The Colorado Rockies blew a 7-3 lead in a must-win makeup game against the Phillies on Thursday night at Coors Field. The Phillies rallied to score nine runs...that's right, nine runs in the 7th inning to put any hope of a Rockies postseason berth out of mind.
Chase Utley hit a grand slam and drove in six runs in the victory.
Manny Delcarmen's Rockies debut is one that he would like to forget. The newly-acquired right hander pitched 1/3 of an inning, giving up four runs on four hits, including a home run. He relieved Joe Beimel who couldn't get an out as he surrendered three runs on three hits, including a Ryan Howard home run to right field.
The loss puts the Rockies 6-1/2 games out of the wild card, and for all intents and purposes, out of the race.
The game also went a long way to show why the Rockies shouldn't be a playoff contender in 2010. The Phillies put on a clinic for the Rockies. They showed them how to fight from behind when they are on the road. Instead of swinging for the fences, they looked for ways to put the ball into play. Shane Victorino swatted a pitch a foot outside of the zone to left field to keep the rally going in the 7th inning.
Home runs come. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard proved that. They come during a rally in which the pitcher has given up a few base hits and has worked deep into counts. That is when the pitcher is forced to groove a pitch, and that is when the ball ends up in the seats.
The Rockies show the opposite. As good as Carlos Gonzalez is...and he is very good. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 3rd inning and one out, Gonzalez took two huge hacks, looking to hit a grand slam. Both swings came up empty and he found himself in a hole 0-2. He was called out on strikes.
The approach at the plate is similar to little league. Go up to the plate and hit the ball. Swing as hard as possible and hope for the best. The Phillies approach is to put the ball in play, find a hole and put the ball there.
If Gonzalez has an approach of looking for a pitch to hit hard, he might hit a ball up the middle, scoring two runs and keeping the rally alive. Instead, he took two big hacks at the fence and sat down as the second out of the inning, forcing a base hit in order to get a run.
The Phillies continue fighting the whole game. The Rockies hope for a big inning and hope that does the trick.
The Phillies are a playoff team. The Rockies are not.
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