The game, which I was fortunate enough to see from an upper deck along Coors Field's left side, started out inauspiciously, with former Rockies member Seth Smith greeting his old pals with a two-run shot. But the Rockies struck back quickly, via a grand slam from ol' Todd Helton in the Colorado half of the first.
The A's tried to bring this painful frame to a quick close via an intentional walk that brought pitcher Josh Outman to the plate. But he foiled this plan with a seeing-eye single to left that had just enough to plate third baseman Jared Pacheco.Suddenly, the Rox had a 5-2 advantage, and the home team's total grew to eight thanks to Michael Cuddyer muscling not one but two home runs. By the fourth inning, the Taco Bell discount deal, triggered by seven runs or more, had already kicked in...but the Rockies' lead was far from secure. The A's, who didn't have a single player in the starting lineup hitting more than .270 (eeesh), added a run apiece in the fourth, sixth and seventh, to pull within one run.
Miraculously, the score stayed 8-7 until the ninth, when closer Rafael Betancourt took the mound for Colorado. Because the Rockies haven't been protecting many leads late in contests, Betancourt was pretty much the only pitcher on the roster not to be seriously gassed, but his arm's freshness was apparently tainted by rust. He allowed veteran speedster Coco Crisp (the man with the most delicious-sounding name in baseball) to reach base and then hustle and steal his way to third, where he scored on a sacrifice fly from Collin Cowgill. Shortly thereafter, Brandon Inge doubled down the line, scoring Josh Reddick and (you guessed it) Seth Smith to complete the humiliation.
For all that, it was a beautiful evening to see a ball game -- the night air was a blessed relief from my house, where the A/C is on the fritz -- and I had a fine time. But the Rockies aren't adding much to the stadium's drawing power. The only other game I've caught in person this year, on Cinco de Mayo, went pretty much the same way: Blasts from Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzales spotted the ancient Jamie Moyer to a 6-0 lead against the Atlanta Braves, at which point he and his fellow hurlers proceeded to piss it away, with the final result being a 13-9 Braves victory.
Clearly, the Rockies have the hitting to compete, and to keep their fans in tacos. But there aren't nearly enough quality arms on the team to give the Rockies more than a whisper of a chance to be relevant in 2012 -- and the more losses like these, the more dispirited position players and fans will become.
Unless Tori Black joins the squad. That would definitely result in attendance rising, so to speak.
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More from our Baseball archive: "Jamie Moyer designated for assignment by Rox due to awful pitching."