Grand Junction Rockies recap, June 23, 2017
Ogden 12, Grand Junction 11
Friday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 1-4, Ogden 2-3
Friday afternoon, Grand Junction manager Frank Gonzales lamented the number of runs the bullpen allowed in the opening series against Idaho Falls. Not much changed in the two-game series opener against the Raptors. Grand Junction’s 5-2 lead evaporated quickly, with Ogden scoring five runs on six hits and one error. In the process, the Raptors chased starter Jorge Oviedo and peppered reliever Alexander Martinez for four hits to grab a 7-5 lead. In the first five games of the season, Grand Junction has allowed 45 runs from the fifth inning on, going 1-4 in the process.
“The bullpen is doing what they’ve done the last four games and I don’t even want to know how many runs after the fifth inning we’ve given up. I think if we win some ballgames after the fifth, sixth innings out of the bullpen we have a chance to play with anybody, as many runs as we’ve been scoring,” Gonzales said. The Rockies have scored 50 runs in their first five games, but have allowed 59, with only 14 in the first four innings.
At the plate
Shael Mendoza, who entered Friday’s game hitting .706, went 1 for 3 officially to “drop” to .650, but was on base four times and scored the tying run in the bottom of the eighth after drawing his third walk of the game. Nate Coronado went 3 for 4 from the No. 8 spot in the lineup, scored twice and drove in one run. Coronado hit a home run in the sixth inning, his second, and Todd Czinege hit his first home run as a pro in the ninth to pull the Rockies within one run after Javier Guevara led off the inning with a triple. Moises Perez went 4 for 5 for the Raptors and Cristian Santana was 4 for 4.
Circling the bases
Ogden’s wild five-run fifth inning included the leadoff runner being picked off first and thrown out attempting to steal second, and two runners converging on third base at the same time. On a base hit to left by Perez, Santana made a wide turn at third, but Bates’ throw to the plate was right on the money, forcing Santana to put on the brakes. GJ catcher Hidekel Gonzalez ran him back toward third, where Hendrick Clementina was running toward the bag. Santana somehow ducked around the tag by Gonzalez and headed for the plate, where pitcher Alexander Martinez was waiting for the throw, but it sailed behind him, allowing Santana to score. Meanwhile, Clementina retreated to second, but later scored on a triple by Brock Carpenter.
The key inning
Mendoza’s speed paid dividends in the bottom of the eighth inning to score the tying run, and Ramon Marcelino raced home from second to give the Rockies a 9-8 lead. Mendoza led off the inning with a walk, his third of the game, and took second on a balk by Kameron Uter. That proved to be huge for Grand Junction, because on the balk, Tyler Bates flied out to right field. He got another chance with Mendoza on second, and a deep fly ball to center allowed Mendoza to advance to third. He scored on a double by Marcelino, and with two out, Jeff Bohling’s flare to right field got Marcelino home. Bohling tried to take second when the ball was bobbled, but was thrown out to end the inning.
Around the diamond
The Colorado Rockies on Friday extended their Player Development Contract with Albuquerque through the 2020 season. The clubs began their current 4-year contract in 2015, and it was set to expire after the 2018 season. “A few years ago we were extremely excited to have a new Triple-A home and start a new relationship with a well-respected Isotopes organization,” Rockies General Manager Jeff Bridich said in a release. “As time has passed we have come to greatly appreciate not only the Isotopes front office and fans, but the city of Albuquerque as well.”
Ogden at Grand Junction, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Justin Valdespina, GJ (0-0) vs. Carlos Felis, Ogden (0-0)
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
They said it
“Obviously Mendoza has been electric. In fact, I named him ‘Electricity,’ and hopefully Pedro Gonzalez will be the light and we’ll get things going. (Mendoza) looks like he’s on rehab here, he’s that good. He’s been really good. I hate to jinx a kid; there’s nowhere to go but down from .700. We’re kidding ourselves, a guy hitting whatever he’s hitting (.650 after Friday’s 1-for-3 night) but he has taken hold of this team and just leading out of the box, which is really cool to see.” — Frank Gonzales
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel