Colorado Rockies Week Nine Review: June 1-7

Troy Tulowitzki is starting to look like himself again. Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger - Getty Images North America
Troy Tulowitzki is starting to look like himself again.
Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger – Getty Images North America

With seven games at home this week, the Colorado Rockies had a great opportunity to gain some traction and move closer to .500. Instead, they alternated wins and losses all week on their way to a 3-4 record. While it wasn’t the week they wanted, there were certainly some positives for the club going forward. Let’s take a look at week nine.

Record this week: 3-4
Overall record: 25-30 (5th in NL West, 6 GB of LAD)

Monday, June 1 – Los Angeles Dodgers (11) at Colorado Rockies (4)
W – Kershaw (4-3) L – Kendrick (2-7)
HR: Arenado (13)
Players of the game:
Nolan Arenado – 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
Troy Tulowitzki – 2 for 4, RBI
Brandon Barnes – 2 for 4

Tuesday, June 2 – Los Angeles Dodgers (3) at Colorado Rockies (6)
W – De La Rosa (2-2) L – Thomas (0-1) S – Axford (10)
HR: McKenry (3), Paulsen (4)
Players of the game:
Michael McKenry – 2 for 4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Ben Paulsen – 2 for 4, 2B, HR, RBI
Boone Logan – 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 K

Tuesday, June 2 – Los Angeles Dodgers (9) at Colorado Rockies (8)
W – Ravin (1-0) L – Betancourt (2-2) S – Jansen (5)
HR: Tulowitzki (5)
Players of the game:
Nick Hundley – 3 for 4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
Brandon Barnes – 3 for 4, 2 RBI
Carlos Gonzalez – 3 for 5, 2B

Wednesday, June 3 – Los Angeles Dodgers (6) at Colorado Rockies (7)
W – Axford (1-0) L – Garcia (2-2)
HR: Tulowitzki (6)
Players of the game:
Charlie Blackmon – 4 for 5, 2 2B
Troy Tulowitzki – 2 for 3, HR, 2 BB, 5 RBI
Chad Bettis – 6 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 5 K

The Rockies and Dodgers played a very back and forth series at Coors Field as they traded wins for four games. The series also likely left both teams feeling like they should’ve won a game that they lost. Games one and two of the series were a comfortable 11-4 Dodger win and a comfortable 6-3 Rockies win, respectively. On the other hand, the final two games of the series were extremely back and forth, with each team making a ninth inning comeback to win a game.

In the third game of the series and the second game of a doubleheader on Tuesday, the Rockies fell into a quick 4-0 hole before coming back to tie up the game, 5-5. That was the score when Troy Tulowitzki stepped to the plate in the seventh inning with one out and DJ LeMahieu on first. On a 2-2 pitch from Dodgers reliever Yimi Garcia, Tulowitzki drove the ball 440 feet over the center field wall to give the Rockies a 7-5 lead. It was a huge swing for the Rockies star who had been struggling at the plate all season and it put the team in a great position to win the game. Colorado took an 8-5 lead into the ninth inning when manager Walt Weiss called on Rafael Betancourt, who was recovering from having the flu and had already pitched in game one, to try to close it out. The decision to use Betancourt in that situation was, at best, questionable, and the Rockies paid for it. After allowing three straight singles to start the inning, Betancourt retired the next two hitters before rookie Alex Guerrero hit a grand slam just over the glove of center fielder Charlie Blackmon to give the Dodgers the lead, 9-8. They eventually won the game by that score.

The following day, the script was flipped. The Rockies got out to a 4-2 lead after five innings thanks to another Tulowitzki home run, but then fell behind, 6-4, heading to the bottom of the ninth. In another questionable managerial decision, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly chose to go with a closer-by-committee approach in lieu of using typical closer Kenley Jansen on back-to-back days. Mattingly and the Dodgers would pay for that strategy, as the Rockies scored three runs in the ninth, culminating in a walk-off sacrifice fly from Nolan Arenado that gave his team a 7-6 win and a series split.

Thursday, May 4 – Day off

Friday, May 5 – Miami Marlins (6) at Colorado Rockies (2)
W – Koehler (4-3) L – Butler (3-6) S – Ramos (6)
Players of the game:
Troy Tulowitzki – 3 for 4, RBI
Carlos Gonzalez – 2 for 4
Nick Hundley – 2 for 4

Saturday, May 6 – Miami Marlins (5) at Colorado Rockies (10)
W – Rusin (2-0) L – Phelps (2-3)
HR: Rosario 2 (4), Gonzalez (5)
Players of the game:
Wilin Rosario – 3 for 5, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Carlos Gonzalez – 2 for 4, HR, BB, 3 RBI
Chris Rusin – 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Sunday, May 7 – Miami Marlins (3) at Colorado Rockies (2)
W – Dyson (3-2) L – Logan (0-2) S – Ramos (7) F/10
HR: Gonzalez (6)
Players of the game:
Carlos Gonzalez – 1 for 3, HR, BB, RBI
Troy Tulowitzki – 2 for 5, 2B
Kyle Kendrick – 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K

After the big win in the series finale against the Dodgers, it looked like the Rockies could be on the verge of making a run as they welcomed the Miami Marlins to town, who entered the series with a dismal 22-32 record. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Marlins took two of the three games from the Rockies, with the most disappointing loss coming in a 3-2, 10 inning loss in the series finale. The loss dropped the Rockies to just 11-17 at home on the season, the second worst record in the National League. They are on pace to finish their home schedule 32-50, which would be by far the worst home record in the team’s history. Keeping the Rockies afloat is their 14-13 record away from Coors Field, the third best road record in the National League, but at some point soon they will need to start piling up wins at home if they hope to make some noise in 2015.

The week as a whole certainly did not go as planned, but some individual performances stood out. One in particular could be a hugely positive sign for the team as a whole going forward. It’s time to look at the Rockies player and pitcher of the week. Remember, running tallies of these and the five longest Rockies home runs of the season can be found on the right-hand side of the screen!

Rockies position player of the week: Troy Tulowitzki – 23 PA, .479/.522/.810, 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 250 wRC+
If there was one player that the Rockies needed to get hot, it was Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo was absolutely on fire this week, hitting two huge home runs and continuing a hot streak that really began last week. He has now raised his wRC+ on the season from his season-low of 68 all the way up to 107. It’s still a far cry from the 171 wRC+ he put up last season, but his pitch selection has clearly gotten far better over the past few weeks and he is now second in the Majors with a 46.9% hard contact rate on the season. Here’s his biggest swing of both the week and the entire season, a home run against the Dodgers:

Longest Rockies home run of the week: Wilin Rosario – 457 feet
It took a while, but there was finally a challenger to Carlos Gonzalez’s 461-foot blast from the first week of the season. Rosario’s homer came a few feet short, but was still quite impressive. Take a look at his monster home run here.

Rockies pitcher of the week: Chris Rusin – 1 start, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K
Rusin was recently recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque with relatively low expectations. So far, he has exceeded them all. Rusin has made two quality starts in two chances and, after throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings as a reliever, owns a 1.45 ERA and 2.63 FIP in 18 2/3 Major League innings in 2015. He was great in a win over the Marlins this week, becoming the first pitcher to strike out Giancarlo Stanton four times in the same game. You can watch the highlights of that start here.

That’s it for week nine. Hopefully we’ll see some better things from the club next week. Be sure to subscribe, like View from the Rooftop on Facebook, and follow on Twitter.

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