Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black wanted his lineup to be more aggressive yet also more selective at the plate on Saturday after his team was subdued a night earlier by Arizona Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly in Phoenix.
The Rockies had more strikeouts (eight) than hits (seven) against Kelly in a 4-1 loss.
Black got what he wanted Saturday but things looked bleak again going to the ninth inning.
Colorado faced the prospect of its sixth straight road loss with another scoring shortage against the Diamondbacks, trailing 1-0 with two outs in the ninth.
That’s when Colorado rallied for four runs against Arizona closer Mark Melancon, who blew the save by allowing consecutive run-scoring singles to Yonathon Daza, Jose Iglesias and Connor Joe as part of a four-run rally in the 4-1 win.
“We have been aggressive, which at times can be really advantageous,” Black said. “You are on the attack as an offense, and you find, a lot of times, good pitchers throw first-pitch strikes. So be ready to hit.
“But at times that can work against you. Temper that aggressiveness with truly making sure you are swinging at good pitches to hit.”
The upstart Diamondbacks, buoyed by their starting pitching, must feel snakebitten after coming so close to reaching their fifth straight win — a feat they did not achieve last season.
“We played well enough to win but I think we could have done more to make it a little bit easier on ourselves,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’ve gotta regroup and come out tomorrow ready.”
Right-hander Zac Gallen, one of three Arizona starters with an ERA of 1.50 or less, will start Sunday against Colorado right-hander German Marquez (0-2, 6.92 ERA) in the rubber match of the three-game series.
Gallen (1-0, 1.27) does not qualify to be among the National League ERA leaders because he has pitched 21 1/3 innings in Arizona’s 28 games (a pitcher must pitch at least one inning per number of games played by his team to be rated among the leaders).
Kelly has an ERA of 1.22 in 37 innings. Madison Bumgarner has a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings.
Gallen is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in seven career starts against the Rockies.
Marquez has faced the Diamondbacks 19 times, including 18 starts, in his career and is 5-5 with a 3.98 ERA.
Lovullo was impressed by Saturday’s starter, Zach Davies, who allowed only three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out six and walking two.
“Zach Davies was fantastic for six and a third and it’s the first time he’s been over 100 pitches,” said Lovullo of Davies, who had 104 pitches. “His pitch count ran up and we turned it over to the bullpen. They did a really nice job and handed it off Mark. But we’ll get them (Sunday).”
Colorado’s Kyle Freeland was equally impressive as Davies on Saturday with five strikeouts and two walks in six scoreless innings while scattering five hits.
–Field Level Media