Rockies get swept again
The Rockies must be relieved that interleague play is over. After getting swept early in the week by Kansas City, Detroit took out the brooms against Colorado over the weekend.
On Friday, Ubaldo Jimenez was up to his inconsistent ways. Just one start after going eight strong innings in a win against the Mets, he tied his shortest outing of the season by lasting just four innings. He gave up four runs on nine hits while walking three. The bullpen did not fare much better, giving up three runs in four innings of their own.
The lone run for the Rockies came in the 7th when Jeff Baker drove in his 23 rd run of the year. It was not near enough, however as the Tigers won 7-1. The loss was Ubaldo Jimenez’ 8th of the year and 3rd this month alone. With Jason Hirsch just about ready to make his return to the Rockies, Jimenez’ days in Denver may be numbered.
On to Saturday, this was a wild night in Motown. After the Tigers went up 5-0 after four innings, the Rockies scratched across one run in both the 5 th and 6 th inning. Fans had to wait until the final frame for some significant offense, but it was worth the wait. Detroit closer Todd Jones got touched up for four runs in the top half of the 9 th, blowing a save for the first time this year.
Now the Rockies were the team looking to close out a victory, but unfortunately for Colorado, their closer is a little bit more prone to blowing saves. Brian Fuentes did just that. With two men on and only one out, Miguel Cabrera hit a double to bring in the tying and winning runs. The blown save was Fuentes’ 4th this year.
One of the storylines in this series was the return of Jason Grilli. On his way out of Detroit earlier this year, he said that his former team had a lack of chemistry. Even though he said later that he did not mean anything negative by the comments, he was booed mercilessly when he came into Saturday’s game in the 7th inning.
If he was talking smack, that is pretty weak smack for Tigers fans to get so mad about. It all evens out I guess because Rockies fans boo Eric Byrnes every time he steps to the plate in Coors Field and all he said was that he thought the Diamondbacks were beating themselves in last year’s NLCS, but I digress.
Sunday was the last chance for the Rockies to save face and end interleague play on a good note. It was a youth versus experience pitching matchup as Greg Reynolds took the mound for the Rockies and Kenny Rogers opposed him for the Tigers.
Both pitchers were effective for the most part despite early troubles. Reynolds was touched up for a couple of runs in the 1st inning, but he was picked up by his shortstop. Troy Tulowitzki hit his 2nd home run of the year in a 3-run 2 nd inning for Colorado.
Both pitchers settled down for the next couple of innings. However, Reynolds ran into some more trouble in the 6 th. He allowed two runners to reach base before being yanked. Matt Herges was brought in to try and bail his starter out. Suffice to say, he did not. Dane Sardinha got his 1st major league hit which was a triple that brought in both runs.
That was it for the scoring as the Tigers walked away with a 4-3 victory and a series sweep. The Rockies have now lost 7 in-a-row and 8 of their last 9. There may be better days ahead, though. Colorado will now return home to take on the equally struggling Padres, who have lost 8 in-a-row and 12 of their last 13.
My how things change. The last time these two teams faced each other in Denver; it was the 163 rd game of last season. The Rockies were able to beat San Diego and move on to the playoffs and eventually the World Series. Now they are the worst two teams in the NL West and are a combined 37 games under .500.
This series will be a great opportunity for the Rockies to separate themselves from the bottom of the division and get back into the thick of the division race. The first game of the series on Monday will pit Jorge de la Rosa (2-4, 6.23 ERA) against Greg Maddux (3-6, 3.52 ERA). The last time Maddux faced the Rockies, he notched his 350 th win of his career.
Historically though, the Rockies fare very well against the hall-of-famer, especially the heart of their order. Matt Holliday bats .333 with 2 home runs against him and Todd Helton is a career .346 hitter against Maddux. No one has owned “Mad Dog” more than Garrett Atkins. He has hit a ridiculous .462 with 2 home runs against Maddux.
Staff-ace Aaron Cook (10-5, 3.64 ERA) will take the hill in Game 2 on Tuesday. He has dropped his last two decisions and will look to get even with Brandon Webb for the league-lead in wins. He will be opposed by Josh Banks (2-2, 2.33 ERA) who has been San Diego’s most dependable pitcher despite being a waiver pick-up.
Ubaldo Jimenez (2-8, 4.71 ERA) will be back on the bump in the series finale on Wednesday. Randy Wolf (5-7, 4.13 ERA) will get the nod for the Padres. The last time Wolf faced the Rockies, he gave up one hit over seven innings on April 15th for his first win in a Padres uni.
With two weeks remaining until the All-Star break, the Rockies need a strong showing against a weaker opponent to start what they hope will be a strong finish to the unofficial first half of the season.
By Ryan Kaufman
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