Embarrassing. That’s the best way to describe the second and third innings of the Rockies’ 9-4 loss to the Brewers on Saturday afternoon. In the top of the second, up 2-0 heading into the inning, the Rockies made three errors, two by Josh Rutledge, who was playing just his third professional game at third base.
Milwaukee scored four runs in the second off the Rockies’ sloppy play, and added another run on a walk, an Aramis Ramirez single, followed by a two-out Mark Reynolds double in the top of the third. Rockies manager Walt Weiss then had his starter, Christian Friedrich, making his first major league start since 2012, walk Jean Segura to load the bases and bring opposing pitcher Wily Peralta to the plate.
It almost worked.
Friedrich got ahead of Peralta 1-2, putting him one strike away from leaving the bases loaded and limiting Colorado’s deficit to a manageable three runs. The 1-2 pitch, however, sailed high and got past catcher Michael McKenry. Ramirez scrambled home. McKenry chased the ricochet off Coors Field’s brick backstop up the first base line and made a desperate shovel pass to Friedrich covering the plate, but that was even more wild than Friederich’s pitch, allowing not just Ramirez to score, but Reynolds as well.
Then things went from bad to worse. As Friedrich, who had to retrieve the ball himself, moped back toward the field with the ball in his glove, and McKenry stood bent over at the plate, staring at the ground similarly dejected, Segura who had moved to third on the two wild throws, broke for home.
Friedrich, thinking McKenry wasn’t looking, tried to race Segura to the plate. He lost, of course, and with that the Brewers cleared the bases, scoring three runs on a wild pitch with two outs and a two-strike count on the pitcher to take an 8-2 lead.
In a painful twist for the Rockies, Friedrich struck out Peralta on the next pitch. It’s worth noting the pitch that led to the three Brewers runs could have very easily been ruled a passed ball. Friedrich missed his spot by a couple of feet, but the pitch was over the plate and below Peralta’s shoulders. With his subsequent throwing error and posture at home plate, one could pin all three runs on McKenry.
Of course, that last run never would have happened if not for Segura’s aggressive, heads-up play.