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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.
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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.

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Nuggets, Rockies, Rapids all in action today

Nuggets

The Nuggets are back in action today for the first time since mid-March, albeit just a scrimmage vs. the Washington Wizards (1:30 p.m., Altitude).

Denver is only expected to have nine players available to play as both Gary Harris and Torrey Craig cleared quarantine on Tuesday, but will not be available.

  • According to The Denver Post fourteen of the Nuggets players will wear messages on their jerseys supporting racial equality. Guard Troy Daniels added the team also is considering other ways of protesting, but said nothing has been decided as of now.

Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon was named a finalist for yet another award on Tuesday, this time the Hart Trophy, the NHL’s MVP. Last week the MacKinnon also was named a finalist for the Lady Byng and Ted Lindsay trophies.

The Lady Byng is given to the player who displays the best sportsmanship, along with high standards of play. MacKinnon definitely makes sense for that since his 12 penalty minutes this season are the fewest among the NHL’s top 25 scorers.

And the Ted Lindsay trophy is for the league’s “most outstanding player.”

My thoughts: I’m guessing the Lady Byng is the only regular-season hardware MacKinnon brings home this year, but he’ll be perfectly fine with that if he adds a Stanley Cup instead.

Rockies

It was just an exhibition game, but still, it was great to see the Rockies back in action on Tuesday night. Colorado beat the Rangers 5-1 as Texas opened new Globe Life Field.

Colorado got home runs from Daniel Murphy, Nolan Arenado and David Dahl in the win. The team’s square off against tonight (6 p.m.), before Opening Day on Friday.

Broncos

Today in their on-going series, The Denver Post tackled the Broncos’ running backs.

My thoughts: I still don’t understand the need to sign Melvin Gordon this offseason. I think he’s clearly an upgrade over Royce Freeman, but I’m not sure he’s an upgrade over Phillip Lindsay. And the $16 million over two years just feels like a major overpay.

I would have rather seen Denver sign a less expensive free agent (Devonta Freeman perhaps) and use the extra money for some help on the offensive line or at cornerback.

And one thing the Post article does not mention is Gordon’s problems with fumbling during his career. It doesn’t matter how well he runs this ball, if he can’t hang onto it he’ll be a liability.

  • ESPN.com published its list of the most improved teams this offseason from 1-to-32. Denver checked in at No. 6, right behind Cleveland and just in front of Arizona.
    They ranked Miami the most improved and the L.A. Rams as the least improved.

Rapids

Colorado is back in action tonight against Minnesota United (8:30 p.m., ESPN, Altitude 92.5 FM) for what likely is their final game of the MLS is Back Tournament.

The Rapids dropped the first two games of the group stage against Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City. Minnesota already has clinched a spot in the knockout round.

The Denver Post wrote about whether or not the Rapids have a discipline problem. And judging by the numbers, the do. Colorado led the MLS in red cards last year and in 2018 had 11 more yellow cards than the next closest team.

CSU Rams

The Mountain West Conference released its conference’s coaches poll on Tuesday and Colorado State was picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the Mountain Division. Not surprisingly, Boise State is picked to finish first, followed by Wyoming and Air Force.

New Mexico was the one team ranked below the Rams.