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Gray stumbles as Rockies drop second straight

Arenado, Blackmon add 4 hits each in loss | Nuggets fall to Lakers on last-second three | MWC postpones football, is Pac-12 next? | Avs get ready for Coyotes | Broncos announce practice schedule

Rockies

Nolan Arenado returned to the lineup after an off day Sunday and went 4-for-4, while Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 14 games with four hits of his own, unfortunately for the first time this season Colorado’s pitchers got hammered as the Diamondbacks held on for the 12-8 win Monday night at Coors Field.

Jon Gray started and lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on 11 hits, including a leadoff home run to Kole Calhoun to open the game. Despite the loss Colorado remains in first in the NL West, a half game ahead of the Dodgers and 1.5 ahead of the Padres.

The Rockies had trimmed an 8-3 deficit down to one by the seventh inning when shortstop Trevor Story misplayed a possible double-play grounder into a two-run single. Story’s been great at the plate this season, but he does have four errors already.

  • Lefty Kyle Freeland (2-0, 2.41 ERA) gets the start tonight (6:4o p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) for Colorado against Arizona’s Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.81 ERA).
  • Not only does Blackmon have a 14-game hitting streak, he’s leading the majors in batting average (.484), on-base percentage (.514) and on-base plus slugging (1.217). He’s been so hot that manager Bud Black compared him to former greats Barry Bonds and George Brett.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote about Story, and how he’s underrated, but undeterred and that he just keeps getting better.
  • Meanwhile, TheAthletic.com’s Nick Groke wrote about where the Rockies stand a quarter of the way through the season. He focused on Freeland, the depth of the starting rotation and Blackmon’s tear so far this season.
  • The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders talked to Freeland who said the Rockies’ pitching staff is pitching with a chip on its shoulder this season.
    He also talked to Black who said if outfielder David Dahl breaks out of his slump he likely would return to the top of Colorado’s batting order.

Nuggets

Despite sitting all of their starters for the entire fourth quarter the Nuggets nearly knocked off the top-seeded Lakers on Monday night in Orlando. Instead, Kyle Kuzma knocked down the game-winning three pointer over Bol Bol with 0.4 seconds remaining as Denver lost 124-121.

Coming off a thrilling double overtime win against Utah on Sunday head coach Michael Malone was more concerned with not over working his players vs. Los Angeles.

Jamal (Murray), Michael (Porter Jr.), Nikola (Jokic), Jerami (Grant) have all played an extremely high amount of minutes. So, this game is an opportunity for us to compete, to get better, go out there and be prepared to win, like we do every night, but whether we win or lose, I’m not going to look too much into this because of who’s available and us closely monitoring how much we’re playing our key players.”

Michael Malone said before Monday night’s game against the Lakers.

So instead, as the Nuggets headed to the fourth quarter with the score tied at 88 Denver rode a lineup of Bol, Mason Plumlee, Monte Morris, P.J. Dozier and Keita Bates-Diop against LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“Couldn’t be more proud of our group. I thought we played extremely hard against the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. … For us to sit our starters that whole fourth quarter and to have guys on the bench out there giving them all they could handle and lose a heartbreaker is always tough.”

Malone said after the game.

Porter led the Nuggets in scoring with 15 points in 24 minutes of action, while Jokic added 12 points in 25 minutes.

  • Next up for the Nuggets is the other L.A. team, the Clippers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (ESPN, Altitude, 92.5 FM). Then it’s the final game before the playoffs on Friday as Denver takes on Toronto at 1:30 p.m. (Altitude, 92.5 FM).
  • Denver is 1.5 games behind the Clippers for the No. 2 seed in the West, and one game ahead of the Rockets.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind wrote about whether the Nuggets will be able to balance building chemistry while maintaining a healthy roster.
  • Both ESPN.com and TheAthletic.com released their latest NBA Power rankings. The Nuggets checked in at No. 5 on ESPN and No. 8 on TheAthletic.

Colleges

Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker confirmed reports that the Mountain West is postponing its fall football season due to coronavirus concerns. With the announcement CSU, Air Force and Wyoming are all left waiting to see if the season will be played come spring.

Now all eyes locally turn to the Pac-12 Conference which could make an announcement as early as today as to whether the season will be postponed or canceled. Several media outlets were reporting the Pac-12 and Big Ten could make a decision in tandem.

  • The Denver Post’s Sean Keller wrote about how if the Buffs and the Pac-12 do play this season then it will prove that it’s about the money, not player safety.
  • Buffzone.com’s Pat Rooney wrote that even though college football players want to play, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to.
  • My thoughts: I think college sports, football and men’s basketball in particular, are headed for a reckoning of sorts. For way too long the structure of college athletics at the Division-1 level has been a mess. There’s no reason that at CU the football team should have to play in order to fund the athletics department as a whole. How is it that D-II and D-III schools have sports teams, when they don’t have football and men’s basketball teams that generate huge sums of money? It’s ridiculous that it’s taken a global pandemic for this problem to finally get addressed, but now the question is whether the power that be actually will figure out a solution. And that’s the other problem, there’s no one actually in charge. We’re seeing it right now with each conference making its own decisions and with schools like Nebraska saying they’ll find somewhere else to play if the Big Ten does close up shop. Imagine the NFL allowing each division to decide what its teams are going to do this season, it would be chaos. Which is exactly what we have right now thanks to the NCAA.

Avalanche

With the first round of the NHL playoffs starting today TheAthletic.com released its Power Rankings and coming in at No. 1 is the Colorado Avalanche. No. 2 in the rankings is the team who beat the Avs on Sunday, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Not surprisingly in the prediction section of the article all the voters picked the Avs to beat the Coyotes in the teams’ first round series which starts Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM).

Broncos

The Broncos announced their training camp practice schedule for this year on Monday. As of right now the team’s first practice is scheduled for this Friday and they are slated to have 18 practices over the following three weeks.

Denver opens the regular season at home on Monday, Sept. 14 against the Tennessee Titans.

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