Ogden sweeps series; Rockies’ pitching woes persist
The Ogden Raptors came to Grand Junction for the first time this season with a three-game losing streak in tow.
The Rockies were on a four-game winning streak.
Now, each team is heading in the opposite direction.
Ogden defeated the Rockies 10-6 on Monday night at Suplizio Field to sweep the three-game series.
The Raptors (14-8), who are 8-0 against the Rockies (10-12) this season, scored 30 runs in the series. Three of Ogden’s 15 hits were home runs, but they were all solo shots leading off an inning.
“I think we did a better job this series of being more selective at the plate, swinging at better pitches to hit,” Ogden manager Damon Berryhill said. “I know at our place we chased a lot of balls out of the strike zone and were a little bit overaggressive. I thought we did a good job of settling down for the most part and making their pitchers come to us a little better.”
Grand Junction manager Tony Diaz said the Rockies haven’t pitched or played defense well enough to defeat the Raptors.
“That isn’t the 1927 Yankees, it’s us,” Diaz said. “We haven’t pitched well for the most part. We haven’t played good (defense). What do you expect?
“Most of the time when that happens you lose whether you play a legion team. I alluded to the fact we lost an exhibition game because we pitched poorly. Those guys aren’t even professionals. It’s not them, it’s us. We’ll get over it eventually.”
Grand Junction starter Alving Mejias (1-3) lost for the third time in as many outings against the Raptors. This time, the 20-year-old from Venezuela allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Mejias limited Ogden to two runs through three innings, but the wheels came off in the fourth. He gave up five runs on six hits, five singles, and was pulled.
“Same thing, up and behind, it’s not a good combo,” said Diaz of Mejias’ outing. “He didn’t execute his pitches and paid the price.”
Ogden’s Devin Shine led off the fifth with a home run over the short porch in left field (302 feet down the line) for an 8-5 lead. Jesus Valdez went deep in the ninth.
Ogden starter Matt Laney (2-1) picked up his second win in three starts against Grand Junction. He gave up three earned runs on six hits in five innings.
He gave up a solo home run to Jeff Popick in the second.
“He came again with another slider inside,” Popick said. “He threw it 1-1 and got ahead. It was easy to recognize and just put a good swing on it.”
The Rockies scored three runs in the third, including two off an Alex Santana error.
Alex Graeter continued to hit well, doubling home a run in the fourth, but the Rockies still trailed 7-5. Graeter is 4 for 7 in his first two games after signing last week.
Popick drove in another run in the seventh with a double to the left-field wall, scoring David Dahl. Ogden led 9-6.
“If you average six runs, you should be in good shape,” Diaz said. “We still hit balls hard right at people. It’s just us. It happens in the big leagues with certain teams for whatever reason. We’re not executing against them like we execute against others. We have two choices. We can feel sorry about it or realize it’s not them, it’s us, and do what we’re capable of doing.”
Grand Junction doesn’t play the Raptors again until Aug. 3 in the second half of the season. The first half of the season ends July 28.
The Rockies don’t have a game today. Instead, they’re traveling to Montana for a seven-game road trip against Missoula and Billings. Grand Junction starts a three-game series against Missoula on Wednesday.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ben Waldrip hit .478 (11 for 23) in six games, including two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI this past week (July 2–8) to earn the Pioneer League Player of the Week award.
The 22-year-old first baseman did a majority of that damage at home. He was 4 for 4 with two home runs, a double and four RBI in one game against Orem, then hit a home run and drove in three runs on the Fourth of July.
Waldrip is hitting .407 with four home runs and 10 RBI in seven home games and .161 with two RBI in seven road games this season.
His nine-game hitting streak ended Monday night.