Denver -- Colorado Rockies starter Eddie Butler just couldn't find a rhythm or gain full command of his arsenal on Thursday night, giving up eight runs in four innings of work. Home runs from Joey Votto and Zack Cozart punctuated the Cincinnati Reds effort, but the whole team was on Butler all night in what was a frustrating outing for a young pitcher who has shown a ton of progress this season.
Two of the runs charged to Butler came on a three-run jack off the bat of Eugenio Suarez on the first pitch thrown by Chad Qualls out of the bullpen. Suarez would strike again in the sixth off of Gonzalez Germen, extending the Reds lead to 11-2.
Butler's final line was by far his ugliest of the season: 4 IP, 8 R, 11 H, 2 BB, 3 K.
The entirety of the Rockies offense boiled down to back-to-back home runs from Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado -- which made it a two-run game for about 20 seconds in the fourth -- and a two-run shot from Trevor Story in the seventh. The Reds dropped a six-spot in the fifth, putting the game to bed early.
The Rockies utter lack of early offense or ability to build a rally is even more disappointing when you consider that Reds' starter Alfredo Simon came into the game with an ERA north of 9.00.
The Rockies and Reds combined for seven home runs in the game.
The lone bright spots for the Rockies pitching were Carlos Estevez and Miguel Castro who each tossed a clean inning at the back-end.
It was just one of those nights at the office that Butler needs to forget and let wash down in the drain. The same could be said for just about everyone in that clubhouse for this entire series against the Reds. The Rockies simply did not play good baseball. There is no reason to parse words. This was not good. But this may not necessarily be who the team is. It is important to remember that bad stretches happen to everyone and there is a case to be made that the Reds were due.
There is also a relatively easy case to be made that the Rockies are still well ahead of schedule for any projection by any analyst of where the next contention window would be. 2017 has always been the year and so questions of 2016 should revolve around how the team responds to series' like this. They need to show fight and character in San Diego.
For the first time in recent memory, it feels like the Rockies desperately need to get out of Denver, so maybe a three-game trip to Southern California is just what the doctor ordered. Game 1 against the Padres gets going at 8:40 MST on Friday. Chris Rusin takes the mound against former Rockie Drew Pomeranz.