Rockies get swept in KC
Interleague play is full of surprises. Coming into their series with Kansas City, the Rockies were 5-1 against two of the better teams in the AL Central. They took two of three in Chicago against the White Sox and swept the Cleveland Indians. So you would assume that they would have no problem against the lowly Royals. Well, you know what happens when you assume.
The Royals swept the 3-game series and kept the Rockies sliding. In the opening game of the series on Monday, Kansas City scored four runs in the bottom of the 1st against Jeff Francis. The Rockies left-hander gave up a total of seven runs in just 4 1/3 innings. The outing was his shortest in his last 10 games.
The lone bright spot for Colorado was Matt Holliday, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and 2 RBIs. It was not enough as the Rockies fell 8-4. The loss dropped Francis to 3-7 on the season.
On Tuesday, the Rockies got a rare strong start from Jorge de la Rosa. He did not surrender a hit until the 4th inning, but it would come undone from there. De la Rosa did not get out of the 5th inning after giving up four runs. However, only two of them were earned because the Rockies committed two errors behind him.
Matt Holliday continued his power surge with his 10th home run of the year in the 7-3 loss. After the game, Holliday’s batting average reached .328 which puts him 4 th in the National League.
Getaway day would be the most interesting game of the series. Getting the start for the Royals was Luke Hochevar. Hochevar is a former #1 overall pick and a Colorado native. He said before the game that he was battling nerves pitching against the team that he grew up rooting for in Fowler where he was a 3-time All-State pitcher.
He was the real-deal in high school (I should know, I went hitless against him in my less-than-illustrious high school baseball career), and he was the real-deal on Wednesday. He went 8 strong innings, his longest outing of his career, while giving up just two runs and striking out three.
Rockies ace Aaron Cook was denied his 11th win of the year, which would have tied him with Brandon Webb for the league lead. With the loss, the Rockies dropped to 14 games under .500. Colorado is now 8 games back in the NL West after losing their 4th game in-a-row.
Colorado will now wrap up the first round of interleague play in Detroit. The big storyline in this series will be reliever Jason Grilli’s return to the Motor City. On his way out of Detroit in a late April trade, he has some disparaging words about his former teammates. He said the team lacked chemistry which prompted some even more negative remarks coming from Tigers skipper Jim Leyland about his former pitcher.
Grilli has insisted since then that he did not mean anything negative in his remarks and says that he enjoyed his time in Motown. The series starts on Friday with a 5:05pm Mountain Time start. In the series opener, Ubaldo Jimenez (2-7, 4.52) will get the nod. Jimenez has been inconsistent most of this year, but even when he pitches well he gets a lack of run support. He is coming off of an 8-inning start in a win against the Mets on Saturday. He will be opposed by Eddie Bonine (1-0, 5.84 ERA), who is making just his 3 rd Major League start.
This Saturday’s game will feature two pitchers who have not lived up to expectations this year. Jeff Francis (3-7, 5.65 ERA) will take the mound for the Rockies. He is just two losses away from tying his total from last season. Justin Verlander (4-9, 4.49 ERA) will oppose Francis. Verlander has already eclipsed his loss total from last season and a loss on Saturday would give him the most losses for a single season in his short career.
The final game of the 3-game set will be a youth vs. experience match-up. Greg Reynolds (2-5, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Colorado. He will be opposed by the crafty lefty Kenny Rogers (5-5, 4.60 ERA).
This series will be a golden opportunity for the Rockies to take advantage of an underachieving Tigers team and end the first go-round of interleague play on a high-note headed into July.
By Ryan Kaufman
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