The Colorado Rockies easily beat the Chicago Cubs again on Saturday (June 10) improving the argument that they truly are the best team in baseball this season. With rookie pitcher Jeff Hoffman on the mound, the Rockies beat the Cubs 9-1 to take Game 2 of the series. On offense, the Rockies got to Cubs starter Eddie Butler in the first inning and then reliever Pedro Strop in the ninth inning to put nice book ends on the Saturday win. Scoring three runs off of one of the better relievers in the National League (Strop) will certainly boost the confidence level of the team.
First baseman Mark Reynolds led the attack on offense, going 4-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored. Reynolds hit his 17th home run of the season in the fourth inning off Butler, putting the Rockies ahead 3-0 at the time. Leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon was 2-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and a home run of his own. Blackmon hit his 15th homer of the season in the seventh inning to help pad the lead. Both players could soon be awarded spots on the National League All-Star team.
In total, the Rockies managed nine runs on 14 hits and three walks. Meanwhile, the Rockies pitching limited the Cubs to just one run on five hits. They also struck out 11 hitters on the day, while allowing only one walk. It took Hoffman 94 pitches to get through 6 1/3 innings, but he was careful with the hitters and threw a lot of swing-and-miss stuff that helped him get ahead in counts. He has been a nice surprise to the starting rotation and continues to pitch better than some MLB experts thought he would this year.
Greg Holland is the National League Reliever of the Month!
Congratulations to Greg on this well deserved honor! ???????? pic.twitter.com/AoSas5tbac
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 2, 2017
In the updated MLB standings, the Colorado Rockies have the best record in the National League at 41-23. For the time being, the Rockies are now three full games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers (37-25), but the Dodgers play against the Cincinnati Reds a bit later on Saturday night. This is the seventh-straight victory for the Rockies, showing the team has been able to bounce back nicely from a rough series against the Seattle Mariners. The Rockies had been on a tear before losing 3-of-4 games to the Mariners, but appear to be right on track again.
The Rockies will close out this series against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday (June 11), with a 2:20 p.m. ET start time. Antonio Senzatela (8-6, 3.56) will be on the mound for the Rockies as he goes up against former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta (6-4, 4.46). Arrieta hasn’t looked like himself on the mound much this year, but he is still mixing in brilliant pitching performances between the games where he struggles. He is certainly a pitcher that the Rockies should be careful with, as he already has two career no-hitters under his belt.
The notable Colorado Rockies offense, led by players like third baseman Nolan Arenado, outfielder Charlie Blackmon, and shortstop Trevor Story is putting up a lot of runs again, but it is the pitching staff that has done a great job of keeping the Rockies in ballgames.
Through the first 63 games of this season, the Rockies had posted a 4.01 ERA, 506 strikeouts in 565 1/3 innings, and had only allowed a 0.243 batting average to opponents. That ranked them as the fifth-best pitching staff coming into Saturday, but giving up only one run to the Cubs could bump them up a spot.
Chuck’s homer landed in this tree on Sheffield Avenue! 439ft. Wow. pic.twitter.com/5TqOgQdT5s
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 10, 2017
If the Rockies can continue to hit the ball and have their starting pitchers go deep in games, then this is a team that will not only battle for the best record in the National League but one that has become a real threat to make it all the way to the World Series. While the Chicago Cubs still have too much talent to count them out, the Colorado Rockies may have arrived on the scene to steal the crown.
[Featured Image by David Banks/Getty Images]