LOS ANGELES -- In his 11th season in the Majors, Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds is over any hand-wringing because of a slump, especially if it's more like a mini-slump with more than three months to play.The Rockies have lost three straight, the latest a 6-1 setback at Dodger Stadium
LOS ANGELES -- In his 11th season in the Majors, Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds is over any hand-wringing because of a slump, especially if it's more like a mini-slump with more than three months to play.
The Rockies have lost three straight, the latest a 6-1 setback at Dodger Stadium on Friday night. They haven't lost four in a row this season, and they face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Saturday night.
"This is fun," Reynolds said with a quick smile. "We're in the middle of it, playing meaningful baseball. That's what we live for as ballplayers. Our goal is to get to October, any way we can."
Hard to find a journey worth enjoying that runs smoothly by the plan. Starting a weekend series against the National League West leaders on the heels of being beaten by a combined score of 32-9 in three games against the D-backs certainly wasn't on anyone's itinerary.
No one planned on seeing rookie rotation sensations Jeff Hoffman, Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland, who entered their last starts a combined 21-6, get knocked around to the tune of a combined 14.11 ERA during a three-game stretch that ended with Freeland allowing five runs on 10 hits in six innings on Friday.
But pulling through takes everyone shouldering responsibility.
There's the rotation, which didn't pitch consistently even during a six-game win streak the preceded this slide. The bullpen is 45-0 when protecting a lead after the seventh inning, but it has been taxed by the short starts, and it would not have that "0" if not for late-game magic from Nolan Arenado's bat in the last two wins.
And the offense could have helped more Friday, although that was a tall order against Dodgers lefty Alex Wood (8-0).
Charlie Blackmon singled and DJ LeMahieu walked, and were at second and third in the top of the first before Wood fanned Reynolds and Ian Desmond. So no one can point at the young pitchers stringing together three clunkers.
"They've done such a great job all year long," Desmond said. "As an offense, we can push more runs across, especially me. I think I've been 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position my last few times, and those runs matter."
If there is dread or a told-you-so spirit from the Rockies' fans, it stems from six straight losing seasons -- some of which started in a promising fashion.
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who didn't start Friday because of right shoulder soreness, is the only player who has been to the playoffs with the Rockies (2009). Reynolds and Desmond bring experience in big games, but the core of what has been growing over the last several seasons -- especially Arenado, LeMahieu and Blackmon -- knows what's ahead.
"If you've been in the big leagues you've probably played meaningful baseball at some point in your life," Reynolds said. "We have a young team but they are mature. They can handle a little bit of adversity here and there."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.