LOS ANGELES -- When a team makes unfortunate history, the way the Rockies did Saturday night with their club-record 96th loss, the focus must be on the future.
Right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who threw briefly but respectably in the 3-0 loss at Dodger Stadium, will start working on that future real soon.Chatwood (5-6) gave up the first of Matt Kemp's two home runs and two runs total, but struck out four against two walks in four innings. He seemingly had more in the tank in his last regular-season start. But manager Jim Tracy said Chatwood, who has pitched well more often than not since being called up from the Minors in August, will continue pitching. Chatwood, 22, will pitch Thursday in the Rockies' fall instructional program, then represent the team in the Arizona Fall League.
The plan is to build his innings total. Because he began the year in the Rockies' bullpen and had a chest muscle injury while in the Minors, he has thrown just 125 2/3 innings this season between the Majors, Double-A and Triple-A. Last year, Chatwood threw 142 innings as a rookie for the Angels and 16 more in the Minors.So the end of the regular season doesn't mean Chatwood has run out of chances to continue moving forward. "I'm missing some innings, so I'll go there and get some innings," Chatwood said. "I'll just keep building on what I'm doing. I feel really good about the way I'm throwing the ball right now. "Last year at the end of the year I was scuffling, trying to find it again. At the end of this year, I've found something. Me and Bo [McLaughlin, pitching coach] have been working hard. I feel really consistent with everything, throwing everything for a strike down in the zone. I'm staying taller on my back side, and that makes me fire out front, instead of leaning back and throwing the ball uphill." Speaking of uphill, that was the Rockies' plight because of an injury-depleted roster. Before the game, Tracy scratched outfielder Tyler Colvin from the lineup because of a sore left elbow. Numerous Rockies are on the disabled list. In addition, Dexter Fowler (right wrist), Carlos Gonzalez (right hamstring) and Jason Giambi (right groin) were not healthy enough to be in the lineup. Infielder Jonathan Herrera, who struck out in a pinch-hit at-bat, was the only healthy reserve.
The Rockies have not called up additional players from the Minors, who have finished their seasons, although they can have up to 40 players total. It's not clear if the Rockies will reach for reinforcements for the final four regular-season games."We did all that we could do tonight and we did it pretty well, but we weren't able to push a run across," Tracy said. "You cannot fault the effort of Tyler Chatwood, actually our entire group. Their big man hit a couple of solo homers. They scored three. We didn't get any." Colvin, who said he wasn't sure what triggered the elbow swelling, tried to put the pain aside. But when he picked up a bat, he could not move his elbow to the proper position to start his swing. Considering that he had surgery on the elbow in the Minors in 2008, he was ruled out of playing. He hopes he can play Sunday. An offense that was a big part of a four-game winning streak to end the home schedule couldn't do much against Dodgers starter Joe Blanton (10-13), who struck out six and yielded seven hits in six innings. The closest the Rockies came to a threat was the first, when Charlie Blackmon doubled with one out. But Jordan Pacheco flied out and Wilin Rosario struck out. It was the second straight shutout for the Rockies (62-96), whose loss total eclipsed those of the inaugural 1993 team and the 2005 squad. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw threw eight standout innings in Friday's game. "'Kersh' last night was tremendous, but Joe Blanton was really good tonight," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Our bullpen was lights out again. It was a good night."
The Dodgers gained a game in their chase for the final National League Wild Card spot, although any combination of three Cardinals wins or Dodger losses would end the chase.
Kemp's fourth-inning leadoff shot against Chatwood was all the Dodgers needed, although Kemp added his 22nd homer of the year, a leadoff shot in the eighth against Josh Roenicke. A.J. Ellis added an RBI single in the fourth.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.