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Feltner battles but Rockies offense and defense get caught looking in series finale loss

Ryan Feltner pitched much better than the 5-1 loss the Colorado Rockies suffered on Sunday as they dropped the series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Felter spent the offseason embracing his profile as a power pitcher. During Spring Training he made efforts to improve his fastball command, enabling him to better utilize his four-pitch mix. After suffering a skull fracture a season ago, Felter still has high potential as a top-on-the-line starter and he displayed glimpses on Sunday.

On the box score, Feltner tossed five innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on five hits with 86 pitches while issuing a pair of walks and striking out four. But given the early start to the game and faulty defense behind him, Feltner was better than what the scorebook said.

The Diamondbacks were once again able to plate multiple runs in the first inning, as they scored three runs on three runs. Corbin Carroll started things off with a walk and immediately followed things up with a stolen base upon which he moved up to third because of a throwing error by Rockies catcher Jacob Stallings. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. then singled to score the first run of the game for the Diamondbacks. Feltner would then manage to catch him off the base and the Rockies appeared to tag Gurriel out, but a replay challenge overturned the call, placing Gurriel at second. Christian Walker would then launch the first pitch he saw to left field for a two-run home run. After scoring three in the first inning, the Diamondbacks became the second team in MLB history to score multiple runs in the first inning of their first four games.

In total, Feltner threw 28 pitches, putting the Rockies in danger of having to turn to their bullpen early once again as his command was not crisp. Fortunately, he was able to find a rhythm and threw just 58 pitches over the next four innings combined. However, the fifth inning would prove to be a troublesome one for the Rockies’ defense.

After a Tucker Barnhart walk to begin the fifth inning, Felter would rebound to retire Geraldo Perdomo and Carroll to put a runner second with two outs. Ketel Marte then hit a routine flyball to left field that would end the inning, but somehow, Nolan Jones misplayed the ball and saw it kick off the end of his glove, allowing Barnhart to score. Gurriel then ripped a double to left field to score Marte and become the first player in the National League to drive in 10 or more runs in his team’s first four games since Trevor Story did so with the Rockies in 2016.

The error was the summarization of what has been a flaw for the Rockies in their first few games. While the team only has four errors on the year, including three on Sunday, the defense hasn’t been as crisp for a team that features three Gold Glove-caliber players in the infield and two more in the outfield. It will have to be something the Rockies clean up soon as defense is their calling card to back up a staff that typically pitches to contact. Still, they have also shown the heights of their infield with another pair of key double-plays.

But it would be the offense that was the bane of the Rockies on Sunday. While they outhit the Diamondbacks 8-5, they managed nothing more than a single, scoring just one run in the fifth inning. In that fifth inning, the Rockies had a chance to do more damage with one out and the bases loaded, but Jones popped up the first pitch he saw, followed by an Elehuris Montero ground ball to end the threat. Stallings led the team in hits on the day, going 2-3 with an RBI.

Diamondbacks pitching, led by Brandon Pfaadt, held the Rockies in check and had the team fooled all afternoon. In total, the Rockies struck out nine times, six of which were caught looking. Seven of Colorado’s hitters at least one strikeout, with Jones and Ryan McMahon both striking out twice. For the second time in the series, the Rockies failed to draw a walk.

Pfaadt earned the victory after allowing one run on five hits over five innings while punching out six. The bullpen then allowed just three runs over the final four innings, capped off by Kevin Ginkle striking out the side in the ninth.

The Rockies’ bullpen remained a strength as Jake Bird and Victor Vodnik combined for three perfect innings. Vodnik in particular threw two scoreless innings and remains unscathed through four innings this season. Both pitchers had one strikeout and zero walks to go along with no hits surrendered.

Up Next

The Rockies (1-3) head to Chicago where they will take on the Cubs (1-2) for a three-game series. There are reports that weather is supposed to be bad in Chicago and a double-header could be played on Thursday. Dakota Hudson is scheduled to make his Rockies debut and he will face off against the Japanese import Shota Imanaga making his Major League debut.





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