The Colorado Rockies managed to sneak out a 1-0 victory in 11 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon.
Those Rockies (3-4) now head home to the Mile High City with some momentum prior to their home opener versus the dreaded Los Angeles Dodgers, Friday.
Ahead are the takeaways from the final contest of the Rockies’ opening stretch of road games to start the 2019 season.
Chirs Iannetta plays hero
Chris Iannetta was the hero of the game for the Rockies Wednesday when he blasted a go-ahead home run in the 11th inning. That lifted Colorado past Tampa Bay, ending their seven-game road trip on a sweet note.
— Brandon Ewing (@B_Skip17) April 3, 2019
Hasta la vista, Florida!
Thankfully, that lengthy, seven-game road trip in Florida has come to an end. Colorado finished the opening roadie with a disappointing 3-4 record following back-to-back wins versus the Miami Marlins to start the season.
After a frustrating end to the Rockies’ series in Miami, the club headed north for a three-game set against the Rays. Tampa Bay kept the Rockies’ offense guessing, holding them to just two runs in the trio of games.
The Rockies have struggled historically in the state of Florida, owning sub-.500 records against both the Marlins and Rays on their home turf.
The recent series against the Rays was the first time Colorado played in St. Petersburg since 2004. The Rockies are 10-11 all-time against the Rays and Wednesday’s victory was the club’s first at Tropicana Field in franchise history.
Mo’ money, no problems
German Marquez is an absolute stud. Wednesday’s start was the first time Marquez faced off against the team that signed him as an amateur free agent.
A day removed from agreeing to a reported five-year, $43 million contract extension with the Rockies, Marquez dazzled on the mound for Colorado, hurling seven innings of shutout baseball to keep his club in position to salvage the final game of the series against Tampa.
Marquez logged seven innings, allowing just three hits while fanning seven batters. He ended his outing in style, working out of a bases-loaded jam with one out. The 24-year-old punched out Mike Zunino for the second out, which was followed by a sigh of relief. Thst came when third basemen Nolan Arenado made a fantastic play on a bunt to get Willy Adames out by a half a step, preserving Marquez’ outing and a scoreless ballgame.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 3, 2019
Marquez is 1-0 this season with a delightful earned run average of 0.96.
The offense continues to struggle
Despite securing the victory Wednesday thanks to an 11th inning solo home run off the bat of Iannetta, the Rockies offense collectively has struggled to get going this season.
Colorado’s difficulties at the plate this season carried over into Wednesday’s game as the Rockies were unable to generate anything of substance on the base paths.
The biggest struggle for the Rockies’ at the plate has been their situational hitting. Colorado was 9-25 with runners in scoring position through their first two games, but following the series in Tampa, the club is just 3-19 in those situations, compiling a .157 batting average.
Rockies’ play-by-play announcer Drew Goodman provided an interesting tidbit of information during Wednesday’s broadcast, noting that the Rockies have a swing rate of 51% this season which is the highest in baseball. Also, the Rockies have a 69% contact rate which ranks in the bottom third of the league.
Wednesday’s game was especially frustrating for the Rockies considering they managed to get the leadoff batter on in the second through fifth innings and were unable to produce any runs with the opportunities.
Additionally, the Rockies logged double-digit strikeouts in every game versusthe Rays, including 13 in the win.