Two weeks ago, the Rockies welcomed the commencement of the 2019 season.
The talk was about having a roster capable of building off back-to-back wild-card appearances and win the first division title in the franchise’s 27th season of play. They won their first two games of the season in Miami and were looking forward to the next 160.
Then came the injuries, the losses, and the frustrations that come with a team that has followed up those two season-opening wins by losing 11 of its last 12 games -- the last seven in a row, including a Friday-into-Saturday painful 3-2, 18-inning loss at San Francisco on Friday night at Oracle Park (previously known as AT&T Park).
It was evident in the words of catcher Chris Iannetta, who came into the game in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter, and by the time the game had come to a conclusion he not only was 0-for-4 – with four strikeouts in a game for the sixth time in 1,154 career big-league games – but it was his misstep with one out in the 18th that allowed the Giants to pull out the victory.
With the bases loaded, manager Bud Black went to a five-man infield, knowing if the Rockies didn’t get the out at home plate the game would be over. The plan appeared to work to perfection. DJ Johnson induced a ground ball from Eric Kratz to Ian Desmond, who had been moved from the outfield to the infield. Desmond threw home for the force.
Iannetta, however, didn’t have his foot on home plate. Brandon Belt crossed the plate to bring an end to what is the third longest game in Rockies history – 17 1/3 innings. It is two outs shy of the Rockies 2-1 loss to the D-Backs on Aug. 15, 2006, and 4 2/3 innings shy of the 22-inning record the Rockies set in a 2-1 victory at San Diego on April 17, 2008.
“It was a great game,” said manager Bud Black. “We fought hard all night long. So, did they. It was a hard-fought game on both sides.”
It was frustrating – to be kind – for Iannetta, who has more than 12 years of big-league service, and prides himself on being fundamentally sound.
“Games like this are really tough when you are not successful, and when you don’t make the plat it’s really difficult,” Iannetta told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “It’s embarrassing. It’s frustrating. You run the gamut of internal emotions, from angry, to embarrassed, and (ticked) off, to `All right I have to come back tomorrow and find a way to do it when my number is called.”
And it doesn’t help that the Rockies, at 3-10, have matched the 2005 Rockies, who went 67-95, for the worst start in franchise history.
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