Rockies lose series to lowly D-backs to end 2021 season

Oct 3, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Josh VanMeter (19) crosses home plate after hitting a walk-off home run against the Colorado Rockies during the ninth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Josh VanMeter entered the final day of the 2021 season hitting just .208/.297/.354 with only five homers in 305 plate appearances, and the D-backs themselves had 110 losses and were in danger of losing their 50th game in their own ballpark.

But, as 2021 would have it, none of that mattered with the Road Colorado Rockies in town.

VanMeter hit a walk-off home run off of Rockies closer Carlos Estévez on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth inning on Sunday to give Arizona a 5-4 victory that gave the team a series victory to end a tumultuous season. For the Rockies, it was their 54th road loss of 2021, and their third road series loss against the D-backs, who took seven of 10 overall from the Rockies in Phoenix this season.

The finale was a bullpen day for the Rockies, and none of the relievers pitched particularly well, though Ashton Goudeau worked around a pair of walks to put up three scoreless innings to start the game. Brendan Rodgers led the offense with two hits, including an RBI triple, but Colorado went just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position en route to blowing a 4-1 lead in the late innings.

The Rockies got smoked on Saturday in a rare–as of late, anyway–poor outing from starter Antonio Senzatela, who allowed six runs on six hits and two walks in just two-thirds of an inning. Sam Hilliard and Dom Nuñez hit solo homers, but the Rockies’ offense did little else in an 11-2 drubbing.

Colorado kicked off the series in dramatic fashion by overcoming a 7-0 deficit in a thrilling 9-7 win. Jon Gray allowed seven runs, including three homers, in the third inning alone, but the Rockies countered with six runs of their own in the top of the sixth. Hilliard delivered the big blow with a three-run shot to get his team to within a run. Nuñez tied the game in the top of the ninth with a solo homer. The Rockies took the lead on an RBI single from Trevor Story and picked up an insurance run on C.J. Cron’s run-scoring groundout. The Rockies’ bullpen was sterling in the opener, striking out nine batters while allowing only three baserunners in five innings.

The Rockies finished 74-87, good for fourth place in the National League West. The division saw two teams reach the postseason; the San Francisco Giants finished atop the standings with 107 wins, while the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to win the National League Wild Card Game to advance in the postseason despite winning 106 games.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll review the Rockies’ season position by position and try to decipher what the team can do to improve at each spot. Stay tuned to Mile High Sports for that series, and thank you for following along with us throughout the season.