Rockies return home, take care of business vs. Cubs

Aug 5, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies improved to 35-21 at Coors Field after taking two of three from the Chicago Cubs in Denver this week.

Colorado, after a long road swing, returned home in a big way on Tuesday, putting a baker’s dozen on the board in a 13-6 victory. Elias Diaz hit a grand slam and Sam Hilliard added a three-run homer in support of Kyle Freeland, who allowed a pair of runs in five innings before exiting the game as a result of being hit by a comebacker. Freeland isn’t in danger of missing his next start.

The Rockies lost a very “that’s baseball” game on Wednesday, when Raimel Tapia narrowly missed catching a classic Coors Field flyball—it came off the bat at just 91 mph and had an expected batting average of .030, but it carried all the way to the left-field wall—by Cubs infielder Patrick Wisdom that resulted in a bases-clearing double. Meanwhile, the Rockies went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and grounded into four double plays in a 3-2 loss. Jon Gray finished with a quality start, allowing just those three aforementioned runs while striking out six and walking only one in six innings.

Colorado bounced back in the finale on Thursday, using a pair of homers off the bat of Trevor Story and long balls by Hilliard and Connor Joe to get past the Cubs, 6-5. Chicago dink and dunked its way out of a 4-0 hole to tie the game against Rox starter Antonio Senzatela, who gave up four runs but tallied six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings in his return from a COVID-induced stint on the injured list.

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Story is getting some things figured out during a generally rough season that has included frustration over the way the Rockies handled his involvement in trade talks, though manager Bud Black—in an interview on MLB Network Radio on Thursday—downplayed that whole situation. Story, since sitting out on July 30, is 7-for-19 with five extra-base hits, good for a .368/.429/.842 line.

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Charlie Blackmon is the only regular in the Rockies’ lineup who didn’t hit well during the Cubs series. Blackmon since Aug. 1 is just 1-for-13 at the plate. He was pretty good in July, though, posting an even .800 OPS. But even then, his power never really emerged, an issue that has plagued the 35-year-old outfielder all season. Blackmon’s .386 slugging percentage is his lowest since his rookie season in 2011, when he hit .255/.277/.296 in limited duty.

Up next

Coors Field over the next few days will feel a little more like home than it did with the Cubs and their, let’s call it “boisterous,” fanbase when the 47-62 Miami Marlins come to town for a three-game set starting Friday. Germán Márquez, Austin Gomber, and Kyle Freeland will take the mound for the Rockies, who have a chance to get back to within 10 games of .500 overall if all goes super well.