innings. The appearance brought his ERA to an unsightly 5.89 on the year.

The three home runs added to the bullpen’s total of 70 on the year, a mark that sits in the bottom half of the league. Their 5.22 ERA – including the loss – is second-worst in the NL.

Wild inning dooms Lambert after a solid start 

Through two innings, Peter Lambert didn’t allow a single baserunner in the Rockies’ latest loss. Across the first three frames, he allowed only a single run and two hits.

Once the fourth stanza came around, Lambert hit a self-imposed rough patch.

Each of the first three hitters walked, all on a full count. Between the trio, Lambert amassed 19 pitches. A double play and strikeout of Merrill Kelly ensured that the inning never truly got out of hand – though he still allowed a pair of runs on only one hit.

The inning was the biggest blemish on a night that was simply uneven for Lambert. He only needed 17 combined pitches to get through the first six outs. For the next six, he needed 45. In all, he threw 74 pitches across five, three-run frames in which he walked five and struck out one.

Of his 12 starts, Lambert has allowed multiple runs in all but his first two against the Cubs. In eight of them, including his latest nod, he’s allowed three-or-more.

Lambert’s season earned run average sits at 6.75, though a demotion is likely out of the question. The franchise simply has no better option than letting the rookie endure the difficulties of the majors.

Story breaks free from hitless streak against Kelly

In the few times Trevor Story faced Merrill Kelly, before their latest interaction, the latter had a stern upper hand. After an 0-for-6 start against the 30-year-old rookie, the Rockies’ shortstop turned things around.

On just the second pitch of his inaugural at-bat in the game, he lined a double to left field, followed up by a hustle double just an inning later. The two extra-base hits represented his 62nd and 63rd of the year, merely a portion of his top-10 mark in the National League.

Extending his spree against Kelly, Story nailed a 437-foot, solo home run to push the club’s lead to two:

The long ball was Story’s 27th of the year and 115th of his career in only three-plus seasons. Among Rockies’ shortstops, he’s already second in franchise history behind only Troy Tulowitzki (188). He also tied Ellis Burks for 12th among all positions.

At his current pace, Story will catch the franchise’s former pillar before his first contract expires.

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