Rockies Spring Training Recap 2/28-3/3

The first weekend of Spring Training is in the books, and the Rockies will continue their spring with a game against the San Francisco Giants at 1:10 p.m. Tuesday. P Juan Nicasio will get his first start of the spring.

Entering the first full week of games, fans got their first glimpse of top Rockies pitching prospects RHP Jonathan Gray and RHP Eddie Butler. Gray, last year’s first-round pick,  pitched two scoreless frames in his Cactus League debut during the first game of Monday’s split squad game against the Seattle Mariners. Butler became the first Rockie thus far to pitch three innings. He pitched the night cap of the split squad against the Arizona Diamondbacks and did not allow a run in his first two innings, but gave up two runs from a walk and a double in his final frame.

The Rockies dropped both exhibitions, 8-1 against the Mariners, and 5-0 against the Diamondbacks.

Diamondbacks’ top pitching prospect Archie Bradley was the shining star for Arizona in the second game as he made his first-ever Cactus League start. He helped Arizona hold Colorado to just three hits the entire game. In his three innings of work, Bradley surrendered just one hit and struck out six batters, including OF Drew Stubbs twice, OF Michael Cuddyer, OF Carlos Gonzalez and 3B Nolan Arenado.

Shortstop prospect Rosell Herrera had one of the Rockies’ hits with a pinch-hit triple in the eighth. Also with a solid performance was P Chris Martin who threw 1.1 scoreless innings.

Over the course of the first weekend, the Rockies have seen both strong pitching and offensive performances from non-roster players, as well regulars such as Gonzalez and Arenado.

Here’s a quick recap for this past weekend:

In the Spring Training opener on Friday, Colorado put on an offensive showcase with an 11-0 win against the Diamondbacks. Non-roster invitees C Ryan Casteel, C Tom Murphy and OF Jason Pridie led the way at the plate, as all three players belted home runs.

On the pitching side, LHP Franklin Morales started for the Rockies and threw two shutout innings and struck out a batter, though he did walk two. Rule 5 Draft Pick RHP Tommy Kahnle also had a scoreless outing. In an inning of work, Kahnle struck out one. RHP Chris Martin, LHP Rex Brothers, RHP Adam Ottavino and RHP Greg Burke each followed with scoreless frames of their own. LHP Tyler Matzek contributed with two scoreless innings and struck out three Diamondbacks.

However, the Rockies suffered their first loss the next day against the Cincinnati Reds, 3-2. Newly acquired RHP Jordan Lyles got the nod to start against the Reds and tossed two innings and gave up two runs on three hits. Lyles was a key part in the trade that sent CF Dexter Fowler to Houston in the offseason.

3B Nolan Arenado shined against the Reds going 3-for-3 with an infield RBI single in the third inning. The Rockies would scratch out another run in the fifth courtesy of a sacrifice fly by IF Angelys Nina to score OF Charlie Blackmon, but the Reds would silence Colorado the rest of the way to pick up the win.

In Sunday’s matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers, fans got to see the Rockies’ ace from last year, LHP Jorge De La Rosa, in his spring debut. However, De La Rosa was roughed up in the Rockies’ 6-5 loss to the Brewers. He gave up four runs in 1.2 innings with two walks and no strikeouts. The 10-year veteran is coming off the best season of his career where he compiled a 16-6 record and had an ERA 3.49 in 167.2 innings.

The Brewers jumped out to a 1-0 advantage with a home run by 2B Rickie Weeks to lead of the game.

The Rockies answered with four runs in the bottom of the first thanks to strong at-bats by newly acquired Rockies, such as OF Drew Stubbs, C Michael McKenry and OF Brandon Barnes.

Stubbs did not play in the spring opener but led off for Colorado with a single and scored off of a Carlos Gonzalez single. Gonzalez went 2-for-2 in the game with a double.

McKenry, who rejoins the Rockies after spending three years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, smacked a two-run double to score both Gonzalez and OF Michael Cuddyer, who reached on a walk. McKenry scored when Barnes lined a single to left in the next at-bat.

The Brewers answered right back to tie the game and later took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom half of the frame, the Rockies would get more support from non-roster invitees when IF Rafael Ynoa, C Jackson Williams and Pridie each contributed two-out hits to tie the game. Milwaukee would secure the one-run victory in the eighth inning when SS Hector Gomez hit a solo shot to left. RHP Chad Bettis, RHP Raul Fernandez and LHP Kraig Sitton each tossed scoreless innings in their spring debuts, while Brothers tossed a scoreless inning in his second appearance of the spring.

Other Notables: 1B/OF Kyle Parker went 1-for-8 in two games this spring.

OF Corey Dickerson went 5-for-10 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI in two games.

In two games, IF Ryan Wheeler went 3-for-9 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.

C Matt McBride went 1-for-5, but did have a triple and two walks.

IF D.J. LaMahieu (0-for-5), 1B Justin Morneau (0-for-2), and SS Troy Tulowitzki (0-for-4) all are hitless so far this spring.

News Clippings:

Jorge De La Rosa struggles with command in his first spring start

Rockies relief pitcher Matt Belisle looks to use changeup and pitch inside more.

Could the Rockies have the best pitching staff in franchise history? One blogger thinks so.

Oakland Athletics’ outfielder Josh Reddick makes spectacular catches to rob two home runs.

Cleveland Indians’ pitcher John Axford goes a perfect 18-for-18 in Oscar picks.

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