Friday night was slated to be a game of intriguing match ups between the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Nationals. For six innings, that is exactly what viewers got. Tyler Chatwood and Stephen Strasburg were the marque match-up of the game and the match-up did not disappoint as both hurlers were on their game.
And Colorado really needed the solid effort from Chatwood. It got more than just a solid effort – Chatwood was dominating.
Next was the defensive display of Gold Glove candidates Nolan Arenado and Ryan Zimmerman. That too was just as advertised, with each trying to one up the other with great plays from the corner.
Five games in to the current road stand, the Rockies would finally lead for the first time since leaving Coors Field, scoring one in the third inning. The Nationals would counter with a Zimmerman RBI double in the sixth.
Chatwood would finish the sixth inning, and then his night was over. Walt Weiss sticking ever faithful to the Rockies pitch count model brought in Manny Corpas who surrendered the winning run – an Ian Desmond solo shot – with his third pitch.
The reasoning for the Rockies’ pitch count model is to preserve pitching for later in the season, I get that. But one would believe there has to be some situations where game circumstances and common sense preempts a predetermined pitch count – and one would think Friday was an obvious example. Plus, fresh arms are irrelevant if you’re not in a pennant race later in the season.
With their fifth consecutive loss Friday, the Rockies dipped below .500 for the first time since their opening day loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. They have dropped to fourth place in the NL West less than a week after being in second place merely a half game back. In the nine games since Tulo’s injury, the Rockies have lost seven.
The season may not yet be in full-blown crisis mode, but it’s certainly close. Troy Tulowitzki and Rafael Bentancourt remain on the DL and Dexter Fowler is toughing out his current hand injuries, but shows obvious signs of the pain he is in.
The frustrating road trip continues early Saturday for the Rockies. Jhoulys Chacin who was one out from a complete game shut out in his last appearance returns to the mound for Colorado.
Something has to give for the Rockies. This team needs to catch a break – somehow, some way.