Major League Baseball’s Wild West Show ran for two days and two nights at Coors Field over the weekend as the Rockies and the San Diego Padres mounted repeated offensive attacks, scoring a combined 92 runs.
This set a new major league record for runs scored in a four-game series. The Rockies survived with wins in two of these shootouts. Earlier in the week, they had taken two of three games from the visiting Chicago Cubs. So when the smoke had cleared, they had won 4 of 7 games.
The battle with the Padres began on Thursday night as the Rockies won 9-6 with starter Jon Gray allowing 4 runs in 6 innings. There was a hint of trouble as the bullpen leaked 2 runs in the last three innings, including a run allowed by closer Wade Davis in the ninth.
Jeff Hoffman started Friday night’s matchup with a steady 5 innings of work in which he allowed only 1 run. He left with the Rockies leading 4-1. The Padres picked up 2 runs in the top of the sixth inning but the Rockies fired back in the bottom of the inning scoring 5 runs, including an Ian Desmond inside the park 3-run homer. This built what seemed to be a comfortable 9-3 lead. That was when the trouble, and the fireworks, began. The Padres scored 8 runs in the next three innings including 6 runs in the ninth which sent the game into extra innings. The Rockies bullpen were unable to put out the fire and the Padres grabbed a 16-12 win in a 12 inning game that sizzled with a combined 39 hits.
German Marquez delivered a disappointing start in Saturday night’s game allowing 7 runs in 5.2 innings. Fortunately, this time the Rockies had launched their fireworks early including a 4-run fifth inning powered by an Ian Desmond grand slam. This show ended in a 14-8 Rockies win. It was another slugfest with a combined 32 hits.
In the finale on Sunday, rookie starter Peter Lambert was overwhelmed. He was burned for 8 runs in 3 innings. It was another fire fight as the Rockies scored 9 runs in those same three innings. The battle continued with the Rockies leading 13-10 after eight innings. Closer Wade Davis came in to clinch the win but he was ambushed by the Padres hitters allowing 4 runs which led to a shocking 14-13 Padres win.
No doubt for the fans the fire power displayed during these four games was impressive. The problem for the Rockies is that the continued attacks by the Padres occurred mainly because the Rockies bullpen was unable to deliver shut-down innings. To a certain extent, the relievers have had to pick up more than what should be their share of innings due to the short-handed starting rotation. The wear and tear that those demands have produced is beginning to show.
It won’t get any easier for the starters and the bullpen relievers during the next two weeks. And to back them up, the Rockies bats need to stay hot. They are now going to play 13 games with their Western Division rivals before the All-Star Break.
This week the Rockies travel to Arizona for three games with the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. On the weekend they’ll head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers. Then they’ll move on to play three games with the Giants in San Francisco and end the first half of the season by facing the Dodgers in a four-game series at Coors Field.
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