Offensive struggles piling up for Rockies
Colorado strikes out 11 times against tough Phillies pitching on Monday
DENVER -- The strikeouts are piling, as are the Rockies' losses.
Nolan Arenado swung over a Jonathan Papelbon split-finger pitch with a man on base for the 11th and final strikeout of a 4-3 loss to the Phillies at Coors Field on Monday night.
Monday, with Cole Hamels fanning seven in seven innings, marked the club-record sixth straight time the Rockies reached double figures in strikeouts.
"It's been an issue here lately," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
The Rockies won two of the games, but three of the losses were by one run and another by two. The clear answer is to put the ball in play more often, although that prospect is muddied by the Rockies facing two of the Majors' top five pitchers in strikeouts (the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Hamels) during this stretch.
"We don't want to strike out," Arenado said. "That doesn't mean you get out of your plan. You have a plan, you stick to it. You live and die by it. But Cole Hamels was good, too.
"You're going to strike out against these pitchers. These pitchers on these other teams, they have these out pitches. Once you get to two strikes, they're going to throw it. He beat me a couple times and I've missed pitches to hit. That's what I feel like I've been doing a lot lately. When you miss pitches to hit, that's when you get yourself in trouble."
Throughout Rockies history, however, Coors Field has been an equalizer. Some of the game's best have struggled to keep the Rockies off the scoreboard or win games in Denver. But Monday dropped the Rockies (13-22) to 4-10 at home, with a 4.07 runs per game average.
Climbing out of it is a little tougher with defending National League batting champ Justin Morneau on the seven-day disabled list with a neck injury and concussion symptoms, Corey Dickerson often unavailable because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, and Troy Tulowitzki at .283 -- pedestrian for him.
The team continues to be disjointed. After rough starting pitching for much of April, the Rockies are getting decent innings lately. And much of the offense is sinking while Carlos Gonzalez (.207) had two hits Monday and is finding his rhythm.
"I will never doubt anybody in here," Gonzalez said. "We have really good players. At some point things are going to click. We've just got to work. Don't sit and wait until it gets to you."
The Rockies will have to keep frustration from becoming another opponent. Charlie Blackmon earned an ejection on Sunday over a strike call. On Monday, Nick Hundley, upset over a check-swing that first-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt called a strike in the eighth, was ejected for protesting as he ran toward first on the fly ball that ended the at-bat.
"Looks like he got the call right," Hundley said. "I reacted when he said that I went, not in the best way. I could have handled my emotions a little bit better there. But there was no way for what I said there, I should have been thrown out. I wish I didn't get thrown out."