Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Rockies can't break Nola's strikeout barricade

@harding_at_mlb
May 18, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- The first four games of the Rockies' current road trip have provided loads of strikeout data, far more than Colorado probably wants or needs to see. The Rockies fanned 13 times overall, including 12 times in six innings against Phillies starter Aaron Nola in Saturday's 2-1 loss at

PHILADELPHIA -- The first four games of the Rockies' current road trip have provided loads of strikeout data, far more than Colorado probably wants or needs to see.

The Rockies fanned 13 times overall, including 12 times in six innings against Phillies starter Aaron Nola in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Citizens Bank Park. In going 1-3 to start the road trip -- with every game decided by one run -- the Rockies have fanned a stunning 57 times in 39 innings (the Rockies split two extra-inning games in Boston).

Box score

“A lot of strikeouts,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Any close game there are opportunities that present themselves. And when you win a game, you get a big hit or you make a big pitch. That’s the nature of baseball. If you get the knock, you usually win a close game.”

The Rockies had several benign K’s Saturday, such as in the first when Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and David Dahl took called third strikes. Others were lamentable.

Against Nola, Tony Wolters in the second, Brendan Rodgers twice -- on the seventh pitch of fourth- and sixth-inning at-bats -- and Dahl in the fifth all struck out to end innings with runners in scoring position. Daniel Murphy's strikeout behind Nolan Arenado's leadoff double in the sixth also cost the Rockies a chance to move a runner to 90 feet away from the plate.

Dahl, who fanned three times, was especially frustrated.

“I hate striking out -- me, personally -- and I keep doing it,” said Dahl, who is hitting .296 this season but has struck out eight times in 12 at-bats this trip. “I’ve got to figure out a way to put it in play.”

Part of it, of course, was Nola (4-0), who entered with a 4.86 ERA but displayed the sharp breaking ball of his 2018 campaign, when he finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting.

“We’ve seen him on video -- probably the best breaking ball he’s had all year,” Black said. “I’m going to bet on that one. The fastball had some life to it, a little bit more velocity than what we had seen. It was up to 95 [mph] but it was a quick fastball.

“The breaking ball was really good, evident of what we saw last year.”

Of the starters, only Arenado and Raimel Tapia made it through the game without striking out.

The Rockies scored in their only inning without a strikeout. Wolters led off the seventh with a triple and pinch-hitter Ryan McMahon doubled to cut the difference to a run and chase Nola. Any further threat went asunder when Story bounced a ball to third baseman Maikel Franco, who threw out McMahon at the plate. Murphy ended the inning with a bases-loaded groundout.

“We were going on contact,” McMahon said. “With the ball behind you like that, you can’t really check to see if he’s going to bobble it or anything. I talked to Bud after and he said, ‘You have a feeling like he’s going to field it clean, make sure you get in a rundown.’”

All of the K’s left starter Antonio Senzatela (3-3) with a loss despite a stingy, if imperfect, five-inning outing. Senzatela gave up a 466-foot homer to Bryce Harper in the first inning and allowed a run to come home on a wild pitch in the third, after Tapia’s fielding error in left allowed Jean Segura to go from first to third.

Despite throwing 101 pitches and walking four, Senzatela limited damage from the five hits he yielded.

“I didn’t knock them out on any pitch today, but the changeup was working really good in the jams,” Senzatela said.

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.