Rockies see positive signs in successful trip
LOS ANGELES -- Nolan Arenado's 16th-inning home run for a 5-4 Rockies victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday night assured the Rockies that their 10-game road trip would not be a losing one. Although Wednesday's 2-0 loss left them at .500, it marks the first time since 2009 that the Rockies have had a road trip of at least that length without a losing record.
Wednesday's two-hit shutout removed some of the luster.
"It's hard after a game like that to feel good going back home, but, yeah, it was a good road trip," Arenado said.
The Rockies believe several aspects of the accomplishment bode well for the future.
• They're buoyed by the competitiveness of Tuesday's victory over the National League West-leading Dodgers -- during which the Rockies felt Justin Turner's slide into Arenado was late and took exception, and the bullpen threw 10 scoreless innings (one-third of an inning shy of the club record) .
"We shouldn't like the team that's been reigning over the division for a couple years now," Arenado said. "We've got to fight with them. We've got to battle them. We don't want them having that attitude that whenever we come to town, they can beat us up whenever they want. That needs to be part of who we are."
• Over the 10 games, the starters were 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA, which included a rough Chris Rusin start at San Diego that he made up for Tuesday against the Dodgers, and relievers were 2-1, 3.60.
"We've got a lot of guys who compete on this team, and a lot of guys on the pitching staff are stepping up," second baseman DJ LeMahieu said. "Our late-inning guys, especially, did a great job, and our starters have done a great job. It feels good to win on the road like we have.
"You look at the late innings next year, and we've got some really good options there. This road trip, specifically, I don't think our offense has really carried us. Our pitching has carried us. It's good to see."
Over the 10 games, the Rockies batted .187 with a .235 on-base percentage and needed to prevent runs to win.
• The Rockies' road history sometimes forges the belief that they have to be perfect on the road. Tuesday had its issues, like a fly ball that landed for a run late in regulation, and plenty of missed opportunities.
"It was an ugly game, but at the end, all you want to do is get the win," said right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who left in the 16th after fouling a ball off his right foot and wasn't in Wednesday's lineup. "We played over five hours, in the rain. We used almost the entire roster. It was good to see everybody pushing through and not fading.
"The best thing you can do is win the game and send those guys home thinking about a loss."
In 2009, the Rockies went 5-5 on a July 27-Aug. 6 trip, and 8-3 from June 1-11, when they won the final eight games.
• Jason Gurka, who replaced Gonzalez in the 16th Tuesday, was the first pitcher in Rockies history to play a fielding position other than pitcher. Gurka is the only pitcher to do that in the Majors this season. Two pitchers did so last season -- the Astros' Tony Sipp in right field on June 9 and left field on June 15, and the Padres' Andrew Cashner in left field on April 24.