Before the Rockies left for their series in Miami, a few players approached manager Bud Black about doing a themed dress day.
It’s a common way to liven up road trips across the major leagues, but for the Rockies, it seemed almost a necessity.
They had to find a way to loosen up on the road. After all, the Rockies are 4-23 away from Coors Field. That’s the worst record in MLB by quite a bit. The Diamondbacks, who are last behind the Rockies in the National League standings, have five more road wins than Colorado at 9-24.
Black approved the idea right away, and the Rockies opted for a "Miami Vice"-themed trip, complete with tropical patterned suits, fedoras, and even a few cigars.
“I think it adds a little bit of fun to the flight,” Black said, before noting that Chi Chi Gonzalez’s suit, adorned with bright green leaves, was his favorite look. “It sort of gets their minds off of certain things, which I think helps the players. I think it helps them relax.”
The flight may have been fun, but the game that followed certainly wasn’t. Pablo Lopez made sure of that.
The Rockies dropped the first of a three-game series to the Marlins 6-2 on Tuesday in Miami.
The Marlins pitcher went eight innings, giving up five hits and two runs while striking out eight. He retired the last 11 batters he faced.
"Lopez had three quality pitches tonight," Black said. "There was velocity and movement to the fastball, good movement with the change-up, and a nice breaking ball. ... He has been doing this all year. He has a good arm, and he's a good pitcher."
Colorado took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Garrett Hampson started things off with a bouncing double up the third-base line. Charlie Blackmon moved him over on an infield single that snuck past Lopez, and then Ryan McMahon grounded out to bring Hampson home.
But the Marlins scored four runs in the bottom of the third, forcing Black to make an early phone call to the bullpen for pitchers to warm up.
National League RBI leader Jesus Aguilar drove in Jon Berti with a long fly ball. Then, with two runners still on base, former Rockie Corey Dickerson smacked a low pitch to the wall for a triple that brought in two more runs. Adam Duvall capped off the efficient inning with an RBI single to make it 4-1.
Senzatela was able to get out of the inning on the following at-bat, but in addition to the four runs given up, he threw 32 pitches, giving him 52 at that point.
The Rockies got a run back in the fourth, when Blackmon scored on a wild pitch.
The center fielder, who is on an eight-game hitting streak, hit a single that put him third on the Rockies' all-time hits list (passing Larry Walker). If that wasn’t enough excitement, add in this: Tuesday was the 10-year anniversary of Blackmon’s first hit as a Rockie.
He didn't spend much time thinking about the record, or the milestone. Blackmon said that day will come, just hopefully not too soon.
"I'll think about it when I'm all done," he said. "Heaven forbid, that could be at any moment, so I have to be thankful to be able to play today. Hopefully I will get to play tomorrow. But I realize that lots of things have gone right, and I've been super lucky to get to this point."
The next two innings were scoreless for both teams, and despite the flurry of runs in the third, Senzatela pitched a solid game, even notching a career-high with eight strikeouts. He went six innings and 98 pitches.
"Baseball sort of got him in the inning where they scored the four runs," Black said. "Groundballs found the hole to start off. But I thought his stuff was fine.
"I thought he mixed his pitches well, and he had a good breaking ball."
Colorado only got one hit in the next four innings — a Dom Nunez single in the fifth — and Miami increased its lead in the bottom of the seventh.
Carlos Estevez came on in relief, but only recorded one out, giving up four singles and two runs to give the Marlins a 6-2 lead.
Ten years of Charlie Blackmon
A decade and a day ago, Blackmon made his MLB debut. The next day Blackmon had his first MLB hit, and first hit as a Rockie.
It was a one-out single to right against the Padres, and Blackmon still has the ball.
On Monday, an off day for the Rockies, Blackmon celebrated his MLB anniversary by going fishing with teammate pitcher Daniel Bard.