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Colorado Starts the Season Like They Start Their Games

Every team in baseball will have a bad start to games and then must struggle back to make up a deficit. The Colorado Rockies seem to be following this pattern as if it was their club strategy, but it is not working for them. The Rockies need to break this trend before it pushes them too far back in the National Leage West race.

In the Opening Day game against the Arizona Diamondbacks there was the fateful third inning, but there was trouble in the first two innings too. Kyle Freeland’s first pitch of the game was a ball, and the second pitch to Ketel Marte was returned as a grounder to left center for a single. Freeland then gets Corbin Carroll to scoot a ball right back at the mound for an out at first. However, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. then comes up and knocks in a 2-run homer on the second pitch. Freeland is finally able to retire the inning after striking out one and getting the other to ground out.

The Rockies came back up and seemed to start to chase down Arizona quickly with Bredan Rodgers doubling at the top of the 2nd followed by Ryan McMahon doubling to bring Rodgers home. Elias Diaz goes down swinging, and Ezequil Tovar grounds out to second, but it gets McMahon to third with two outs on the board. The Rockies had gotten in a hole early, but they appeared to be answering the need to not let that hole get too deep too quick. Then Elehuris Montero lined out, stranding McMahon, and beginning a sharp decline in morale and momentum that Colorado just could not come back from.

Then the second game of the season is nearly the exact start with Cal Quantrill. The Rockies fail to get on the board in the first, and the Diamondbacks come out swinging with back-to-back homeruns from Gurriel Jr. and Christian Walker. Quantrill ends the inning with no further damage, but the stage is again set for an uphill start.

Elias Diaz sends one out passed the left-center wall to put the Rockies back in it quickly. Tovar follows with a line drive single and the Rockies now have a tying run on base. Tovar gets thrown out at first, and then Montero flies out sending Colorado into the bottom of the second down two again.

In the third game, the top of the second looked exactly the same. The Rockies went to bat facing a 2-run deficit. Rodgers and McMahon grounded out, but then Elias Diaz singled. Tovar stepped up and sent the second pitch, a four-seam fastball, out passed the wall to tie the game at two. The Rockies went on to win this one. This seems to point to an idea that if the Rockies can quickly answer a deficit in the second, then morale stays up and gives them the confidence they need to win the game.

This trend persists across the first two series the Rockies faced against Arizona and the Chicago Cubs. In game four against Arizona, the Rockies went down 3 in the first inning. The April 1st series opener against the Cubs did not have an early deficit, but the Rockies were right back to this trend on April 2nd when they went down two after the first. In the third game of the series against the Cubs the Rockies got behind quickly in the second when Chicago put together a series of walks, singles, and sacrifice flies to bring four runs in. The Rockies started the third inning down four, were unable to answer, and then go on to lose the game.

Going into a deficit early is hard to overcome because, as the game progresses, the team must manage fatigue and lowered morale. It is equally difficult for a team to overcome a losing trend early in a season for the same reasons, but that is what Colorado has done with a 1 – 6 record at their first break. Maybe the Home Opener on Friday will be the morale boost the Rockies need to get some positive momentum going.


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