Ottavino uncorks four wild pitches
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino thought a good day's work was done. But a call didn't go his way. By the time he actually finished, he had an all-time clunker in a 12-6 loss to the Dodgers.
He thought the seventh ended with his full-count, two-out pitch to the Dodgers' Austin Barnes, but home-plate umpire Mark Carlson called a ball. From there, Ottavino fired a Rockies-record-tying four wild pitches, which accounted for five runs.
He also yielded a two-run Cody Bellinger homer and was charged with six runs in one inning.
Ottavino became the first pitcher in the 50 years -- as far back as the Elias Sports Bureau could dig by Sunday evening -- to give up four or more runs on wild pitches in a game. It is known that Ottavino's performance made the Rockies the first team in the liveball era (since 1920) to allow five runs on wild pitches.
"You can call it whatever you want," Ottavino said. "It was pretty pathetic.
"I've pitched badly before. I need to get to the drawing board and see what changes I need to make."
Ottavino entered with a 6-4 lead, but with no feel for his two-seam fastball, he had to rely on a slider that went wild. As a result, the Rockies' season-worst losing streak reached five games, and the Rockies fell to 44-2 when leading after six innings.
Was the pitch to Barnes, before any run scored, actually a strike?
"I haven't look at the pitch on the replay," Ottavino said. "In the moment, I thought it was a strike. Nobody's telling me that it is.
"Nobody is really talking to me."
The clubhouse was quiet, but folks will soon re-open dialogue with Ottavino (1-2, 4.94 ERA), the primary right-handed setup man.
"You've gotta try to pick each other up; that's what we try to do as pitchers," said Scott Oberg, who worked 1 1/3 innings. The Rockies used five relievers because starter Tyler Anderson left after 2 1/3 innings with a left hamstring cramp.
Ottavino replaced Jake McGee with runners at second and third in the seventh. The walk to Barnes loaded the bases. The first wild pitch made the count 2-0 against Yasmani Grandal.
The second wild pitch pushed the count full to Grandal, who would strike out, not that it mattered. That pitch seemed to tick off Carlson's foot and fly to the backstop. Catcher Tony Wolters had no idea where the ball went.
After an early-season concussion, Wolters switched from an old-school catcher's mask to a hockey-style helmet-mask combo. Manager Bud Black said some catchers have told him it's hard to find pitches sometimes, and the combo is not as easy to remove.
Wolters refused to blame the protection. But he didn't find the ball until he took off the mask, and before he could do anything Forsythe and Barnes were celebrating a 7-6 lead.
"I was like, 'Where the heck did it go?'" Wolters said. "It was unfortunate.
"We all have each other's backs. This game's hard."
With the bullpen stressed during this difficult stretch, Black stayed with Ottavino in the eighth, but he wild-pitched in two runs and gave up the Bellinger homer. He gave way to Greg Holland with two out, after 48 pitches.
"I didn't care," he said. "I'd have pitched until my arm fell off. I didn't want anybody to come into the game. That hurt me, too, that they had to do that."