Mistakes cost Rox vs. Idaho Falls
GJ drops playoff opener
Bad throws, misplayed balls and base running mistakes all played a role Monday night in the Grand Junction Rockies’ 7-1 loss to Idaho Falls in the first game of the Pioneer League South Division playoffs.
The Rockies, who won six of their final eight regular-season games, made eight infield errors, leading to seven unearned runs for the Chukars.
“We just couldn’t catch the ball, couldn’t throw the ball,” Grand Junction manager Anthony Sanders said after the game. “The guys were loose all day, they were loose in the clubhouse. The lights came on and maybe some of these young guys froze up.”
Devin Burke, despite two first-inning errors leading to three runs, gave the Rockies a chance to stay in the game. He pitched six innings, giving up only four hits and walking one, but the Chukars scored six runs against him.
“He started off a little bit up in the zone but after that he settled down and was down in the zone and gave us the chance to get back into it,” Sanders said. “We never made a move. We took too many called strikes and weren’t aggressive. I think we took some of our defense to the plate tonight.”
The Rockies scored one in the top of the third when Cesar Galvez tripled and scored when Raimel Tapia grounded out. It was the only earned run of the game.
Idaho Falls picked up another run in the bottom of the inning when the Rockies committed three more errors. Galvez had a throwing error on a ground ball by Cody Stubbs, and with one out, Correlle Prime had a fielding error at first, sending Stubbs to second.
Frank Schwindel grounded to short, but Galvez couldn’t handle Zach Osborne’s throw from the hole in short. The ball went into right field, allowing Stubbs to score. Right fielder Ryan Garvey threw Mauricio Ramos out at third after fielding the throw.
Carlos Estevez gave up another unearned run in the seventh, relieving Burke with runners on first and second after another fielding error and Burke’s only walk of the game.
Both of those runners came around to score on what should have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, the ball was misplayed by Osborne, and another run came home on a groundout.
Third baseman Ryan McMahon made three errors, Osborne and Galvez two each and Prime one.
Offensively, the Rockies had six hits to Idaho Falls’ five, but struck out 10 times, taking called third strikes six times.
Idaho Falls starter Jonathan Dziedzic struck out the side in the second and fanned six in the game to pick up the victory, allowing one run on four hits in his five innings.
Three times, the Rockies were picked off first by either Dziedzic or catcher Frank Schwindel, and McMahon was also caught stealing.
The teams play Game 2 of the best-of-three series at 7:05 tonight at Suplizio Field, with the Rockies needing to win to extend their season. Zach Jemiola will start for the Rockies against Patrick Conroy.
“I think the best thing for us right now is to come home to Grand Junction, to our home crowd where we’re used to playing and will be excited,” Sanders said.
“Watching our guys, they have a chip on their shoulder right now. They’re a little bit embarrassed and they feel like they have something to prove.”