Los Angeles Dodgers stump Colorado Rockies' starter Chad Kuhl and roll to another win

The Denver Gazette
The Denver Gazette
Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Kuhl reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Los Angeles Dodgers' Trayce Thompson during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 29, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) David Zalubowski

DENVER — It was just over a month ago that Chad Kuhl strutted off the mound after pitching the best game of his career.

A complete game shut out against the Dodgers, against one of the deadliest lineups in the league. It was a life-long goal for him to get through nine innings, and he was ecstatic after.

Then it all came crashing down.

Since that day, Kuhl has a 8.71 ERA. On Friday, facing off against a very similar Dodgers lineup as in that game a month ago, Kuhl made it just 3 ⅔ innings before being pulled. He gave up all five of the Dodgers runs as Los Angeles won 5-4 and snubbed a late-inning comeback attempt by the Rockies that just wasn't enough.

"I've just been terrible," Kuhl said. "I'm just frustrated with myself and how bad I've been."

In the complete game shutout June 27, Kuhl's fastball command was located almost perfectly and his curve ball and slider went exactly where he needed.

That wasn't the case on Friday.

He walked four, loading the bases twice. The Dodgers hit two, two-run home runs, one in the first and another in the second. They added another run in the third, with a sacrifice fly after Kuhl walked two and C.J. Cron committed an error.

"I just thought my execution was really bad and I've been really bad," he said. "It's really just execution and not being in the zone enough, falling behind."

Kuhl hasn't pitched a full major league season since 2017, as Tommy John surgery, the pandemic and a case of COVID limited his time over the past four years. He admitted that it could be a little bit of fatigue, but that his arm feels fine. The Rockies are considering scheduling a break for him, but need him for the upcoming stretch with a doubleheader on Tuesday and no days off next week.

"I just think it's a combination of things," Kuhl said. "I think its pitch calling out there. I have to be better out there. Mechanically we are close to getting back to where we were earlier in this year. It's all been bad."

Ryan Feltner, recalled on Friday after the bullpen was taxed the night before, replaced Kuhl for 3 ⅓ innings of work, striking out two and allowing no runs.

The offense, until Friday's ninth, hadn't been able to get anything going these past two days. They were stumped 13-0 on Thursday, and on Friday sneaked in just two runs. The Rockies scored both in the second. Randal Grichuk tripled to drive in José Iglesias. Then Ryan McMahon hit a sacrifice fly.

Colorado made a late push in the bottom of the ninth, after singles from Kris Bryant and Brendan Rodgers. José Iglesias walked with two outs to load the bases. Then Randal Grichuk hit a RBI single to drive two runs home. McMahon came up next and hit a fly ball to left field to end the game.

The Rockies, lately, have lacked production from some of their top players. Connor Joe, who had been batting leadoff and was one of Colorado's best at getting on base earlier this season, batted eighth on Friday and went 0-for-3. Joe has not had a hit in his last 13 at bats.

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