Rox hope to rediscover mojo after rough trip
HOUSTON -- With Tropical Storm Bill looming, Houston television featured wall-to-wall weather Tuesday -- even though the weather outside closed-roof Minute Maid Park was wet but not dire. The Rockies, likewise, are wondering if their storm has arrived.
The Rockies overcame an 11-game losing streak in late April and early May. Not long ago, they had won 14 of 22 and 12 of 17 and were on the brink of being considered a National League West factor. But that was before a 1-6 road trip that concluded with Tuesday afternoon's 8-5 loss to the Astros.
At 28-36, the Rockies are trying not to be alarmist. But to climb back to where they were before the trip to Miami and Houston, they'll have to gain ground during an eight-game homestand that begins against the Astros on Wednesday and Thursday. With a 13-18 home mark, the Rockies have some proving to do at Coors Field.
"The storyline of our season has the potential to change with every series," manager Walt Weiss said. "You have a bad series, your season's over. If you go out and win a good series, things change. It's so temperamental.
"But in the bigger picture, we need to go home and have a good homestand."
They'll have to correct issues that arose Tuesday, when three plays added up to three runs -- the margin of defeat:
• Starting pitcher Chris Rusin's balk in the first led to a run that might not have scored otherwise.
• Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez's strong arm uncorked a throw up the third-base line when Jose Altuve was trying to score from second on Domingo Santana's single. A good throw would have ended the inning; instead, Luis Valbuena followed with his second homer off Rusin, a three-run shot for a 7-3 Astros lead.
• Gonzalez cut the difference to 7-5 with a two-run homer in the fifth. It would have been a three-run shot but Charlie Blackmon, who had opened the inning with a walk, tried to advance on Corey Dickerson's fly to deep center, only to be erased easily by Jake Marisnick's throw.
"We can't make mistakes like that," Gonzalez said. "We've got guys that have been around the league a long time. They have guys that just have days in the big leagues. They play better than us. That's unacceptable. It's as simple as that."
The Rockies were 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and 7-for-44 (.159) for the trip. Overall, they hit just .195 for the trip. But the poor trip wasn't solely an offensive problem.
Rusin gave up 14 runs (13 earned) in 9 1/3 innings over two starts, and Chad Bettis gave up five runs in the first two innings on Monday. The pattern of the club's pitching and hitting often undoing one another must reverse.
"It's hard for me to speak to other people, but for me, I know I need to do better," third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "I need to help guys out and get on base more, make my plays and do the best I can. We all need to look ourselves in the mirror, like, 'Am I doing the best I can to help this team win?'"