All good things come to an end, as do the bad. For the Colorado Rockies, Charlie Blackmon’s homerless streak to begin the year ended under the Friday night lights in a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The win was the second extra-inning win in three tries for the Rockies, courtesy of a 444-foot home run by their leadoff man, his second career game-ending long ball.
Ahead are the takeaways from the late-night walk-off effort.
Blackmon finds his power stroke
To begin 2019, Nolan Arenado went a personal record, 61 at-bats, before he parked his first ball in the seats. For Charlie Blackmon, that streak has yet to end.
Through 81 at-bats, including his absence of a long ball in the team’s first 11 innings of their win, Blackmon had yet to leave the ballpark. That was until he ended the game, overshadowing a wayward shift in the half inning prior:
CHARLIE BLACKMON BANGGGGGGG BANG BANG BANG 💣💣💣💣💣 pic.twitter.com/ObEipc6InY
— Buzz🐝™ (@AlexBussard24) April 20, 2019
Known for his power in the leadoff spot, Blackmon has tallied double-digit homers in each of the past five campaigns, topping 28 three times.
Along with his lack of home runs, Blackmon’s hard-hit percentage has dropped to its lowest point since 2015. His exit velocity has dropped to a career-worst mark as well.
The one consistent for Blackmon has been his launch angle, signaling that with proper timing, the outfield exits should come, with Friday night possibly signaling an upcoming outburst.
Rockies bring the boom when it counts
The rally began with a Trevor Story home run to the concourse:
— Today in MLB (@TodayintheMLB) April 20, 2019
After Ian Desmond’s subsequent double, the Rockies offense began to roll, chasing Vince Velasquez out of the ball game, leaving the relievers to stop their momentum. A Garrett Hampson shattered-bat double, at only 64.4 miles per hour off the bat, tied the game at two.
The two-run inning proved to be their lone glimpse of hope in the contest until the final inning as they failed to register a hit for over the next five innings.
Blackmon’s blast to centerfield ensured their efforts weren’t all for naught.
While the beginning of the season left more questions than answers, the Rockies latest streak has brought life back into their offense. During their five-game winning streak, they’ve registered 27 runs, outscoring their opponents by 18.
Marquez’ luck finally runs out
German Marquez has entered the ranks of the elite in the National League among pitchers, following up a breakout second half with early dominance in 2019. Part of that success has come down to luck.
Marquez’ batting average on balls in play (BABIP) prior to his fifth start of the year was .156, an uncommonly low figure. In his career, that number rises to .307. Against the Phillies, the former tally took a toll.
In just the first inning, three of the four balls put in play were 85.1 miles per hour off the bat or lower. Two of those were seeing-eye singles. Another broken-bat single in the second inning by Maikel Franco added to the struggles.
While Marquez still managed to go five innings, allowing two earned runs. His BABIP was .556 in the game, a far cry from his minuscule sum prior to the bout. To make matters worse, Marquez was battling an infected molar on the left side of his mouth that affected his sleep the night prior and through the duration of his start.
As far as the Rockies are concerned, Marquez’ ability to get out of a jam proved vital in the contest, a calling card for his recent outburst. The spree of good fortune at the year’s onset was guaranteed to have an expiration date.
Joe West’s performance goes south
Umpires are seldom to blame for losses given the length of major league games. There are often far too many pitches and plays in a game for a true impact from an official. Crew Chief Joe West has seen better days though.
Early on, the high and inside part of the strike zone was neglected. With the movement on today’s fastballs, it’s never been harder to judge them on the corners. The final pitch chart for the starters shows that those pitches weren’t the only culprits:
Velasquez’ luck was no better:
The result of the game hinged far more on slumbering bats for each side than any umpire, but it can be chalked up as a rough night nonetheless.