Kiszla: In 4-0 playoff loss, Rockies sluggers Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story learn there’s no misery like October misery

MILWAUKEE — In October, every strikeout feels like the end of a dream. Maybe that explains why Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado slammed his helmet on the ground in disgust and angrily tossed a bat he wanted to banish to a wood-chipper.

“In the playoffs, it’s all about the big-time moments. You’ve got to be able to do something then. And I wasn’t able to do it there,” said Arenado, who whiffed on three pitches with two runners on base, then threw a tantrum in Milwaukee, where the Rockies lost, 4-0, on Friday.

It felt like 40-0. Welcome, Mr. Arenado. You’ve joined the most brutal club in baseball. Everything is bigger in October. The glory. And the failure.

During the most desperate moment of a tough loss that pushed Colorado way too close to playoff elimination for comfort, MVP candidate Trevor Story swung and missed on a pitch Milwaukee reliever Jeremy Jeffress threw like a textbook bounce pass taught by Mike Krzyzewski, skipping the baseball in the dirt at least two feet in front of home plate.

“Everybody wants to do good. I wouldn’t say I was trying too hard. But obviously I was chasing a little bit,” Story said.

Every kid dreams of October baseball until it turns into a nightmare. Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and every superstar that has felt the burden of the postseason on his shoulders could have told you that, Mr. Story. But it’s a humbling lesson every major leaguer must learn the hard way.

By any measure, Arenado and Story are two of the 20 best players in the major leagues. Against the Brewers, however, they have played more like “Squints” Palledorous and “Yeah Yeah” McClennan from “The Sandlot.”

As the Brewers swept two games at home, Story and Arenado went MIA in the MKE. Together, they contributed only two hits and a single RBI during 15 at-bats, striking out nine times.

Arenado and Story are both tightly wound competitors. Their anxiety has been contagious. During this best-of-five series, Rockies hits in Milwaukee have been scarcer than vegetables on menus in this city.

In Wisconsin, the four major food groups are: 1) beer; 2) brats; 3) cheese curds, and 4) more beer. (Not that I’m complaining.)

With a Colorado hitter at the dish, the four primary results have been: 1) strikeout swinging; 2) stranding a runner in scoring position; 3) a 13-bounce grounder to the second baseman, and 4) a bat broken on the knee of Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta in frustration.

This has been a shocking and revolting development to the three million patrons who basked in the sunshine of Coors Field, where the baseball is filled with helium, all the better for Story and Arenado to smack home runs over Mt. Evans.

But the dirty little secret of the Colorado offense has been revealed during the first week of October. Outside the 303 area code, the Rockies are pretty near the worst hitters in the majors. On the road, their team batting average was .225 during the regular season, a full …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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