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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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Rapids lose, Rockies make moves and more

A look at the latest news with the Rapids, Rockies, Broncos, Nuggets, CU men’s basketball and more for Saturday, July 18.

Rapids

Well, at least the Rapids made it exciting in their MLS is Back Tournament match against Sporting Kansas City on Friday night, unfortunately Colorado fell 3-2.

The Rapids took an early 1-0 lead just six minutes in, but in the second half things got a little crazy. Danny Wilson got a red card in the 61st minute and Kansas City tied the score shortly thereafter. Then the Jack Price was sent off just a little while after that. Playing down two men the Rapids allowed another goal to fall behind 2-1.

Colorado wasn’t done yet though, despite playing 9-on-11 Jonathan Lewis netted the equalizer in the 84th minute. It was all for naught though as Sporting added its third goal during stoppage time to pick up the win.

Next up for the Rapids is likely their final game of the tournament on Wednesday against Minnesota United FC.

Rockies

I wrote yesterday about how the Rockies needed to be careful with how they use relievers Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee this season. If either reached a certain number of appearances their contracts for 2021 would become player options. Well, the Rockies made sure that wasn’t going to happen as they released both pitchers on Friday.

Colorado signed Shaw and McGee to matching 3-year, $27 million deals after the 2017 season. The Rockies will have to pay both players 2020 salaries, as well as their $2 million buyouts for next year.

My thoughts: It can be hard to predict how relievers will fare from year to year, which made the signings so questionable at the time. Obviously, in hindsight, they were in fact pretty terrible signings by general manager Jeff Bridich, but at least they finally decided enough is enough.

I wonder if Colorado would have been willing to do the same if this was a regular year and they were on the hook for the entire $18 million for both players. Because remember, with the shortened season the players salaries are equally reduced.

  • In other news, the Rockies announced right-hander Daniel Bard will make the team as well as outfielder Matt Kemp and utilityman Chris Owings. Bard hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in seven years.
  • In Friday’s scrimmage Charlie Blackmon looked sharp. He singled in his first at-bat and then added a home run to right off Antonio Senzetela.
  • The Athletic broke down all the Friday news as well.

Nuggets

This should be an exciting time for Nuggets fan, unfortunately the question of who’s available to play when the NBA restarts at the end of this month makes it much less so.

Earlier this week Troy Daniel estimated there were 8-to-10 players in Orlando, but no one has officially said who all is missing. The Denver Post has a list of all the players confirmed to be down there: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Noah Vonleh, Tyler Cook, Mason Plumle, Jerami Grant, Daniels and Bol Bol.

My thoughts: This just feels like such a Nuggets thing to have happen. For a team that’s never moved up in the NBA Lottery, watched stars leave as free agents and suffered its fair share of career ending injuries to its stars, nothing really surprises me.

It’s going to be a crazy postseason, and as much as I think one of the L.A. teams will come out of the West, the Nuggets still would have a chance if they were firing on all cylinders. But if they’re short-handed just getting out of the first round will be an accomplishment.

Broncos

The Athletic breaks down what’s next for the Broncos and Justin Simmons, after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract this week.

CU Buffs men’s basketball

Colorado added it’s second commit for the 2021 class in the form of four-star Quincy Allen. Allen is one of the top players in the country, he’s ranked No. 48 overall by 247Sports.

Allen is a 6-foot-7 forward and reportedly had offers from at least 16 other schools including Georgetown, Louisville, Syracuse and Michigan.

According to 247Sports rankings the Buffs now have the No. 6 recruiting class in the country for 2021. CU’s other commit for the class is No. 70th ranked Lawson Lovering, also a four-star.

Golf

The Colorado Open at Green Valley Ranch starts next Thursday, July 23 and yesterday it added three big-name players to the field: Jennifer Kupcho, Chris DiMarco and Brandon McManus.

Kupcho is from Westminster and is currently on the LPGA Tour. She won the Colorado Women’s Open earlier this year and will be the second woman to play in the tournament.

DiMarco is a former PGA Tour player, who’s biggest claim to fame is losing to Tiger Woods in the 2005 Masters. That’s the one Tiger chipped in on the 16th hole, before eventually beating DiMarco in a playoff.

And McManus is obviously the Denver Broncos kicker. According to The Denver Post he’s a 2.2 handicap and coming off a 37th-place finish in the American Century Celebrity Tournament last week in Lake Tahoe.

Unfortunately, if you were hoping to go watch the action next week, you won’t be able to. The event is closed to fans due to COVID-19.

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Thursday, July 16 roundup

Here’s a look at the latest with Colorado teams as well as few national stories.

Broncos

Justin Simmons became the first player since John Elway took over as general manager to be franchise tagged and then not reach a contract agreement with the team. As a result he’ll play under the franchise tag this season, meaning he’ll earn $11.441 million. Read more about the deal from The Denver Post and TheDNVR.

With the state of the world right now it makes sense that the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement. And even strictly football-only I think it makes sense for both sides to revisit contract negotiations after this season, assuming there is one.

There’s no question Simmons is a really good player, I’m just not sure he’s enough of a game changer to warrant being one of the highest paid players on the field. In order for that to be the case I need to see more plays that actually, change the outcome of a game. When Von Miller was in his prime you saw that, when former safety Ed Reed was at the top of his game you saw that. But as of yet I see a really good, but not necessarily great play out of Simmons.

Avalanche

The Avs are one of the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup, assuming the playoffs manage to start and finish due to COVID-19. Free-agent signee Joonas Donskoi is one of the reasons. And it’s not just people outside the Avs locker room who believe they have a chance to win it all this year.

I honestly have no clue what to expect from the Avs when play resumes. They’ll likely be the healthiest they’ve been all season, so their offense should be fun to watch. But I just don’t know what to expect from their goalies. And a hockey series can be won or lost by a team’s net-minder.

It’s fun to imagine how exciting it could be watching the Nuggets, Avs and Rockies all in action in August though … assuming that is you have DirecTV and not Comcast or DISH.

Nuggets

Denver’s Jerami Grant used his press conference on Wednesday to shine as much light as possible on the death of Breonna Taylor and the fact that the police officers who shot and killed her are still free.

As the Denver Post story references, Grant is one of the few Nuggets players who will not be wearing a message on the back of his jersey because he believes those messages are largely symbolic.

Head coach Michael Malone thought it was great what Grant used his press conference for and I couldn’t agree more.

Rockies

The Denver Post story today was about the Rockies having a wealth of depth at catcher going into this season. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t buy it.

Tony Wolters is more than adequate, but I wouldn’t put him in the upper echelon of starting catchers in the game. Colorado’s pitchers trust him and his defense is good though, so I have no problem with him as the starter, but after that I have questions.

Between Drew Butera, Elias Diaz and Dom Nunez I’m not sure there’s a lot there. Over the course of a 162-game season maybe one of them emerges as a solid No. 2, maybe not. But this year especially there’s no time to try and figure out who the right guy is.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the catching position throughout baseball with so 60 games being played in the middle of summer in such a tight window. Even if Wolters can play 40 games, that still leave a third of the season with a subpar catcher for the Rockies and if they were to miss out on the playoffs by a few games that could end up being the difference.

Rapids

Don’t forget the Rapids next match in the MLS is Back Tournament is Friday night vs. Sporting Kansas City.

The match starts at 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes with radio coverage on Altitude 92.5 FM.

Colorado dropped its first match of the tournament 2-0 against Real Salt Lake.

National news