After thrilling rally, Rox drop Game 1

October 5th, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Rockies manager Bud Black dropped the term "regression to the mean" on Thursday. And even if you don't understand math or statistics, you can appreciate that the term isn't generally used in a) in a love song, or b) in celebration.

The Rockies walked away from Game 1 of the National League Division series with a 3-2 loss to the Brewers on Mike Moustakas' 10th-inning RBI single off .

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

The hit erased a spirited, if frustratingly long-in-coming, comeback. Colorado tied it with a two-run, three-hit ninth inning. The surge came after the Brewers -- who went with a non-traditional pitching plan of reliever after reliever -- had held them to one hit in eight innings.

Crew, Rox start NLDS with thriller at Miller

Now, back to the math book.

Ottavino went through the regular season holding opponents hitless on 32 occasions with an 0-2 count. But in two postseason games, he has given up two costly hits. In Tuesday's 2-1, 13-inning victory over the Cubs in the NL Wild Card Game, Javy Baez's eighth-inning RBI single tied the score. On Thursday, Moustakas barely tapped an 0-2 fastball to stay alive, then lined another fastball into right field.

The 0-2 average against him went from .000 with 31 strikeouts during the regular season to .500 (2-for-4) in October.

"I think that's maybe just the regression to the mean, but I think 'Otto' will tell you if you talked to him that some of these 0-2 pitches have got to be better-placed," Black said. "We saw one the other night against Baez. Otto is aware. It just didn't happen this afternoon, or tonight."

Ottavino had , who hit his third-inning two-run homer off starter , down 0-2 to lead off the 10th inning. But Yelich -- who could soon be celebrating an NL Most Valuable Player Award honor -- battled to a walk. With one out and two on, Ottavino had the poor luck of his shifted infield not being able to turn 's roller into a double play.

Black said he thought about intentionally walking Moustakas, who had homered in his only previous meeting with Ottavino, but "then we got ahead of him." Usually a stubborn practitioner of sliders, Ottavino -- who yanked a wild pitch earlier in the inning -- stuck with fastballs. That was fine, until it wasn't.

"I thought he was late on my fastball, under it a little bit," said Ottavino, who deferred to Black when asked whether Moustakas should have been walked. "Everybody knows I throw a lot of sliders. In that spot I wanted to elevate. I wanted to get it a little higher than I got it. I think I guessed what he was looking for wrong."

At the most important time of the season, the Rockies are left looking for more hits and runs, and maybe even energy after having played Sunday in Denver, losing the NL West tiebreaker on Monday in Los Angeles, winning the Wild Card Game on Tuesday in Chicago and losing Thursday in Milwaukee.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a team played four games in five days in four cities was the Phillies from Aug. 11-15, 1922. Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were no doubt rough by train, but none of those games had as much on the line.

"Physically, I felt really terrible during the Wild Card Game," Charlie Blackmon said. "Having the day off yesterday, I don't feel good, but I don't feel bad. So I feel like a baseball player, and 90 percent of the games are played somewhere in the middle [of feeling great and dragging]. I look forward to being right there tomorrow."

Those 1922 Phillies may have envied air travel, but not so much the Brewers' bullpen Thursday. started and faced the minimum over three innings. 's two-out triple off in the fifth was Colorado's first hit. But on the next pitch, Burnes extracted a bouncer that planted into the dirt in front of the plate for an easy out, and and combined for three more hitless innings.

"All plus-velo, good offspeed, different types -- some feel harder, some, I don't know, just different spin rates and stuff like that," Rockies third baseman said. "We saw a different pitcher every at-bat."

It wasn't until the ninth that the Rockies found their swing.

and opened with singles off . Then the Brewers caught a break when Blackmon's fly to right, originally ruled a ground-rule double, was reversed on replay. Blackmon then knocked an RBI single to divide the lead. DJ LeMahieu reached on an error to load the bases, and Arenado tied the game with a sacrifice fly.

Jeffress then got a grounder from that led to Blackmon being thrown out at the plate and he struck out to end the rally.

"Every time we feel we have a chance; that's baseball, that's the playoffs," said Parra, who drove winning pitcher 's final pitch in the top of the 10th to the warning track and thought he had a homer.

It fell short. As did the Rockies.

Yelich hung out to dry by Desmond's deke

SOUND SMART

According to Baseball-Reference, Thursday was first time two pitchers this young started opposite one another in a postseason game since the Royals' Yordano Ventura (24 years, 149 days) and Mets' (23 years, 62 days) met for Game 3 of the 2015 World Series. Woodruff was 25 years, 236 days old. Senzatela was 23 years, 256 days old.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

Senzatela threw his wild pitches in the first inning, but the second one actually pulled him out of the inning.

singled and was at first when Senzatela's pitch bounced beneath catcher Chris Iannetta. Braun took second but rounded aggressively, knowing that there is a lot of room for the catcher to cover between the plate and the backstop. Senzatela would then walk .

The next wild pitch, with batting, also forced Iannetta to search for the ball. Braun didn't stop when he rounded third, but Iannetta retrieved it in time to throw to Senzatela covering the plate.

"Two outs, I made that decision when I was halfway to third," Braun said. "Iannetta made a good play, a good throw, [Senzatela] made a good tag. Less than two outs, I wouldn't have run. Later in the game, I wouldn't have run. But one of the things we've done all year is be aggressive, force the action at times."

Senzatela was thinking right along with Braun.

"I saw Chris trying to find the ball and I thought, 'Maybe this guy was going to try to go home,'" Senzatela said.

HE SAID IT

"We only scored two runs in each game? Then yes. There's a common thread. Every time we play a game, we score two runs. That's not very good. We should probably try to do better than that tomorrow." -- Blackmon, on the team's struggles in the past three games

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY

With two aboard and no outs in the ninth, Blackmon's fly ball down the right-field line bounced in the dirt and into the right-field stands. The original ruling was that the ball hit the foul line to make it a one-run game with runners at second and third, but the call was eventually overturned and ruled a foul ball.

"I saw one angle, down the line, and from there, you could not, without a doubt, tell that it was a foul ball," Blackmon said. "So there must have been another angle. I can only hope, but I don't really think that made a big difference in the game." More >

Said Black: "I don't know whether it caught the very outside of the chalk. I don't know. It looked like it might have. I thought it might hold up."

UP NEXT

With a strong final three starts, lefty worked his way into Friday's Game 2 start, against the Brewers and onetime Rockies righty . Anderson will have to erase the memory of his lone start at Miller Park this season -- seven runs, including home runs from Shaw, and Braun -- in an 8-4 loss on Aug. 4. First pitch is slated for 2:15 p.m. MT.