Road woes continue with loss in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS» The Rockies have gone from road warriors to road kill.
They lost 10-5 to St. Louis on Wednesday night at steamy Busch Stadium, suffering a three-game sweep as the National League wild-card race continues to tighten, with the Brewers, not the Cubs, now in pursuit of the Rockies. Colorado lost for the 16th time in its last 19 road games.
A major reinforcement, however, is on the way. The Rockies, knowing they must bolster their sagging bullpen if they want to stay in the playoff hunt, announced during the game that they had acquired all-star righthanded reliever Pat Neshek in a trade with Philadelphia. In exchange, the Rockies gave the Phillies three minor-leaguers: infielder Jose Gomez, right-handed pitcher J.D. Hammer and righthanded pitcher Alejandro Requena.
The club could certainly use bullpen help, as evidenced by Wednesday’s loss. Right-hander Jordan Lyles gave up two runs on five hits in two innings, his ERA climbing to 6.94. Usual starter Tyler Chatwood, making his first relief appearance since July 5, 2012 at St. Louis, gave up a run on one hit with two walks and two wild pitches in his inning of work.
Entering Wednesday’s game, Colorado’s bullpen ranked 13th in the National League with a 4.53 ERA.
Overall, it was another frustrating night at Busch Stadium for the Rockies, who have lost 22 of their last 27 games here.
Colorado starter Jeff Hoffman was undoubtedly squeezed by home plate umpire Mark Carlson early on, and it seemed to affect the rookie’s performance. He failed to get a strikeout call on a checked swing in the first inning on Tommy Pham and ended up walking him. That set up Paul DeJong’s two-run homer to deep center.
“This is the next step for our young pitchers. There is a school of hard knocks for young pitchers, but he’ll learn how to get out of an inning and minimize the damage,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Hoffman. “But he’s growing each and every time he pitches.”
The Cardinals’ five-run fourth inning was a messy affair. Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuck opened with back-to-back singles, and then Hoffman walked Harrison Bader on a 3-2 pitch. According to the gamecast graphics, Hoffman should have logged a strikeout, but instead, he faced a no-out, bases-loaded nightmare. Four batters later — including a slicing RBI single to right by pitcher Carlos Martinez and a monster RBI double to right-center by Matt Carpenter — the Rockies trailed 7-4.
“For the most part, I feel like I did a decent job of brushing it off and moving on and trying to make the next pitch,” Hoffman said after being asked if the strike zone affected him. “But I’m not going to sit here and say it doesn’t affect the course of an inning, or how you go about your next move.”
Nolan Arenado, meanwhile, continued to play like an MVP candidate. With a 2-for-3 evening, he’s batting .313 with 23 homers and a major league-best 89 RBIs.
The third baseman put the Rockies on the board in the first with a two-run homer to left off Martinez.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado continued his MVP-like season with a two-run homer Wednesday and added another RBI later in the game. Now sitting at 89 RBIs for the season, Arenado is the league leader in that category.