3 takeaways from Rockies' lopsided loss to Nats

July 24th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- The Rockies want to look to the future, but Tuesday night’s 11-1 loss to the Nationals at Nationals Park, in which hit for the cycle against Colorado for the second time in his career, was their 14th in the last 17 games. They haven’t won consecutive games since June 28 and 29 and are now six games below .500.

Now is as good a time as any to look at right-hander as well as other bright spots that could mean the arrival of better days.

So here are three forward-spun takeaways from the series opener.

1. Lambert alternately thrived and survived

In his eighth Major League start, Lambert, 22, struck out eight in 5 1/3 -- to match Nats starter 's six-inning total. (With runners in scoring position against Strasburg, the Rockies were 0-for-9 with six strikeouts.) Lambert also gave up just three runs on nine hits.

His most impressive sequences came when he faced trouble. For example:

• After Turner’s first-inning leadoff homer and 's double, Lambert retired three of the next four, with a single driving in the second run of an inning that could have been far worse.

“I don’t think I changed mentally at all,” Lambert said. “I just locked in a little bit and got after the next few hitters.”

• Lambert gave up two-out hits in the second to both Strasburg and Turner, the latter off his left leg, before turning to his strength -- the fastball-changeup mix, well-spotted -- and freezing Eaton on a 1-2 fastball.

• Turner tripled to open the fifth, but Lambert fanned on three fastballs, -- whom he caught looking at a changeup -- and Adams, whom he beat on a diving change to get out of the inning without allowing a run.

“That was outstanding, really showed something there against the heart of their order, and did it with some really good fastballs,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “That was great to see from a young pitcher.”

Lambert gave up two hits and a run in the sixth, forcing his exit. The first time through the order, opponents are hitting .433 (29-for-67) against him; the second and third times they’re batting .245 (25-for-102).

“I’ve noticed that the last few games,” Lambert said. “Like today, first inning, giving up two runs but I don’t think my mindset changes. It’s the same throughout the game. I’m just trying to get ahead of hitters.”

2. Welcome, Yonder

Veteran one-time All-Star , released by the White Sox on July 3 and signed by the Rockies over the All-Star break, drove in the Rockies’ only run with an RBI double in the ninth. It was his first at-bat after being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday.

“That guy [reliever ] was throwing pretty firm, mid 90s, and Yonder squared up a fastball -- that was good to see,” Black said.

The interesting situation to watch is between the two lefty first basemen, with the regular and in the first year of a two-year, $24 million contract with a mutual option for 2021. Alonso, like Murphy, has All-Star pedigree. And Alonso has more experience defensively at first than Murphy, who spent most of his career at second base.

3. Center-left switch

This one will have to wait to see if it continues to pan out in the long run. But after switching -- who spent time at both left field and first base his first two years with the club -- to center this year, Black swapped him to left for the first time this year. played center on Tuesday night.

“It’s just to give the outfield a different look,” Black said. “We’ve been talking about it. We’ve run it by Desi and David. They’re fine. We’re going to see how that looks for a while.”