This is turning into a troubling case of deja vu. In back-to-back-to-back games, the Colorado Rockies were stuck on two runs in the ninth inning versus the Houston Astros. In back-to-back-to-back games, the Rockies had opportunities for more.
Fortunately, two was enough on Tuesday night, but it wouldn’t be the case on Wednesday as the usually reliable bullpen gave up four runs in the eighth and ninth innings combined to Houston.
One may think that the biggest issue is dropping two games to a less than sub-par team in Houston, but that isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, the Rockies’ schedule was tailor-made for them to pad the win column following a brutal showdown with the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks. Losing two of three to Houston is a tough pill to swallow.
But, the bigger issue has to be the burden the series has had on the Colorado bullpen. This is a bullpen that has far overachieved preseason expectations. The last thing the Rockies want to do is put unnecessary dents in that armor.
Yet, that is exactly what has happened.
On Wednesday, the wear and tear required a roster move for the Rockies, sending temporary Michael Cuddyer fill-in Charlie Blackmon back to Colorado Springs to make room for Rob Scahill. The bullpen has been solid, and if that changes, the Rockies’ season drastically changes.
That said, this is Colorado, where the fan base is known for their consistent glass-half-full attitudes. With that in mind, the positive of the night was another solid performance by RHP Tyler Chatwood, who dominated in six innings, surrendering two runs on four hits, striking out 10 Astros hitters. Just when you think the kid cannot get any better – he does.
And, in all fairness to the Rockies offense, the box score is not exactly indicative of the hitting in each game versus Houston. Colorado has hit the ball hard in all three games — they just seem to be struggling in their ability to find gaps. This is certainly not the offensive slump the team struggled through earlier in the month. They have just been a bit snake-bitten.
The Rockies will finish the four-game series with Houston on Thursday, then they welcome “Donnie Ballgame” and the Los Angeles Dodgers for a weekend series. The Rockies had their way with the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and they will need the same success this weekend in Colorado if they hope to stay within striking distance of Arizona and San Francisco.