A tale of two trades broke out on Friday.
The Juan Soto and Nolan Arenado blockbusters drew headlines for weeks, before and after their completion. It was part of the Nationals' haul of players from the Soto trade with the Padres last season that came through on Friday in the Rockies' 10-5 loss that saw them give up 19 hits.
MacKenzie Gore tossed six innings and allowed just two earned runs, but was quickly outshone by his fellow, former San Diego Padre in C.J. Abrams. The latter brought home three runs as part of his three-hit day that included a pair of triples.
All the while, it was Elehuris Montero — either he or Austin Gomber being the "star" of the Rockies' Arenado trade with St. Louis — misplaying balls at third base. His error in the third inning ensured José Ureña's day included just four earned runs, instead of six.
"It was sloppy and a lot of balls got through," Ryan McMahon said. "I think everybody in the infield booted one at some point, whether it was a hit or an error."
It was the second time in as many starts that Ureña failed to pitch into the fourth inning. Across five innings so far, he's already allowed eight earned runs and struck out just one en route to an inflated, 14.40 earned run average.
The beginning of the damage came on back-to-back home runs by the Nationals' Alex Call and Jeimer Candelario to start the game. The two hits flew a combined, 852 feet.
"Just not enough strikes. Not enough (being) ahead in the count, not enough first-pitch strikes," manager Bud Black said. "All the pitching principles you hear me talk about, he's not adhering to in these first two starts."
The start reaffirmed the team's long-held need for starting pitching — a supply that likely could've been inflated with trades of Daniel Bard and C.J. Cron last season before the deadline. The loss of Jon Gray and Trevor Story for nothing the season before exacerbates the issue.
Kyle Freeland, Germán Márquez and Austin Gomber all finding their footing this year may not be enough to overcome the backend of the rotation.
The demand has never been higher for the Rockies who are even struggling on offense now. And yet the supply has arguably never been lower.
The Nationals chose to tear the foundation down after a 2019 World Series win and reload with top prospects, two of which helped lead the way on Friday.
Colorado, owner of four consecutive seasons without a playoff berth, have missed the postseason 11 times and made it twice.
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