The Rockies season of inconsistency costs them another series in Los Angeles.
Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (4-5, 3.28 ERA) at least got out of the gates strong, forcing two weak grounders up-the-middle before striking out Justin Turner.
Freeland would keep the Dodgers scoreless and hitless until the third. Yasiel Puig dropped a leadoff single into right and moved into scoring position on Dodger pitcher Kenta Maeda’s sac bunt. Freeland got out of the third but not before plunking Chris Taylor. While the extra baserunner didn’t hurt the Rockies, the HBP did seem like Freeland was overworking by the end of the third.
Entering the Dodgers half of the fourth, newly minted Rox-slayer Justin Turner singled up the middle. After a Matt Kemp line-drive out, Enrique Hernandez singled and Logan Forsythe scored Kemp and Hernandez on a ground-rule double. Freeland would escape the fourth after just two runs.
For the Dodgers fifth, Justin Turner and Matt Kemp again came through with hits that drove Austin Barnes in and secured the Dodgers final tally of 3-0. That would effectively end Freeland’s night.
For the Dodgers, Kenta Maeda (4-3, 3.38 ERA) was masterful, striking out 12 before walking Chris Ianetta in the seventh and giving way to the Los Angeles relief Hydra of Pedro Baez, Scott Alexander and Kenley Jansen. Jansen earned his 10th save of the season.
The Rockies bats remain an issue. Currently, only star Nolan Arenado has an average north of .300.
Of particular concern: Ian Desmond (.181), Dan Castro (.143), Pat Valaika (.125), Chris Ianetta (.209) and Carlos Gonzalez (.216). Those five play significant time for the Rox and their averages are hurting the team’s offensive production.
While the rest of the roster is not flirting with Mendoza-line hitting struggles, they still are not producing to the level we’ve come to expect. Charlie Blackmon (.263) and Trevor Story (.240) are well off the pace they’ve previously set.
Analysis doesn’t get much easier from a pitching standpoint. We’ve seen starters, middle relievers and our closer all cost the Rockies during this season.
Colorado is going to have to right this ship not only if they have their sights on a postseason berth but if they are to hold on to the division lead. The Dodgers, with last night’s win, are only 3-1/2 back of the Rockies for the NL West lead.
The time is now.