Rockies Reinforcements: It's About Teamwork

Think about it.

The Rockies rallied from a deficit after the seventh winning to claim a win for the first time this season. 

They did it even though Charlie Blackmon went a harmless 1-for-5, neither driving in nor scoring a run.

They did it even with Nolan Arenado being pitched around, going 0-for-3, but drawing two walks.

They did it with DJ LeMahieu still on the disabled list.

They did it with Chad Bettis not only giving up five runs in six innings, but after putting the Rockies in a 2-0 deficit going into the bottom of the first, twice letting a lead slip away.

And they did it despite bullpen closer Wade Davis having to walk a ninth-inning tightrope to just force extra innings when, with two out, he walked back-to-back batters, hit another with a pitch, and then, with the bases loaded got Brandon Belt, whose .323 average against right-handers is the sixth best in the NL, to line out to second baseman Ryan McMahon.

So, how did they do it?

With a team effort, in which a handfull of players, who have not been big factors in the Rockies working their way into first place in the NL West, which they have held for a week now.

"We're winning games all kinds of ways," said first baseman Ian Desmond. "(Monday) was a total team effort. We had a little more contribution from the offense than it has been doing."

It was a night to enjoy. 

Hey, the fans at Coors Field finally cheered Desmond, who has struggled in the opening weeks of the season and become a target for boo birds.

“I appreciate any emotion the fans want to give,” he said. “You want to come out and boo me? That’s fine, cheer on the other guys. If you want to come out and cheer me that’s fine. As long as you come out and are making noise … we feed on that. Whether you are booing me or cheering me, I don’t care, just make some sort of noise.”

The Rockies ate well on Monday night, including Desmond. He has hit 90 points higher in the last 10 games than he had in his first 42 games of the season. In back-to-back wins against the Reds on Sunday and Giants on Monday he is a combined 3-for-6 with four RBI, including a sacrifice fly that tied the score in the eighth inning Monday.

Oh, and don't overlook the top of the 10th when the first two Giants reached first, and Austin Jackson followed with a ground ball to Desmond, who instead of taking the easy out by stepping on first, threw across the infield to retire Evan Longoria, keeping the go-ahead run off third with one out.

"He is a big part of our lineup," said Trevor Story, who got the offense jump-started with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first that wiped out a 2-0 lead the Giants had taken in the top of the opening inning. "That's Desi. He loves the clutch moments."

A 10-Game Desmond Revival

Date Opponent AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG
5/18/2018 @SF W 6-1 4 1 2 1 0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0.5
5/19/2018 @SF L 9-4 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0.5
5/20/2018 @SF L 9-5 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 0.3
5/21/2018 @LAD W 2-1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.231
5/22/2018 @LAD L 5-3 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.294
5/23/2018 @LAD L 3-0 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.286
5/25/2018 Cin W 5-4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.24
5/26/2018 Cin L 6-5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.207
5/27/2018 Cin W 8-2 3 1 1 0 0 1 2 1 1 0 0 0.219
5/28/2018 *SF W 6-5 3 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0.184
10 Games 35 6 9 1 0 3 10 4 8 3 0 0.257
*-SF and HBP also AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG
Pre May 18: 52 games 150 16 25 6 1 6 17 7 44 3 1 0.167

The game-winning hit was delivered by Chris Iannetta. After Nolan Arenado worked a walk from Hunter Strickland, against whom he is 2-for-14 in his career, Story flied out, Arenado tagging and advancing to second. Then came an intentional walk to Carlos Gonzalez, and a single from Desmond that loaded the bases.

Up stepped Iannetta, who singled up the middle, only his fourth hit this season in 29 at-bats with a runner in scoring position -- and his first in 25 at-bats dating back to a three-run home run against the Padres on April 9.

"I hit a line drive the at-bat before that the pitcher snagged (and turned into an inning-ending double play to end the eighth)," said Iannetta, "so I guess it evens out."

The Beginning and End of a Clutch Drought

Date Opp AB H HR RBI BB SO
4/2/2018 SD 1 0 0 0 1 0
4/3/2018 SD 2 2 0 2 0 0
4/9/2018 SD 1 1 1 3 0 0
4/12/2018 Was 2 0 0 0 0 0
4/13/2018 Was 1 0 0 0 0 1
4/15/2018 Was 1 0 0 0 0 0
4/18/2018 Pit 1 0 0 0 0 0
4/20/2018 ChC 3 0 0 0 0 1
4/22/2018 ChC 1 0 0 0 0 0
4/24/2018 SD 1 0 0 1 0 0
4/27/2018 Mia 0 0 0 0 1 0
4/28/2018 Mia 1 0 0 0 0 1
4/30/2018 ChC 2 0 0 0 0 1
5/2/2018 ChC 2 0 0 1 1 0
5/9/2018 LAA 2 0 0 0 1 2
5/11/2018 Mil 2 0 0 0 0 1
5/20/2018 SF 3 0 0 0 0 0
5/22/2018 LAD 1 0 0 0 0 0
5/28/2018 SF 2 1 0 1 0 1
Totals 29 4 1 8 4 8

Source: Stats, Inc.

And don't overlook Gonzalez. He is starting to make his presence felt. After a 4-for-4 explosion in Sunday's win against the Reds, Gonzalez got what has become a rare opportunity on Monday -- a start against a left-handed pitcher.

He made the most of the opportunity. He went 2-for-4 with a walk, giving him back-to-back multi-hit games for only the second time this season, and seeing his average climb from .214 to .250 in the course of two games.

CarGo On the Go

Date Games AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO LOB AVG
3/29-4/4 20 of 20 68 8 16 2 1 3 11 3 17 30 0.235
4/19-4/29 9 of 9 DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL DL
4/30-5/26 16 of 23 44 1 8 1 0 1 5 5 15 23 0.182
Sun/Mon 2 of 2 8 2 6 0 0 1 2 1 1 0 0.75
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO PLOB AVG
Totals 120 11 30 3 1 5 18 9 33 53 0.25

As big as the offensive revival was there also was signs of promise from the bullpen.

Harrison Musgrave has been easily overlooked. He was called up in April when lefty Chris Rusin was sent to Triple-A Albuquerque, and has had limited opportunities to pitch in the big leagues. He, however, has responded when given the opportunity, and no effort was bigger than Monday.

Musgrave came on in the seventh inning and needed only 21 pitches to retire all six batters he faced. He struck out Andrew McCutchen, and got Buster Posey and Belt on ground balls in the seventh. And in the eighth, Longoria flied out, Brandon Crawford lined out, and Mac Williamson grounded out. 

Musgrave: Rested and Ready

Date Opponent IP H R ER HR BB SO #Pit
4/23/2018 SD L 13-5 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 10
5/2/2018 @ChC W 11-2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 14
5/10/2018 Mil L 5-2 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 23
5/13/2018 Mil L 7-3 1.2 2 1 1 1 1 1 43
5/20/2018 @SF L 9-5 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 1 28
5/28/2018 SF W 6-5 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 21
INN H R ER HR BB SO #PIT
ERA 1.00; BA .129 9 4 1 1 1 4 4 139

And then there was Bryan Shaw, who has had his struggles, particularly at Coors Field, after signing a three-year, free-agent deal in the off-season. He worked his way through a 10th inning that began with back-to-back singles by Longoria and Crawford. 

Desmond gave him a lift, throwing out Longoria, heading to third on the Jackson ground ball, and Shaw got the next two batters on ground balls, and the Rockies rallied in the bottom of the 10th for the win.

Combating Coors

Date Opponent W L ERA IP H R ER HR BB HB SO
4/7/2018 Atl W 3-2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
4/9/2018 SD L 7-6 0 0 0 1.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
4/10/2018 SD L 5-2 0 1 8.1 1 3 3 3 1 0 0 0
4/20/2018 ChC L 16-5 0 0 18 0.2 4 5 5 1 1 0 1
4/22/2018 ChC L 9-7 0 0 16.62 0.1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1
4/24/2018 SD W 8-0 0 0 13.5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
4/25/2018 SD W 5-2 0 0 12.79 1 0 1 1 0 2 0 1
5/10/2018 Mil L 5-2 0 0 11.05 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
5/11/2018 Mil L 11-10 0 0 9.72 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
5/12/2018 Mil W 4-0 0 0 9.35 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5/26/2018 Cin L 6-5 0 0 9.31 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 1
5/28/2018 SF W 6-5 1 0 8.44 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
W L ERA INN H R ER HR BB HB SO
Totals 1 1 8.44 10.2 16 10 10 2 4 0 10

Sources: Stats, Inc.