With all of Rockies Nation abuzz over the major league debut of Brendan Rodgers, the 22-year-old rookie be find himself the spotlight with two outs in the ninth and the game on the line. However, the storybook ending would not go as planned for the top prospect.
After recording an RBI in his first at bat, Rodgers went quiet at the plate. Considering the Rockies would only able to notch five hits all game, that’s no slight on the 3rd overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Colorado starter Jon Gray probably would have like a do-over as his pitching line was not pretty. There were times it could have gotten worse and times in which it could have gone better, so conjecture and hypothesizing is futile.
Tony Wolters came to Gray’s aid early. Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura reached base in the first with singles and Wolters gunned each of them down at second base for his sixth and seventh caught stealing of the season, respectively, tying him for third most in the NL.
Phillies ran out Cole Irvin as their starting pitcher, an equally inexperienced player as Rodgers making only his second major league start. His second inning was a rough one, making two defensive errors, but the Rockies were only able to produce one run in the wake of those gifts.
Raimel Tapia would walk and Ian Desmond grounded back to the pitcher for what should have been a routine double play, but Irvin threw the ball away when his infielders did not cover second.
With runners on the corners, rookie Brendan Rodgers recorded an RBI in his first major league at bat, a fielder’s choice that scored Tapia on a close play.
Wolters also reached on a fielder’s choice and Irvin’s second error loaded the bases. Gray grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and the Rockies missed an opportunity to move further out front.
Colorado grabbed another run in the third with doubles from Charlie Blackmon and Mark Reynolds. Tapia singled to left field and it was a diving Reynolds on a play at the plate; this time, the was ruling went against the Rockies.
After a one-two-three second inning, Gray allowed a two-out walk to the opposing pitcher. McCutchen launched a 97 mph fastball over the heart of the plate 418 ft into left field to tie the game at 2.
Again, Gray retired the first two batters of the inning in the fourth. A unique change in approach by Gray and Wolters saw the big righty throw nine straight off-speed pitches to the middle of Philadelphia’s lineup. Rhys Hoskins went down on a called third strike, but J.T. Realmuto would double to right field on the seventh pitch of the at bat, a 97 mph fastball beneath the bottom of the strike zone.
One batter later, Cesar Hernandez laced another double to left to score the go ahead run for the Phils.
In the fifth, Maikel Franco struck out to start the inning, Gray’s eighth of the game. Irvin flew out and Gray struggled to the finish out the frame. McCutchen walked and Segura singled, putting Gray 98 pitches on the night; between the third and fifth inning, Gray would throw 33 pitches with two outs.
Carlos Estévez came out to put out the fire, but was unable to close the door on the fifth. Bryce Harper doubled to right field and both base runners came around to score putting up the Phillies, 5-2.
The Rockies quickly responded when Nolan Arenado led off the sixth with a single. Two batters later, Ian Desmond smashed a two-run home run to left field to bring the game to within one run.
Estévez pitched a scoreless sixth and Bryan Shaw put up two goose eggs in the seventh and eighth, but the Rockies went down in order in the top half of each inning, failing to tie the ballgame.
Phillies closer Hector Neris came on for the ninth and earned his sixth save by striking out the man of the night and shutting out Rodgers in his debut.