When one thing goes right for the Colorado Rockies, another seems to go awry. Searching for consistency from all three units, their efforts failed again Wednesday night.
In the 4-2 loss, the Rockies’ bullpen held the Astros scoreless. While the hopes of a comeback victory were extended by the relievers, the offense failed to come through. The losing effort was the team’s third in a row.
Ahead are takeaways from the loss.
Miley’s missteps result in little damage
The Rockies’ chances against opposing starter, Wade Miley, were immense. Even in the first inning, the club was given multiple gifts.
To start the contest, both Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story walked. Of his 26 pitches in the first frame, Miley threw a mere 11 strikes. His mistakes failed to result in much run support for youngster Peter Lambert.
Nolan Arenado popped out on a 3-0 count, David Dahl popped up on a first-pitch cutter and Daniel Murphy followed suit. Rendered completely ineffective by a lack of control, the Rockies let Miley off the hook, tallying only a single run through the turmoil.
The same sentiment rang true in the third as well as Miley allowed a pair of baserunners to reach with only one out. Instead of cutting into the Astros’ 4-1 lead, the Rockies struck out and grounded out to end the threat.
In all, Miley threw 108 pitches and only 64 strikes, limiting the Rockies to only one run. They left six runners on base against the veteran, failing to come through when the moments were biggest.
Lambert struggles abnormally with free passes
No Rockies’ starter has walked fewer batters on average than Peter Lambert. With a walk rate of only 3.6 percent, he leads the team by a wide margin. On Wednesday, that tally took a hit.
Plagued by a similar lack of control as Miley, Lambert consistently missed the zone. Of his three walks, two came from Alex Bregman after the All-Star took him deep in his first at-bat of the game.
Of the 81 pitches that Lambert threw, only 50 were for strikes, good for a 61.7 strike percentage. Even a pair of pitches that were strikes – an inside fastball to Bregman and hanging curveball to Yuli Gurriel – were taken deep.
The biggest blemish came after a pair of walks with two outs in the third. After a Gurriel single loaded the bases, Josh Reddick came through with a double over the head of Ian Desmond. Though it was smoked 101.5 miles per hour of the bat, a misplay by Desmond was the story.
On the hit, the line drive was deemed a routine play by Statcast:
The catch probability on that double by Josh Reddick over Ian Desmond's head was 99% 😬 He needed to go 46ft in 4.6 seconds
— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 4, 2019
The back-breaking double left Lambert’s final line at five hits and four earned runs allowed in five innings, bringing his season earned run average to 6.67.
After a pair of one-run starts to begin his major league career, Lambert has allowed three-or-more in each of his last four starts. In that span, his ERA is 10.19.
Rockies’ offense saves fireworks for postgame
Not having to face Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole in their two games against the Astros was a godsend for the Rockies. Despite their good fortunes, the club’s bats in the sweep-clinching loss were absent.
Outside of Charlie Blackmon’s 2-for-3 night, the Rockies’ pillars fell. Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and David Dahl combined to go 1-for-11 in the contest, combining to leave 11 runners on base.
The two runs scored in the game for the Rockies are tied for the lowest total in their last 10 home games.
Adding insult to injury was a solid night from the bullpen. In recent weeks, the Rockies’ battered core of relievers has blown multiple leads, going 0-5 with a 9.84 ERA in their last 10 games before the most recent loss.
Chad Bettis, Jairo Diaz and Wade Davis combined to go four scoreless frames after a so-so outing from Lambert. The trio only allowed one hit in their four innings of work.
The quality showings from the Rockies bullpen have become rarer as the year has stretched on. Wasting a chance to split a series with an American League powerhouse like the Astros is bad. Doing so when the bullpen comes through is even worse.