HomeTeamsRockiesOpening Day 2024 Was Here, Now Put It Away

Opening Day 2024 Was Here, Now Put It Away

Spring Training is done, and the regular season was finally here. Time for the Colorado Rockies to put in the work and continue the great momentum begun in this year’s Cactus League. The seemingly fitting start to the 2024 regular season began with a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which the Rockies have spent the entire spring with on the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. However, the beating handed down was anything but friendly.

This tragedy began for the Rockies with the much-anticipated opening start of Kyle Freeland. After the Rockies went three-up three-down at the plate, Freeland took the mound to show all the work he put in over the off-season. A 91 mph sinker opened Freeland’s season for ball one against Ketel Marte. The next pitch was a changeup that Marte rolled out to Brenton Doyle at center field for a base hit. It was a single, but Freeland still looked loose and well prepared.

Freeland launched a 92 mph sinker to the second batter, Corbin Carroll, that broke perfectly low center with heat, and it seems like the Rockies’s Ace was showing great potential with his increased speed capability. Freeland then offered an off-center slider to Carroll that was returned toward first base in a little dribbler that Freeland was able to snag-turn-throw with impressive athletic ease. Freeland was looking good and the game seemed off to a healthy start.  Then the Diamondbacks’ third batter, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., took Freeland’s 86 mph slider that broke low and inside and returned it at 106 mph over the leftfield wall for a 2-run homer. Shaken, but not stirred, Freeland was able to retire the next two and exit the inning with ease.

Top of the second and Brendon Rodgers hit a grounder to right field to get on. Ryan McMahon then followed with a long ball off the barrel of the bat that struck the lower half of the center field wall and brought Rodgers home. The Rockies were still one down, but the game had the feel of an even matchup at that point. It felt like Colorado had brought their own answers to facing the 2023 National League Champions on Opening Day. Unfortunately, McMahon’s RBI double was like the lucky shot an underdog accidentally lands on the face of the overwhelming favorite that then results in a lesson of severe beating. The punishment began when third baseman Eugenio Suarez astoundingly snatched a 105 mph line-drive, from Elehuris Montero, out of the air with a full-body extension grab to retire the inning and rob the Rockies of the tying run.

Then the ill-fated third inning was upon the Rockies when Kris Bryant was hit by an 87 mph changeup on a 2-2 count. Colorado fans held their breath in fear of a 2023 repeat of Bryant’s bad luck, but Bryant took his base, and everything seemed to be okay for the injury-prone vet. Nolan Jones then came up and grounded to the shortstop for an easy forced out at second. For two innings in a row, the Rockies had stranded a tying run on the bags. The game seemed balanced, but not out of reach.

It was the bottom of the third when the Diamondbacks unleashed a fury of punishment at the plate that set a club record for them. In an inning that took over an hour to complete, the Diamondbacks sent 18 batters to the box resulting in 14 runs against the Rockies. Freeland faced nine batters and gave up five runs before Bud Black had to sit him down with only one out on the board. Anthony Molino, Colorado’s recent Rule-5 pitcher, was brought in for his debut in the majors and got hammered by Arizona’s all-star offense. Molino gave up nine runs after facing eight batters and only achieved one out on a sacrifice fly. Black had to sit Molino down too, and Jaleen Beeks was brought in to end the hitting parade.

The remaining six innings seemed lifeless compared to the bottom of the third, but like my dad says: it’s still only one game no matter what the final score is.


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