Colorado Rockies Week 23 Review: September 7-13

Jon Gray had one of the best starts of his career this week. Photo Credit: Denis Poroy - Getty Images North America
Jon Gray had one of the best starts of his career this week.
Photo Credit: Denis Poroy – Getty Images North America

Welcome to week 23, where the Colorado Rockies continued to play out the string. With the Rockies playing seven games on the road, they did a pretty good job from a purely wins and losses standpoint. Their 4-3 record on the week brought their road record to 29-43 on the season. That puts them on pace for a 33-48 road record, which would actually be a pretty significant improvement from the awful 21-60 mark they had away from home last season. As far as storylines go, this part of the season doesn’t have a whole lot of them.

It’s been known for a while now, but this week marked the official end of the Rockies’ playoff hopes as they were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on Friday, even though they won that day. September call-ups and injuries have also continued to allow some prospects to trickle in. Starting catcher Nick Hundley suffered a cervical (neck) strain that ended his season and subsequently caused the promotion of Rockies’ top catching prospect Tom Murphy to the big leagues for the first time. He only played in one game – he was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts – but it should be interesting to see how he does for the rest of the year and into next year, where we will almost certainly see him again. Another Rockies catching prospect, Dustin Garneau, hit his first two Major League home runs this week while infield prospect Cristhian Adames has also performed well in his very brief stint with the club. Prospects like these should continue to trickle down into the club for the foreseeable future, and they should help to make watching the team a bit more exciting to watch.

In more established big league player news, Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez each homered this week, Arenado twice, to remain first and second in the National League in home runs. They both remain on pace to hit 40+ home runs and if they’re able to do it, they’ll be the first pair of teammates to hit 40 or more home runs since Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome for the Chicago White Sox in 2006. Let’s take a look at the rest of the week for the Rockies.

Record this week: 4-3
Season record: 60-83 (5th in NL West, 22 ½ GB of LAD)

Monday, September 7 – Colorado Rockies (6) at San Diego Padres (4)
W – Kendrick (5-12)           L – Kennedy (8-13) S – Axford (20)
HR: Kendrick (1)
Players of the game:
DJ LeMahieu – 2 for 4, 3B, RBI
Charlie Blackmon – 2 for 3, 2B
Nolan Arenado – 1 for 3, 2B, BB, RBI

Tuesday, September 8 – Colorado Rockies (1) at San Diego Padres (2)
W – Kimbrel (2-2)   L – Logan (0-3)
HR: Arenado (37)
Players of the game:
Nolan Arenado – 1 for 4, HR, RBI
Jon Gray – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
Justin Morneau – 1 for 3, BB

Wednesday, September 9 – Colorado Rockies (4) at San Diego Padres (11)
W – Shields (11-6)   L – Rusin (5-8)
HR: Garneau (1)
Players of the game:
Dustin Garneau – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
Justin Morneau – 1 for 3, BB, RBI
Nolan Arenado – 2 for 4

Thursday, September 10 – Colorado Rockies (4) at San Diego Padres (3)
W – Miller (2-2)      L – Benoit (6-5)       S – Axford (21)
HR: Arenado (38), Dickerson (6), Gonzalez (37), Descalso (5)
Players of the game:
Daniel Descalso – 1 for 3, HR, RBI
Carlos Gonzalez – 1 for 4, HR, RBI
Nolan Arenado – 1 for 4, HR, RBI

The Rockies traveled to San Diego for four games with the Padres that they would split. On Tuesday night, the Rockies lost, but more importantly they got a brilliant pitching performance from top prospect Jon Gray. After not being at his best in his last few outings, his performance here showed why he’s so highly thought of. He was consistently working with a fastball at 94-95 mph with movement and command to both sides of the plate, he had a slider with great depth that he was able to throw both for strikes and as a chase pitch, and he even flashed a couple of outstanding changeups that fell off the table and induced swings and misses. It was a really encouraging outing for him as he appeared to make a slight adjustment from his previous start that really helped him to stay balanced and in control. Adjustments like that between starts are the types of things you’d expect to see from a veteran who’s been in the league for a long time, not a rookie with (at the time) only 26 big league innings under his belt. Keep an eye on that one. The Rockies also hit some home runs in the series, using four solo shots in the finale on Thursday to help bring home a 4-3 win.

Friday, September 11 – Colorado Rockies (4) at Seattle Mariners (2)
W – Bettis (7-5)       L – Iwakuma (7-4)  S – Axford (22)
HR: Garneau (2)
Players of the game:
Chad Bettis – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K
Dustin Garneau – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI
Corey Dickerson – 2 for 4, 2B

Saturday, September 12 – Colorado Rockies (2) at Seattle Mariners (7)
W – Elias (5-8)        L – Flande (3-3)
Players of the game:
Cristhian Adames – 1 for 3, BB
Wilin Rosario – 1 for 3, 2B, BB
Corey Dickerson – 1 for 4, 2B

Sunday, September 13 – Colorado Rockies (3) at Seattle Mariners (2)
W – Kendrick (6-12)           L – Paxton (3-4)      S – Axford (23)
Players of the game:
Kyle Kendrick – 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
John Axford – IP, H, 0 R, 2 K
Wilin Rosario – 1 for 4, 2B

After they finished up in San Diego, the Rockies headed to Seattle for their final interleague series of the season against the Seattle Mariners. They even won the series! The highlight came in game one when Chad Bettis had an absolutely brilliant outing as he threw seven shutout innings and had a game score of 74, the fourth highest game score by a Rockies starter this season. It wasn’t a particularly eventful series, but there was also some good work by the bullpen and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Justin Miller setting a new Rockies record by striking out eight consecutive hitters across three appearances this week. Hopefully taking two out of three here will get the monkey off of the Rockies’ collective backs when they take on the American League in 2016.

Now it’s time to take a look at the individual standouts of the week with the player of the week, pitcher of the week, and longest home run of the week. Remember, you can find a running tally of all three on the right-hand side of your screen!

Rockies player of the week: Justin Morneau – 20 PA, .313/.450/.313, 2 RBI, 110 wRC+

As we’ve all come to expect when the Rockies play on the road, it was an extremely quiet week for their bats this week. This is made painfully apparent here with Morneau taking home player of the week despite not having a single extra base hit. Nevertheless, it’s good to see him back in the lineup, and a .450 on-base percentage doesn’t hurt. Here’s a look at one of his two RBI on the week, a single that brought home Jose Reyes early on Wednesday night.

Longest Rockies home run of the week: Corey Dickerson – 415 feet

This one wasn’t the longest long home run of the week, but it’s still great to see Dickerson get back out on the field after struggling with injuries all season long. This home run was his sixth of the season and the 35th of his career and it brought the Rockies within a run in what would eventually be a 4-3 win on Thursday afternoon.

Rockies pitcher of the week: Chad Bettis – 1 start, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA

It was only one start for Bettis this week, but he was outstanding in it as he shutout the Mariners for seven innings. It’s been great to watch Bettis’ improvement in 2015, and he was really on top of his game in this start. Follow the link here to watch the highlights from his great outing.

That does it for week 23. Stay tuned for a look ahead to week 24 and be sure to subscribe, like View from the Rooftop on Facebook, and follow on Twitter.

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