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Colorado Rockies: Unpacking what the hell happened at Coors on Wednesday

Friday 13 July, 2018 | RSS Feed

Colorado Rockies: Unpacking what the hell happened at Coors on Wednesday

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In terms of baseball, it’s certainly possible—like in the same way me going on a hike on Sunday morning is possible—but it’s wrong.

You have a pitcher who has never homered, hit his first career dinger—a 447 foot blast mind you—off of journeyman middle infielder.
This was the Colorado Rockies 19-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the dog days of baseball taken to its most extreme.
They say, you’ll see something new every time you show up to the yard. This saying really took hold at Coors Field when D-Backs’ manager Torey Lovullo played his infield in to cut off a run at the plate during the fourth inning where his club was down 12. That sentence didn’t really make sense either, neither does the next one. Lovullo pinched hit for his pitcher in the top of the second inning with another one of his pitchers.

If 3-2 is a good baseball game, this was aesthetically horrible. It was funny and stupid and delightful and beautiful, but in the same way that crashing your 2006 Mustang overnight on I-70 in the 106 mile stretch of eastern Utah without any gas stations just so you can wake up to the sun rising over the Green River Canyon is.

I’ve never seen anything like it, you will probably never see anything like it again.

“I don’t know what to think about some of it,” All-Star Charlie Blackmon said about the game.

Catchers pitched, played first, second, third and caught.
A second baseman was a better pitcher than four actual pitchers.

The Rockies didn’t bat around despite scoring 18 runs in four innings, a MLB record for that many runs that early.

10th year veteran catcher Alex Avila threw a four pitch inning and set down five straight Colorado batters in his first career pitching performance.

The D-Backs who lost by 17, actually led the game at one point.

All-Star Trevor Story struck out on a 68 mph slider (I could throw that my Sophomore year of high school.)

I could just keep listing things but that’s rather horrible writing and uninteresting. I guess from the D-Backs perspective, that would be an apt way of putting a game where your nine guys lost by 17 and two pitchers went down with injuries.

“These are tough games when you’re on the other side,” Bud Black said.

They call these games in baseball “laughers.” Despite being down a couple touchdowns in a sport where you can only score four at a time at best, even Descalso was laughing.

“Honestly, I was more nervous for that at-bat then I’ve been in a long time,” Nolan Arenado remembered when his former infield mate of two seasons stepped to the mound to face him. Arenado would hit a RBI single off Descalso. “He was smiling at me… we’re texting right now about it. My heart was beating pretty fast because I knew I’d hear from him.”
There’s nothing more to do than laugh like Descalso did—several times—during his two-and-two-thirds innings of work (the most by a non-pitcher dating back to 1998). It was also the earliest a position player worked from the hill since Sal Bando on August 29,1979 in the Brewers’ 18-8 loss to the Royals.
Using a position player on the mound that early is the same strategy a 22-year-old frat boy has about binge drinking: “might as well. I’m going to die anyway someday.”

But in baseball, sometimes, you have to play for tomorrow, today, while today is still happening. This happens all the time in the ninth inning, but that fourth…

That’s baseball pushed to its extremes. It occurs sometimes—rarely—and it’s dumb and brilliant and we love it because it’s naughty.

We love seeing position players pitch. Maybe because we like seeing the best get humbled, maybe because we laugh and say, “that’s not supposed to be like that.” Or maybe because it makes it feel like for a brief moment, that we could be out there, striking out All-Stars on pitches below the speed limit on I-25 south of C-470.

D-Backs’ fans have been spoiled to see their club explore this fetish twice in their past three games. Quite honestly, it’s one of the only things that can give you an un-ironic laugh in a loss.

Oh yeah, about Marquez’s home run off Daniel Descalso. It was the first time a pitcher homered off a position player since June 23, 1986, when Mike LaCoss did it off of Dane Iorg. LaCoss tossed a complete game allowing only three hits and a run in the Giants 18-1 shellacking of the Padres. LaCoss’s catcher that day? None other than Bob Brenly, who just happened to be broadcasting tonight’s game in the visiting TV booth.
“It was a unique game,” Black said.

“You play 162 games a year, crazy things are bound to happen,” Blackmon said.

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