Grand Junction Rockies recap, July 11, 2017
Grand Junction 8, Ogden 5
Monday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 8-14, Ogden 11-11
The teams played at a pace that did not bode well for a travel night. Ogden headed home after the game, but the Rockies are bound for Billings, Montana, a 659-mile trek, and were scheduled to leave Monday night. The Pioneer League has today off, a tradition with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Interleague play begins Wednesday. The game took 3 hours, 49 minutes, and many fans left after five innings — it was after 9:30 p.m., and today’s a work day.
On the mound
By the fifth inning, the Raptors were on their sixth pitcher, and used eight in the game. Osiris Ramirez took the loss, facing only seven batters. Ogden’s fourth pitcher, Francis Cespedes, was reaching the low 90s, but didn’t have control, throwing four wild pitches in his one inning.
Nic Motley drew a leadoff walk against Cespedes and moved around the bases on three wild pitches. Shael Mendoza, who also walked, scored on Cespedes’ fourth wild pitch.
Grand Junction got five pitchers work, with starter Logan Longwith on a 50-pitch limit (he threw 46). Hayden Roberts came on with two out in the second inning and gave up a pair of base hits before striking out cleanup hitter Romer Cuadrado, and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth when Eric Meza grounded out to short.
Will Gaddis made his second appearance of the homestand, allowing one run in the fifth, and got in on an inning-ending double play in the sixth. Meza grounded to Chad Spanberger at first, who threw Luis Paz out at second, and Gaddis hustled over to get the return throw from Ryan Vilade at first. He threw 49 pitches, allowing two runs on six hits.
He was lifted in the seventh for Michael Agis (1-1), who retired all four men he faced and was credited with the win. Jefry Valdez retired the side in order in the ninth for his third save of the season.
In the field
The Rockies turned two double plays to end innings. Vilade back-handed a ball headed up the middle and flipped to Mendoza to start a 6-4-3 double play to end the first, and he was the middle man in the 3-6-1 double play to end the sixth.
The key inning
Getting out to an early lead has been critical for the Rockies during this homestand, winning the three games they led after the first inning. They were tied 1-1 with Orem on July 4 and lost 11-7. Monday, the Rockies put up four runs, with Mendoza leading off with a double to left. Vilade drew a one-out walk and Spanberger drove in Mendoza with a base hit. Casey Golden followed with a single to center to score Vilade, and Spanberger came home when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. Golden scored on a base hit by Todd Czinege.
Just a little breeze
The wind blew steadily in from center field all night, but in the first three innings, it was howling. Several hard-hit balls turned into pop flies. Golden muscled a leadoff home run to left field in the fifth. In the ninth, a high pop fly had Spanberger settling under the ball in fair territory, then moving well into foul territory as the wind kept pushing the ball toward the stands. He made the catch.
Around the diamond
Former Grand Junction manager and developmental supervisor Tony Diaz and his son, Anthony, made the trip Monday from Denver so Diaz could catch a game. Diaz is now the first-base coach for Colorado and said he’s enjoying his new position with the big club. He said the Rockies will be ready to make a push for the playoffs in the second half.
Grand Junction at Billings, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Dehler Park
Starting pitchers: TBA, Grand Junction, vs. Tyler Mondile, Billings (1-1, 3.86 ERA)
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel