The Colorado Rockies and their faithful held their breath when Michael Cuddyer crashed into the outfield wall at Petco Park on Monday night, then gasped in dismay at the ailing bullpen when reliever Rex Brothers absorbed his second loss in two days. Brothers walked the bases full in the eighth inning and let the tying and winning runs score on a wild pitch and an error as the Padres completed their 5-4 comeback win.
Colorado had taken a 4-0 lead with help from a two-run homer by catcher Wilin Rosario in the top of the fifth inning. Three runs in the bottom of the inning pulled the Padres to within 4-3 but tough Rockies’ defense helped maintain that lead into the eighth. The best defense in the league, however, can’t defend against bases-on-balls.
After Brothers had walked the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, he fired a 2-1 fastball to Yasmani Grandal that bounced past Rosario. A run scored and Rosario’s throw to Brothers, who came in to cover the plate, went wild. Seth Smith scored on the throw and the Padres had their winning 5-4 margin. Brothers took the Rockies loss on Sunday when he gave up a game-winning home run to the Giants’ Brandon Crawford in extra innings.
Cuddyer crashed hard into the right field wall in the bottom of the fifth inning as he chased a ball hit by Alexi Amarista that sailed over his head. Last year’s batting champ was tended to and then removed from the game with a bruised right elbow. Cuddyer will be day-to-day, and compared it to getting hit by a pitch.
The fact that Cuddyer’s injury is nothing more than a bruise is good news indeed for the Rockies, a team which has been no stranger to injuries this season. The team started the 2014 campaign with three pitchers on the disabled list and lost Brett Anderson to a broken finger against the Giants on Saturday. They finally got some help when right handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood and lefty reliever Boone Logan were recently re-activated. Chatwood had a good first outing on Sunday at San Francisco, giving up four runs but recording five strike-outs and no walks. Logan returned last week and has worked 2.1 innings and given up one hit and no runs. The rotation will get some additional help with the expected late-April return of Jhoulys Chacin who has been on the DL with a right shoulder strain.
With the exception of Cuddyer the Rockies position roster looks to be in good shape–and still hitting the baseball. Colorado continues to come in at the top of the pack in MLB offensive categories, ranking first in team batting average (.296), second in slugging percentage (.461) and runs (74) and third in on-base percentage (.348). As of Wednesday they sat fourth in the competitive National League West with a 6-8 record, 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rox have three games remaining in San Diego before returning to Coors Field for three games each with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies