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Rockies struggles continue as they drop third straight game 12-2 against Cubs

There is arguably no team in the National League playing worse than the Colorado Rockies as they were once again outslugged by the Chicago Cubs 12-2 on Tuesday night. The Rockies start the season 1-5, tying the 2005 and 2008 for such a start. They also feature a -33 run differential, the worst mark in all of baseball.

Kyle Freeland, making his second start after allowing 10 runs in 2 1/3 innings on Opening Day, aimed to bounce back and herald back to his success at Wrigley Field during the 2018 Wild Card game. Unfortunately, he would face the exact opposite as he was pounded for seven runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings while walking three and striking out two. Oddly enough it brought his ERA down to 27.00 on the season.

Freeland ran into immediate trouble in the first inning when Seiya Suzuki launched a 91.6 mph sinker left up over the middle of the plate to center field to score Nico Hoerner who had walked to lead off the inning. For the fifth time in six games to start the season, the Rockies have allowed multiple runs in the first inning.

The second inning didn’t fare much better for Freeland as Garrett Cooper lofted a one-out triple to right field and subsequently scored on a Nick Madrigal single to make it a 3-0 Cubs lead. Christopher Morel, who hit a “Little League” home run on Monday, blasted a 2-1 fastball to defeat left field, almost sailing over the bleachers entirely to make it a 4-0 ballgame. Two more runs would score in the third inning when a Madrigal double scored Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ to give the Cubs a commanding 6-0 lead.

“Kyle’s going to hopefully make 32, 33 starts and it happens,” manager Bud Black said in his postgame performance about Freeland’s struggles. “Stuff is fine, but a lot of pitches sort of middle-ish and they took advantage of them, some bad counts too. Kyle’s not catching any breaks, they’re not popping the ball up or mishitting.”

Rockies rookie reliever Victor Vodnik once again continues his hot start to the season out of the bullpen. With runners on first and second in the fourth inning, Vodnik worked around the jam after loading the bases, having allowed just one to score. He ended up working 1 2/3 innings, striking out three batters to hold on to a 0.00 ERA to begin the season.

Rule-5 pick Anthony Molina got the chance to stretch out, working the final three innings of the game for the Rockies. The 22-year-old is still learning on the job which was still quite evident as he allowed five runs on four hits, including a three-run home run by Cooper and a two-run shot by Bellinger. He allowed three walks and had one strikeout, leaving the game with the Cubs leading 12-2.

The Rockies offense had zero answers for Cubs starting pitcher Javier Assad. The Mexico native turned in his first quality start, tossing six shutout innings and allowing just four hits while striking out five and issuing one walk. Michael Toglia got the Rockies on the board in the seventh by belting a two-run home run off reliever Jose Cuas.

Veteran Charlie Blackmon led the Rockies offensively out of the leadoff spot. He began the game with a bunt single but was quickly doubled off on a flyball during a hit-and-run. He later added a double in the sixth inning and another in the seventh.

The rest of the Rockies lineup continued its struggles. Kris Bryant saw his hitless streak continue as he went 0-2 with a couple of hit-by-pitches. Nolan Jones, after making a costly error on Monday, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The team totaled just seven hits while drawing just two walks.

“You look at the batting averages and it’s natural for guys to press as each game goes on and they don’t get a hit or their average is down,” Black said. “Players know what they’re hitting and when you get off to a tough start, it makes a little tension. Nothing that a number of hits won’t take care of. I think they’re going to come in bunches. I think hitting is contagious.”

The hitting will need to become contagious as the Rockies have just two regular players with an average over .300 and five with an average below .200.

Up Next

Cal Qunatrill (0-1, 9.00) makes his second start of the year trying to build upon a promising outing against Arizona. Quantrill’s fastball wasn’t crisp in his first start as he battle his command with it, instead having to rely on his splitter more. He pitched five decent innings before running into trouble in the sixth but will not look to try and be the one to right the ship for the Rockies rotation.

The Cubs currently don’t have an announced starter as Justin Steele in on the injured list. The team could turn to Drew Smyly to begin the game or even Yency Almonte and opt for a bullpen day.



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