The Rockies’ ugly slide continued Thursday night as an avalanche of walks continued to bury them.
Clinging to a 5-3 lead, the Rockies watched it all fall apart when their bullpen collapsed in the seventh inning in a 7-5 loss to Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
Colorado (3-10) went 0-for-6 on its West Coast road trip, getting swept in San Francisco and then in Los Angeles.
Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy struck the winning blow, smashing a three-run homer off reliever Yency Almonte to give L.A. a 6-5 lead. But Almonte’s mistake wasn’t just leaving a 2-0 changeup over the middle to Muncy, he also issued two walks to set up Muncy’s hero moment.
And the Rockies still weren’t finished handing out freebies. Tyler Kinley gave up singles to Will Smith and AJ Pollock before walking Edwin Rios to load the bases. Enter Carlos Estevez, who uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Smith to score.
The latest loss left manager Bud Black searching for solutions to all of the walks. As a staff, Colorado has walked 66 batters, the most in the majors.
“There’s a number of reasons, right?” he said. “Whether a guy’s out of whack, mechanically. Whether he’s trying to overthrow the ball. Whether he’s trying to be too fine. Maybe trying to be a little bit defensive instead of offensive — not attacking the zone enough.
“There are a lot of things that go into this, but it’s very unsettling. We have to throw more strikes, we have to throw more quality strikes.”
The Rockies wasted an excellent start by lefty Austin Gomber, who unleashed his big curveball. Over six innings, he gave up three runs on six hits with only two walks. He struck out seven. Justin Turner’s three-run homer in the third jolted Gomber, but only momentarily.
Gomber lasted just three innings and walked seven against the Dodgers on April 4 at Coors Field. Obviously, he pitched much better Thursday night. And he changed his plan of attack.
“I felt like last time I didn’t really establish anything — fastball, curveball, slider, changeup, nothing,” he said. “So today, I just wanted to come in and just establish something. Establish, first off, getting in the strike zone, and then establish a secondary pitch.”
Apart from the home run given up to Turner, and a walk that preceded it, Black was happy with Gomber’s start.
“He threw the ball very well,” Black said. “Again, the mix of pitches is something I think we’re going to see from him as we move forward. Tonight, I thought the curveball was very solid. The fastball had life.”
Stringing hits together has been more desire than reality for the Rockies for much of this season, but they did it well in a three-run sixth to take a 5-3 lead.
Ryan McMahon, Colorado’s best player in the early going, hit a one-out double off L.A. lefty Julio Urias and scored on C.J. Cron’s single. Josh Fuentes rapped out an infield single before Yonathan Daza looped a single to right, where Zach McKinstry bobbled the ball and then threw wildly home as Cron and Fuentes scored.
In the first, McMahon jumped on a first-pitch curveball from Urias for a solo home run to right giving Colorado a 1-0 lead. McMahon, batting .306, has hit six home runs in 13 games. Two of his six homers have come against the Dodgers and he’s hit safely in five of the seven games against them.
Garrett Hampson extended Colorado’s lead to 2-0 on the third, hitting a 3-2 fastball from Urias over the left-center field wall for his first homer of the season.
Colorado’s lead didn’t last long. In the bottom of the frame, Urias blooped a hit to shallow center and Chris Taylor coaxed a walk from Gomber. Turner — who finished the night a triple shy of the cycle — waylaid Gomber’s first-pitch curveball for a three-run homer. The pitch was low in the zone and Gomber didn’t think it was a bad pitch but thought that Turner might have been “sitting on it.”
The Rockies return home on Friday to open a three-game series against the Mets at Coors Field, weather permitting. Snow and cold are in the forecast.
With their 7-5 loss to the Dodgers Thursday night, the Rockies are in a bad place:
- Their 3-10 record is tied with the 2005 club for the worst start in franchise history after 13 games. The ’05 team finished 67-95.
- Finished the road trip 0-6, marking just the seventh time in franchise history they have had an 0-6 road trip (or worse). The last time they had an 0-6 trip was in 2014 against the New York Mets and St. Louis.
- Since Sept. 9, 2018, the Rockies have lost 33 of 41 games against the Dodgers and have lost 19 of their last 22 at Dodger Stadium.
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