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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.

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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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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rapids Rockies

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.