The Rockies are only 10 games into the 162-game regular season.
And it’s been painful.
On the field, they are 3-7, losing seven of the last eight games, including being swept by the Dodgers in their home-opening series during the weekend. And it wasn’t pretty. The Dodgers outscored them by a combined 29-14.
And off the field they will go into Monday night’s series against the streaking Braves without the availability of seven of the projected 25 members of the season-opening roster. There are six players officially on the injured list, and on Sunday, David Dahl, their most productive hitter in a season that has been an offensive challenge, came out of the 10-6 loss to the Dodgers in the third inning with a soreness just above his left hip.
Dahl is optimistic he won’t be out long.
“It’s just tight,” he said. “I think I’m going to be fine. I’m not too worried.”
There are, however, concerns with the Rockies.
A Braves team that after being swept in a season-opening three-game series at Philadelphia, but rebounded to win five of six games on a just-completed homestand will open a three-game series at Coors Field on Monday night.
The Rockies? After winning their first two games of the season the Rockies have lost seven of eight, and find themselves tied for last-place in the NL with the Giants, already five games back of the Dodgers.
For the team in general, and the injured players in particular, it’s disappointing.
Ask Daniel Murphy. He was the Rockies one significant off-season free-agent addition. He signed a two-year, $24 million deal and was penciled in to take over at first base. In the season’s second game, he dove for a ground ball, and wound up with a fractured tip to his left index finger. He most likely won’t be available until May.
“It’s very difficult to not be able to play and help on the field,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you can’t watch intently and help my teammates in another way. But it’s difficult. Any competitor wants to be out there, especially when things are not going their way. You want to be in the middle of the fire, but such is life.”
What’s that old say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Well, the Rockies have the lemons. The challenge is turning them into lemonade.
It started before the season started.
Two key relievers – left-hander Chris Rusin (upper back stiffness) and right-hander Antonio Senzatela (infection right heel) – opened the season on the disabled list. Senzatela did work five innings in his first rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday, allowing two runs. He could be available after one more appearance for the Isotopes if all goes well. Rusin, meanwhile, was impressive in a weekend bullpen session and could be sent to Albuquerque on a rehab assignment after another side session.
And then once the season began:
Game 2, March 29 at Miami, Murphy suffered the broken finger, initially feeling it was just sore from the contact with the ground, but waking the next morning, realizing it was more serious, and x-rays showed a broken finger.
Game 4, April 1 at Tampa, Left-handed reliever Jake McGee retired all four batters he faced against his former Rays teammates, but the next day landed on the disabled list with a sprained left knee.
Game 8, Friday at Coors Field, Ryan McMahon, moved from second base to first with Murphy out, tried to catch a throw from Nolan Arenado that was up the line, and Dodger Clay Bellinger hit McMahon’s left arm, resulting in a sprained left elbow and a trip to the disabled list on Saturday.
Game 9, Saturday at Coors Field, Tyler Anderson started the home opener, the previous night, and had his second forgettable effort in two starts this season. Trying to pitch through left knee inflammation, Anderson not only lost his first two starts, but worked only nine innings, giving up 18 hits and 11 runs. The Rockies placed him on the injured list.
And then on Sunday, came the injury to Dahl, which the Rockies can only hope is nothing serious. He has been the most productive bat in a lineup that has been in a season-long funk.
The Rockies, after all, embarked on a challenging 26-game stretch Friday that features:
-- Home-and-away series with the Braves, who are in town for three games beginning Monday, and host the Rockies for three games April 26-28.
-- A four-game visit to Coors Field by the Phillies (April 18-21) followed by a three-game series against the Nationals, both of whom have legitimate post-season potential.
-- A four-game visit to Milwaukee against the defending NL Central champion Brewers, who swept the Rockies in three games in the NL Division Series last October.
-- Four games in San Francisco this weekend. Now, the Giants are sitting on a 3-7 record, just like the Rockies, but in good times and bad, AT&T Park has been a headache for the Rockies.