Every time it seems like the Rockies’ offense is dead and buried in the snows beyond The Wall, they seem to rise like White Walkers and unleash their fury in grand magnitude laying waste to all who stand in their way. Like House Stark, they’ve taken some horrifying losses, they don’t have the power they once did, and every small victory seems to come with another setback that requires even more scratching and clawing just to stay alive.
And yet … they may also be as strong right now as they have ever been, even if that is obscured by their scars. Sunday healed a couple, a badly-needed 13-4 win over the New York Mets at CitiField.
Baseball can often feel like the Game of Thrones: You win or you die. But much like in that series, pretty much anything could happen in any given episode … or game. It’s a series of individual events, loosely tied together by trends that can take a sometimes agonizingly long time to reveal their full and true nature.
Is DJ LeMahieu a good offensive player? Can the Rockies truly compete with rookie and sophomore pitchers? Those are essentially the “Who is Jon Snow’s mother?” of these Colorado Rockies. There are many different theories and varying levels of attachment to them and everyone has been watching for years waiting for the other shoe to drop one way or the other.
Well, LeMahieu began a gorgeous afternoon in the first with a one-out single to right field, the play hit that should probably be renamed after him. But with Charlie Blackmon striking out before that single and Nolan Arenado popping up after it, it would be left to several players who have been the subject of ire for the fans and the press to get the job done. Mark Reynolds smashed a double to left but LeMahieu couldn’t score, meaning the Rockies would need another two-out hit. They got three of them.
Ian Desmond hit a “LeMahieu” to right field to score a pair and he moved to third on a bunt single by Gerardo Parra that included a wild throw. Parra appeared to injure his shoulder colliding with first baseman Lucas Duda but stayed in the game. The much-maligned Trevor Story then stepped to the plate and delivered a big blow in the form of a double down the left-field line, scoring Desmond and Parra to make it 4-0 before Colorado had taken the field on defense.
And they weren’t done with their onslaught against Matz of the Mets. In the second, Blackmon pulled a double down the right-field line and LeMahieu … well, you can guess what LeMahieu did for the second time in as many at-bats. With the table setters aboard, Arenado let out a mighty swing of his sword, launching one over the center field fence to put the Rockies up 7-0.
Colorado scored twice more before the Mets would get on the board. LeMahieu fire the opening salvo, this time hitting a double into the right-center field gap. He moved up on a single from Reynolds and they both scored when Desmond turned on an inside fastball and pulled a double down the line, making it 9-0, Rockies.
The Mets began to crawl back into the game a bit in the bottom of the frame, finally getting to Jeff Hoffman with a solo home run off the bat of Lucas Duda. They plated another pair in the fifth on a two-run shot from Asdrubal Cabrera and got one final run in the sixth on a sac fly from Jose Reyes.
With the game tighter at 9-4, Colorado answered back with a two-run, inside-the-park home run off the top of the center field fence from Blackmon. It was his 19th homer of the season, scoring Story, who had singled for his second hit in the game. Blackmon became only the second player in Rockies history (Brandon Barnes, 2014) to hit two inside-the-park homers in one season.
A two-run home run from Parra in the eighth gave the Rockies their 13th run, their largest run total of the season. This is the third game in the last six that the Rockies have scored double-digit runs. This was only the third time since 2008 that Colorado has scored 13 or more runs in a road game.
LeMahieu went 4-for-5 to raise his season batting average to .316 and scored three runs. Parra is up to .337 and Arenado’s three RBI put him back in first place in all of MLB. Reynolds joined LeMahieu in the four-hit-day club. With a two-hit day, Blackmon retook the MLB lead in that category.
No one game should ease the mind of those concerned about the offense, but this is also the third time in the last six games that they have scored at least 10 runs.
Jeff Hoffman did his part on the mound, throwing six solid innings, giving up four runs on seven hits but wisely staying in the strike zone after being staked to a big early lead. He walked just one batter and struck out three. While nothing to get overly excited about, it was still a start the Rockies desperately needed as they got a combined seven outs from their starters in the two games prior to this one.
Colorado improved to 53-41 and with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ fifth loss in a row today, are now just one game back of the Wild Card crown. There is still a Narrow Sea between the Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers who sit on the Iron Throne. But some wise maneuvering could see them stay alive just long enough to sweep in and steal the ultimate prize when you least expect it. No one knows how this will end. But we do know that House Rox is unbowed, unbent, and unbroken.