Categories
Rockies

Rockies hold on for 8-7 win over D-backs

Jon Gray pitched six innings and allowed just one run, Charlie Blackmon hammered a grand slam to put Colorado ahead 8-1 in the eighth inning and then the Rockies held on for dear life as Arizona’s rally fell just short as Colorado prevailed 8-7 on Wednesday night.

Gray looked the best he has all season as his fastball velocity was more than a mile an hour above his season average.

“To me, that’s the best stuff that Jon has had all year. I saw the velocity tick up. I saw some 95s, a bunch of 96s, I think I might have seen 97, which we haven’t seen this year. So that’s a good sign for Jon.”

Rockies manager Bud Black said of Gray’s performance after the game.

With the win, the third straight one-run victory over Arizona, Colorado (16-15) moves back over .500 on the season.

Harrowing ninth inning

After Sam Hilliard homered and Blackmon added his grand slam later in the eighth inning it appeared the Rockies would cruise to the win. Going to the bottom of the eighth the Diamondbacks trailed 8-1. And after scoring just two runs in the eighth the victory still seemed well in hand.

Tyler Kinley started the ninth for Colorado and allowed a hit and walk before being replaced. Jairo Díaz came in next and did record two outs, but also allowed two hits and a walk. The most dangerous of which was a two-run single by Christian Walker that hit the left-field wall, just a foot or two shy of being a walk-off grand slam for Arizona.

At last Jeff Hoffman came on for the Rockies and struck out Nick Ahmed to end it and pick up his first major league save.

Kemp sits out in protest of racial injustice

Colorado outfielder Matt Kemp joined a number of teams and players who choose not to play on Wednesday night in protest of police shootings of Black people in America and racial injustice as a whole in our country.

Kemp announced his decision via Instagram:

All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, as were five MLS games, three MLB games and all three WNBA games.

According to The Denver Post Rockies players had conversations in the clubhouse about postponing Wednesday’s game, but never had a formal meeting on the matter.

Extra bases

  • Colorado and Arizona finish off their four-game series this afternoon at 4:10 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet) with lefty Kyle Freeland (2-1, 2.87 ERA) starting for the Rockies against Diamondbacks righty Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.25 ERA).
  • Colorado outfielder David Dahl is “getting really close” to returning from the injured list according to Black. Dahl was an All-Star last year, but was in an 0-for-17 slump before going on the IL earlier this month.

Recent posts

Nuggets stun Clippers, advance to West finals

For the past 26 years the biggest win in Nuggets’ franchise history was when Denver knocked off the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the 1994 NBA playoffs and Dikembe Mutombo was seen on the floor clutching the ball over his head afterward. It’s safe to say there’s a new No. 1 in town […]

Broncos surrender late lead in 16-14 loss to Titans

In an ending that was eerily reminiscent of so many losses last season, the Broncos watched the Titans drive 83 yards on 12 plays, capped off by Stephen Gostkowski’s 25-yard field goal, as Tennessee rallied to beat Denver 16-14 in the season opener on Monday Night Football at Empower Field. When it was over, it […]

Broncos-Titans betting guide and offers

The Broncos 2020 season finally begins tonight as Denver welcomes in Tennessee to Empower Field in the second game of ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m. Tennessee favored At DraftKings Sportsbook Denver is listed at +3, in what was a pick ’em game before news of Von Miller’s injury broke. […]

Rockies fall as bullpen, offense again stumble

Starting pitcher Ryan Castellani struggled through 5 1/3 innings Sunday, but somehow allowed only one unearned run and left with the Rockies leading 3-1. Unfortunately Colorado wouldn’t score again, while the Angels rallied for a 5-3 victory at Coors Field. Castellani allowed just one hit, but walked six and hit a batter over the course […]

Nuggets rally, force Game 7 vs. Clippers

Despite trailing by 19 points in the third quarter the Nuggets rallied on Sunday afternoon in Orlando to beat the Clippers 111-98 and force Game 7 in the Western Conference semifinals. Center Nikola Jokić led Denver with 34 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. He had this to say after the win: “Maybe this is […]

Top Colorado sportsbook offers for NFL opening weekend

With the NFL season underway, the NBA and NHL playoffs still going and the MLB season winding down the sportsbooks in Colorado have tons of great offers going this weekend. Let’s look at some of the best. FanDuel FanDuel continues to offer up great promotions and this weekend is no exception. Friday they have an […]

Categories
Rockies

Castellani’s first career win ends Rockies skid

Rockies rookie Ryan Castellani threw six innings, allowing just two runs on three hits as Colorado beat Arizona 3-2 on Monday night to end the Rockies’ seven-game losing streak.

The win was the first of Castellani’s career and it was fitting that it was at Arizona’s Chase Field, just five minutes from his high school. Castellani still lives in Arizona and his wife and young son were watching the game from the family’s Scottsdale home.

“I grew up going to these games here. I’ve sat everywhere in the stadium, and now for things to come full circle and be on the mound to get my first win here is just amazing.”

Castellani said after his first major league win.

The Rockies offense didn’t do a lot, but this time it did enough to get the job done. Trevor Story hit his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot in the first inning. Colorado’s second run came by way of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Daniel Murphy. And the winning run was scored when Raimel Tapia drove in Tony Wolters with a single in the fifth inning.

Daniel Bard worked a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his second save of the season.

  • Story now has 20 home runs against Arizona, the second most of any opponent. He has 21 against the Giants.
  • Outfielder Charlie Blackmon was a late scratch from Monday’s game due to left quad tightness. Manager Bud Black said Blackmon is day-to-day.
  • Meanwhile outfielder David Dahl and pitcher Chi Chi González continue to work their way back from injuries. Dahl is expected to hit off González in a simulated game Tuesday.
  • The two teams are back in action tonight at 7:40 p.m. (AT&N SportsNet) with Germán Márquez (2-4, 4.38 ERA) looking to bounce back from his worst start of the season for the Rockies against Alex Young (1-1, 4.50 ERA) of the Diamondbacks.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Nick Groke and Pedro Moura had a good story about former Colorado reliever Jake McGee who is now with the Dodgers. Groke and Moura look at how the Dodgers have got McGee’s career back on track after he struggled with the Rockies.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Drew Creasman and Patrick Lyons took a look at various questions surrounding the Rockies, including “Who are the Rockies right now?”
  • Lastly, MLB.com had its writers back bold predictions for what each team will do at this year’s trade deadline which is Aug. 31. Thomas Harding wrote that the Rockies will trade for Texas’ Shin-Soo Choo. And if not Choo, the other name he suggested was Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr.. Both Choo and Bradley will be free agents after this season.
Categories
Uncategorized

Late-game scoring barrage leads Avs to 3-0 Game 1 win

Avalanche

Colorado dominated Game 1 of its first-round playoff series against Arizona on Wednesday afternoon in Edmonton, but the game was still scoreless more than halfway through the third period and then the floodgates opened. Nazem Kadri scored a power-play goal at the 13:05 mark, 10 seconds later J.T. Compher put the Avalanche up 2-0 and Mikko Rantanen added the final goal just over a minute later as the Avs won 3-0.

In all Colorado scored three goals in span of 1:23, the third fastest three-goal barrage in Avs’ playoff history.

“It is just a momentum builder, I think. We have seen games in the playoffs before – a team dominates and the opposition still be in the game and able to scrape out wins. It was just a matter of time. Their goaltender played great and gave their team an opportunity to win, but that being said, we just stayed relentless, stayed on the puck and we knew it was going to come sooner or later.”

Nazem Kadri said after the game.

Overshadowed by the late-game scoring binge was Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer who stopped all 14 shots he faced to earn his second career playoff shutout. With the win he also moved into sole possession of second place on Colorado’s all-time playoff wins list with nine. He’s only slightly behind leader Patrick Roy who won 81 playoff games and two Stanley Cup titles with the Avalanche.

The best-of-seven series resumes with Game 2 on Friday at noon (NHL Network, Altitude, 92.5 FM).

  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal posted his Avs’ player grades, and despite the 3-0 win, there’s no doubt Colorado could play even better going forward.
  • The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote about how Colorado’s play in Game 1 shows that they have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.
  • The 14 shots allowed by Colorado was a playoff record low for the team.
DateTime (MT)Home team
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
Remaining schedule in Avalanche-Coyotes first-round series.
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton.

Nuggets

On Wednesday night the Nuggets once again decided to rest their starters for the bulk of the fourth quarter and in doing so lost to the Clippers 124-111 and set themselves up with a first-round matchup against their division rival Jazz.

The Nuggets loss locked them into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference meaning they’ll face sixth-seeded Utah in the best-of-seven first round series.

As for Wednesday night’s game, Denver clearly was more interested in keeping guys fresh for the playoffs as nine players logged more than 19 minutes, with Nikola Jokić and Jerami Grant leading the way with 28 minutes a piece. Grant led the team in scoring (25 points), while Jokić had 17 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.

My thoughts: Not only did the Nuggets sweep the season series against Utah, but based on the other possible matchup I don’t think Denver could ask for a better first-round opponent. Had the Nuggets won their final two games and the Clippers lost both of theirs, Denver would have faced a Dallas team lead by Luka Dončić.

The Jazz are a tough team, and the Nuggets will have to play well to win the best-of-seven series, but they should. I’m not sure the same would have been true against the Mavericks.

  • Head coach Michael Malone is hopeful that Denver can get injured players Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip) back for the team’s series against Utah. Both Harris and Barton were starters before the break in the NBA season, the question is whether they’ll both remain so when the return. Doing so most likely would mean sitting down Michael Porter Jr. who has been stellar during the seeding games.
  • Only one NBA playoff spot still is up for grabs, with the Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzles, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers all battling for the right to take on the top-seeded Lakers in Round 1 of the Western Conference playoffs. All four teams play today, so we’ll know the two teams who will face off in the play-in by the end of the night.

Rockies

Nolan Arenado homered twice, but it wasn’t enough to stop Colorado from losing its first series of the season as the Rockies’ bullpen got hammered in a 13-7 loss to Arizona on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.

Charlie Blackmon saw his 15-game hitting streak come to an end as he went 0-for-4, his batting average is still a remarkable .472.

The score was tied at 5 going into the seventh inning, then reliever Tyler Kinley came on and gave five runs on four hits and a walk, while failing to record an out. Yency Almonte replaced him and give up three more runs, all unearned, before the inning ended with Colorado trailing 13-5.

The Rockies (12-6) are still in first place in the NL West, a half game ahead of the Dodgers (12-7).

  • Colorado is off today before welcoming in Texas for a three-game series starting Friday (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) when Ryan Castellani (0-0, 0.00 ERA) faces the Rangers’ Lance Lynn (2-0, 1.16 ERA).
  • Daniel Bard’s return to the big leagues this season has been well documented, but his stats this season are arguably even more impressive so far.
  • The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders answered readers questions including what the Rockies need to do to beat the Dodgers this season and the latest on prospect Brendan Rodgers.

Broncos

TheDNVR.com’s Andrew Mason wrote about how the Broncos will find leadership from both older and younger players alike this season.

  • Meanwhile, for you draft junkies out there, ESPN.com’s Todd McShay released his early first-round predictions for the 2021 NFL draft. He had the Broncos selecting Texas offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi with the 12th pick overall.

Colleges

Buffzone.com has tons of coverage about the Pac-12’s decision to postpone all sports until 2021. Their stories include CU athletics likely to layoff and furlough employees, but not cut sports, football head coach Karl Dorrell looking forward after the postponement and parents dealing with mixed emotions over the announcement.

Categories
Avalanche Broncos CU Buffs High school sports Nuggets Rapids Rockies Sports betting

Rockies hold on late for 8-7 win

Rockies

A pitcher’s duel suddenly turned into an offensive explosion on Tuesday night as the Rockies held on to beat the Diamondbacks 8-7 at Coors Field.

Kyle Freeland started for Colorado and went seven innings allowing two runs and was matched by Arizona’s Zac Gallen who did the same. But in the bottom of the eighth inning the Rockies sent 11 men to the plate, scored six runs and took an 8-2 lead into the ninth. Game over right? Not quite.

Phillip Diehl and Jairo Díaz came on for the Rockies and combined to give up five runs on six hits and a walk, while recording just two outs. Enter Daniel Bard who finished things off for his first save since 2011 by striking out Stephen Vogt.

Charlie Blackmon continued his red-hot hitting with another three-hit performance to run his hitting streak to 15 games, two shy of his career best. He’s now hitting .500 on the season, promoting MLB.com to ponder if he could hit .400 this season.

  • Colorado looks to win its sixth straight series to start the season in the rubber match this afternoon (1:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) as Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 2.65 ERA) takes on Arizona’s Luke Weaver (0-3, 12.19 ERA).
  • There has been a noticeable drop in the velocity of Jon Gray’s four-seam fastball this season. Last year he averaged 96.0 mph with his four-seamer, so far this year it’s been 93.8 mph. Gray’s not sure what the problem is though because he said he feels fine.

Avalanche

The waiting is finally over for the Colorado Avalanche and their fans, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs is today (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) against the Arizona Coyotes.

And the best news is fans throughout the Denver metro area will be able to watch it, as well as the rest of the Avs first-round series thanks to a decision by Altitude to not blackout the nationally televised broadcast. The same will be true for the Nuggets first-round playoff series as well.

Avalanche-Coyotes playoff schedule

DateTime (MT)Home team
Wed., Aug. 123:30 p.m.Colorado
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Colleges

On Tuesday both the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences announced that they were postponing the football season until the spring. While the Big Ten canceled its fall sports seasons for the time being, the Pac-12 took it a step further by postponing all sports through the end 2020, affecting winter sports as well.

For CU, the decision obviously postpones the football season, but also women’s golf, women’s volleyball, cross country and the fall seasons of golf and women’s tennis. The men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which usually start in early November will be pushed back to January at the earliest.

“The decision to postpone the fall sports seasons and to delay the start of the winter ones was not made in haste – but in light of current virus trends and the long term health impacts of COVID-19 remaining unknown, this was determined to be the best course of action for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”

CU athletic director Rick George said in a press release.

As it stands right now, 53 of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams have canceled the fall season.

Nuggets

The Nuggets play their second-to-last seeding game tonight (7 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM) against the Clippers.

Denver currently is the No. 3 seed in the West and could overtake the Clippers for No. 2 if Denver wins its final two games and L.A. loses its final two. The Nuggets also could fall to the fourth seed if they drop both games and Houston wins its final two.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Kendra Andrews wrote about what Monday’s loss to the Lakers says about the Nuggets bench going forward. Denver’s bench outscored the Lakers’ 57-28 in the game.
  • For you sports bettors out there, make sure to take advantage of FanDuel’s incredible offer for tonight Nuggets-Clippers game. As of this writing the Nuggets are +87 at -110 odds. What does that mean? If you bet $50, the max allowed for this offer, and the Nuggets don’t lose by 87 points or more you’ll win $45.45. So yeah, it’s free money.

Broncos

Running back Phillip Lindsay spoke to the media on Tuesday and among other things he talked about how he’s “going to have a hell of a season.”

I’ve written before that I think Lindsay got shortchanged by the Broncos this offseason. Free-agent Melvin Gordon signed a two-year $16 million deal, while Lindsay will be making $750,000 this season.

I’m not convinced Lindsay isn’t the better back, but no matter what he deserved to get a raise for what he did during his first two years in the league with the Broncos. Here’s hoping he has an even better 2020 season and finally cashes in with a big contract.

High school

The Denver Post’s Andy Yamashita wrote about the decision Colorado volleyball players might have to make going forward, play high school or club?

Categories
Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Gray stumbles as Rockies drop second straight

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.

Categories
Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Homers power Rockies past Giants

Rockies

Colorado got home runs from Trevor Story, Daniel Murphy and Charlie Blackmon as the Rockies rallied from a 3-1 seventh inning deficit to beat the Giants 6-4 on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.

With the win the Rockies won their fourth straight series to begin the season for the first time in franchise history. At 9-3 overall Colorado is off to its second-best start in history, only the 2011 team was better at 10-2.

Lefty Kyle Freeland had another solid start for the Rockies. He took a shutout into the seventh before allowing three runs in the frame and getting pulled with two outs. Yency Almonte came in and picked up his first win of the season, while Jairo Díaz worked 1 1/3 innings for his third save of the season.

  • The Rockies now head to Seattle for a three-game series starting tonight at 7:40 p.m. (AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela (2-0, 2.45 ERA) will start for Colorado against Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 4.66 ERA).
  • Manager Bud Black is using different players in the DH role lately, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story for example, and will continue to do so in order to help lighten the load for players during a busy stretch of the season. Both David Dahl and Nolan Arenado figure to be DH candidates in the future.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Nick Groke wrote about how Rockies ace Germán Márquez is working on improving his knuckle-curve, already one of the best pitches in baseball.
  • The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman wrote about how Story already is making a case for National League MVP honors this season.

Nuggets

Portland Damian Lillard torched the Nuggets for 45 points, including 11 threes, as the Nuggets two-game winning streak was snapped with a 125-115 loss to the Trail Blazers on Thursday afternoon in Orlando.

Denver was was again shorthanded as the Nuggets were without Paul Millsap (rest), Jamal Murray (hamstring), Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip).

Michael Porter Jr. once again led Denver in scoring with 27 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while Nikola Jokić only played 23 minutes and scored just eight points, although he did add 13 assists and five rebounds.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was still impressed with his team’s overall performance.

“They’re playing for their playoffs lives with all their starters, and we’ve got guys that have not played a lot of minutes in the NBA, and we’re giving them all they can handle. I wish we would’ve played with that same intensity in that second quarter, obviously, and there’s a lot to work on in terms of our defense and our 3-point defense, but you can’t ask for guys to play any harder than we did in that second half.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone
  • Denver now trails the Clippers by 1.5 games for second place in the Western Conference. Next up for the Nuggets is the Utah Jazz on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (TNT, Altitude, 92.5 FM).
  • TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind handed out player grades after the Nuggets’ loss. A few guys made the honor roll, while Torrey Craig might not want to show his parents his report card.

Avalanche

Vegas beat St. Louis 6-4 on Thursday night, meaning that the winner of the Avalanche-Golden Knights game on Saturday will be the West’s No. 1 seed, with the loser being No. 2.

When regular-season play was halted due to COVID-19 the Blues had been the top team in the Western Conference, but after back-to-back losses to the Avs and Knights the best they can do now is the third seed.

A time for Saturday’s Colorado-Vegas game has not been announced as of yet.

Broncos

Denver safety Justin Simmons talked to the media on Thursday and among other things said he wasn’t disappointed in the lack of a long-term deal this offseason and is ready to “focus on winning football games.”

Simmons is set to player this year on the franchise tag, which for safeties totals $11.441 million.

  • Meanwhile, guard Dalton Risner talked about learning to play other positions along the offensive line just in case he’s needed there due to right tackle Ja’Wuan James’ decision to opt out of the season due to coronavirus concerns.
  • And in the on-going, seemingly never-ending saga that is the Broncos ownership situation the trial that is at the heart of it was pushed back to 2021. The trial between Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace was slated to begin Sept. 1.

Local colleges

According to reports the Big Sky Conference will cancel its football season, meaning the Ed McCaffery era at Northern Colorado will be delayed for a year. As of now no official announcement has been made.

Categories
Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Marquez to start opener, Broncos nearing return, and Nuggets and Avs news

Rockies

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Colorado officially named German Marquez its starter for Friday’s opener in Texas against the Rangers. Jon Gray will start Saturday’s game and lefty Kyle Freeland will take the mound on Sunday.

Antonio Senzatela will be the team’s No. 4 starter and while manager Bud Black said Chi Chi Gonzalez and Jeff Hoffman have made the team, he did not say which would be the fifth starter.

My thoughts: What a difference a year makes. Last year Freeland as the Opening Day starter, and Gray the two years prior. Going into last season it felt like the Rockies had three really good pitchers at the top of their rotation. Now it feels more like who knows what to expect.

Marquez is right on the cusp of being one of the top pitchers in the National League, similar to where Gray was a little while back. The question is will he be able to take the next step and keep getting better.

I thought Gray was Colorado’s best pitcher last season until they shut him down near the end. But it’s hard to know what you’re getting with him. He still has ace potential, but doesn’t show it as much as you’d like.

And as for Freeland it would be hard to be worse than he was last season. And he doesn’t need to be as good as he was in 2018, but if he can regain that form Colorado really could contend this year.

Broncos

The Broncos got the all clear to start allowing their rookies and quarterbacks into their team facility at the end of this week.

If all goes according to plan players will be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis during the first two week of training camp. If less than 5% test positive the testing will be allowed to be done every other day.

Nuggets

Both Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone preached patience when it comes to evaluating the Nuggets during the NBA restart.

The team’s first scrimmage is Wednesday, but both Murray and Malone talked more about the start of the playoffs, Aug. 17, for when the team will be firing on all cylinders.

My thoughts: This really makes perfect sense. With the season hitting the pause button in mid-March, it will have been more than four months until the season resumes. A full offseason in other words.

You don’t expect, or even want, a team to be perfect to start a season. The goal is to amp up and get better until you peak come playoff time. The goal for the NBA restart should be the exact same.

Seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no home court. So the Nuggets only goal should be figuring out what they can to do peak at the right time.

Avalanche

Cale Makar was unavailable to practice for the second day in a row. The team has only said he’s “unfit” to practice and did not provide a timeline of when he might return.

Meanwhile, Connor Timmins continues to impress.

Nationally

According to various sources the NFL is offering the players the chance to have zero preseason games this year.

  • ESPN.com put out its NFL Future Power Rankings, looking at how teams are setup for the next three seasons. Broncos’ fan have to scroll all the way down to No. 24 to find Denver.