Never Too Late: 2018 Rockies Embrace Ninth-Inning Nitro

So the Rockies are trailing 3-0. So there are two outs in the top of the ninth, and nobody on base. So what.

It was just another night at the ballpark for the Rockies, 2018 version. 

They had to work extra, but they weren't complaining after they rallied for a 5-3, 10-inning victory against the Braves on Saturday night. The victory allowed them to pull within a half-game of NL West-leading Arizona, and extend their edge on the third-place Dodgers to two games.

"They have a lot of grit," manager Bud Black said. "I think the guys realize what is going on. This is a real pennant race, and there are a lot of good teams in the race. Our guys are up for the challenge. They aren't quitting."

A lot of good teams? Well, only 2 1/2 games separate the Rockies, D-backs and Dodgers in the NL West race. And only three games separate wild-carding leading Philadelphia and the fifth place Dodgers in the battle for the two NL wild-card spots. The Rockies and Brewers are tied for the third spot, just a half-game behind the second-place Cardinals.

And the Rockies, in the NL West, and the Rockies and Cardinals, in the NL Wild-Card, are the only prime contenders with a winning record in their last 10 games. That includes the Rockies having won four of five on a six-game trip that concludes Sunday against the NL East-leading Braves.

Where They Stand

NL West W L Pct GB L10 NL WC W L Pct GB L10
D-backs 68 56 0.548 5-5 Phillies 68 55 0.553 0.5 4-6
Rockies 67 56 0.545 0.5 7-3 Cardinals 68 56 0.548 - 9-1
Dodgers 66 58 0.532 2 3-7 Rockies 67 56 0.545 0.5 7-3
Giants 61 63 0.492 7 4-6 Brewers 68 57 0.544 0.5 3-7
Padres 49 77 0.389 20 4-6 Dodgers 66 58 0.532 2 3-7
Pirates 62 62 0.5 6 4-6
Nationals 62 62 0.5 6 4-6

In winning the first three games in Atlanta, the Rockies have rallied in the ninth inning on Thursday and Saturday. Saturday night they were trailing 3-0 with two out and nobody on base in the ninth when they stunned the Braves. At least they started the rally on Friday with a one-out single by Ryan McMahon before the rest of the rally came with two out.

The Rockies have overcome ninth-inning deficits in 13 of their wins this seasons -- seven on the road and six at Coors Field.

Ninth Inning Nitro

Date Opponent Final Score Rally for Victory
April 5 at San Diego Rockies Win 3-1 Three runs top of 9th
McMahon bases loaded walk
LeMahieu 2-run single
April 7 vs. Braves Rockies win 3-2 (10) Wolters bases-loaded walk
April 15 at Nationals Rockies win 6-5 Ian Desmond home run 9th
May 17 at Giants Rockies win 5-3 (12) 3 walks, Gonzalez 2-run, 2-out single
May 28 vs. Giants Rockies win 6-5 (10) Iannetta one-out single
June 28 at Giants Rockies win 9-8 LeMahieu 2-run home run
July 15 vs. Mariners Rockies win 4-3 Story home run leading off 9th
July 25 vs. Astros Rockies win 3-2 Story leadoff home run
Aug. 5 at Brewers Rockies win 5-4 (11) Blow 4-1 lead in 9th, Arenado HR 11th
Aug. 11 vs. Dodgers Rockies win 3-2 McMahon 2-out, 3-run home run 9th
Aug. 12 vs. Dodgers Rockies win 4-3 Iannetta 2-out bases loaded walk 10th
Aug. 16 at Braves Rockies win 5-3 (12) McMahon singles home one run,
Dahl singles home two others.
Aug. 18 at Braves Rockies win 5-3 2 out, nobody on, Story doubles, Dahl
singles. Desmond 2-run double,
Parra game-tying single
10th, LeMahieu home run,
Gonzales doubles, Arenado RBI single

The Rockies have made their move back into the NL West/NL Wild-Card races in a 46-game stretch that ends on Sunday in which they have not played a team that had a losing record at the time of the matchups.

They lost the first two games of that stretch, at San Francisco, but starting with that June 28 ninth-inning rally at San Francisco, the Rockies are 29-14, which has allowed them to rally from being eight games out in the NL West, and four games below .500.

They go into Sunday's finale against the Braves 11 games above .500 for the first time this season.

"There's definitely a feeling of urgency when we show up each day, that we have to win a game, whether we are playing the Braves or anyone else," said LeMahieu. "We have a lot of confidence going into each game that we're one of the best teams in the league. That's a good feeling."

The Rockies are 29-16 since that June 26 series started in San Francisco, 29-14 after losing the first two games against the Giants. The challenge came July 30-ug. 8 when the Rockies lost three consecutive series -- dropping three of four at St. Louis, and two of three both at Milwaukee, and against the Pirates at Coors Field.

The Rockies, however, have won seven of nine games since then. First they took three of four from the Dodgers at Coors Field, twice rallying in the ninth for wins. Then they split two games at Houston, and now they have won the first two games of their three-game visit to Atlanta.

Return to Contention

Start Date Opp W L SvOP
June 26-28 at SF 1 2 1-1
June 29-July 1 at LAD 2 1 2-2
July 2-4 SF 3 0 2-2
July 6-8 Sea 2 1 0-0
July 10-12 at Ari 2 1 0-1
July13-15 at Sea 3 0 2-2
All-Star Break
July 20-22 Ari 2 1 2-3
July 24-25 Hou 1 1 0-0
July 27-29 Oak 3 0 3-3
July 30-Aug. 1 at StL 1 3 1-3
Aug. 3-5 at Mil 1 2 1-3
Aug. 6-8 Pit 1 2 1-1
Aug. 9-12 LAD 3 1 1-3
Aug. 14-15 at Hou 1 1 0-0
Aug. 16-18 at Atl 3 0 2-2
Road 14 10
Home 15 6
Total 29 16 18-26

Twelve of the 14 position players currently on the Rockies roster have hit .250 or better during the 43-game surge, starting with that final game in San Francisco. Leading the way is Trevor Story, who is hitting .352 with nine home runs and 25 RBI. He is second in home runs and RBI to Nolan Arenado, who has hit 12 home runs and drive in 30. Arenado is second to Story with a .308 average.

The Hit Parade of 43

Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Trevor Story 42 159 22 56 14 1 9 25 10 39 .352
Nolan Arenado 43 159 28 49 7 0 12 30 16 30 .308
Carlos Gonzalez 41 149 30 45 13 1 7 22 14 36 .302
Ryan McMahon 19 42 6 12 4 0 2 8 6 15 .286
DJ LeMahieu 32 136 23 38 10 0 3 14 8 18 .279
Garrett Hampson 10 22 1 6 1 1 0 2 5 5 .273
Charlie Blackmon 42 171 29 46 9 1 8 18 11 40 .269
Ian Desmond 42 153 21 41 5 6 3 23 10 37 .268
David Dahl 12 40 4 10 2 0 2 6 5 12 .250
Gerardo Parra 39 108 12 27 4 0 0 11 14 19 .250
Chris Iannetta 28 78 6 15 0 1 3 10 8 25 .192
Tony Wolters 16 37 4 7 1 3 0 8 6 6 .189
Team 43 1471 205 387 75 15 56 196 123 365 .263

German Marquez, who pitches the final game of the stretch in Atlanta on Sunday, has been the lynch pin in the rotation with a 5-1 record. Kyle Freeland, meanwhile, is not only 4-1, but has a 2.35 ERA. And the Vulture (an affectionate term for relievers who pick up victories) is Scott Oberg. He is 6-0, and has a 2.16 ERA coming out of the bullpen.

Pitching In

Player W SvOP GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA
Scott Oberg 6-0 0-2 0 16.2 18 4 4 3 3 16 2.16
German Marquez 5-1 None 8 52.2 41 18 17 6 12 62 2.91
Kyle Freeland 4-1 None 9 53.2 44 14 14 3 24 48 2.35
Tyler Anderson 2-2 None 9 55.2 38 26 25 9 21 54 4.04
Wade Davis 2-4 13-15 0 20.2 16 14 14 5 7 23 6.10
Jon Gray 2-0 None 7 46.1 34 19 17 5 11 45 3.30
Adam Ottavino 2-1 4-7 0 23.1 21 10 7 2 11 29 2.70
Antonio Senzatela 2-2 None 6 35 28 14 14 1 13 24 3.60
Jake McGee 1-2 0-1 0 13 13 11 10 3 6 14 6.92
Seunghwan Oh 1-0 1-2 0 9.2 6 2 2 1 3 6 1.86
Bryan Shaw 1-0 None 0 12 13 4 4 0 4 15 3.00
Chad Bettis 0-1 None 3 14 13 12 12 2 8 8 7.71
Chris Rusin 0-0 None 0 10 14 10 8 0 4 7 7.20
Colorado Rockies 29-14 18-27 43 384.1 326 170 160 42 136 364 3.75
Tracy RingolsbyComment