Rockies’ bullpen fails, offense a no-show in another loss to Dodgers

The Rockies’ discombobulated season of discontent continues.

An imploding bullpen and a disappearing offense were the usual suspects in a 9-3 loss to the powerful Dodgers Thursday night at Coors Field. The Dodgers have won eight of their last 11 games in LoDo, dating back to last season.

The Rockies managed only five hits, just two after the first inning — a lonely single by Kevin Pillar to lead off the seventh and a solo homer by Trevor Story in the eighth.

The Rockies have been held to three or fewer runs in five consecutive games, the longest single-season streak at home in franchise history.

“We haven’t been getting the job done, offensively, of late,” said Story, whose 11 homers lead the team. “Our pitchers have been getting the job done, especially our starters. We haven’t picked those guys up. That’s on us.”

Colorado — 11-16 at home, 22-27 overall and all but mathematically eliminated from the eight-team playoff field — got a decent start from lefty Kyle Freeland. But it all fell apart in the Dodgers’ six-run seventh inning; the most runs they have scored in an inning this season.

Los Angeles (36-15) sent 10 men to the plate, starting their hit parade with Kike Hernandez’s one-out double off of Freeland. When Freeland walked the next batter, Edwin Ríos, manager Bud Black pulled Freeland and inserted right-hander Carlos Estevez.

That move blew up quickly when the Dodgers scored four runs (three earned) in just one-third inning off Estevez. The big blows were a run-scoring single by Mookie Betts, an RBI double by Corey Seager and a two-run double down the left-field line by Will Smith.

“I think at that point, Kyle had sort of hit the wall,” Black said, explaining his decision to remove Freeland and go with Estevez, who now has an ERA of 7.89. “(Freeland’s) stuff wasn’t as crisp as I think it was (ending) the sixth.”

Following the sixth inning, Black and Freeland consulted in the dugout.

“(Freeland) said, ‘I’ll give you one more (inning),’ and I said, ‘Great, great, You’re throwing fine,” Black said. “But then he just lost a little bit of zip on his fastball. I think when he walked Rijos, that was a sign to take him out.”

As for the decision to pitch Estevez, who’s run hot and cold this season, Black said the reasons were two-fold. He said that Mychal Givens and Yency Almonte were unavailable and he thought Estevez had the firepower to do the job.

“We went with Carlos who had three days of rest was been throwing with good velocity of late,” Black said, noting that the right-hander’s fastball was hitting 98-99 mph.

But has been the case so often lately, Estevez’s pitch location was poor and the Dodgers took full advantage. The Rockies, by the way, have allowed 27 of 66 inherited runners to score this season. That’s 40.9% and ranks last in the National League and is currently the worst percentage in franchise history.

The Dodgers added a leadoff solo homer by Ríos off Wade Davis in the eighth. Davis, who’s struggled with a shoulder injury most of the season, pitched for the first time since July 31.