PHILADELPHIA — Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon was originally given a night off he didn’t want. He ended up working another rough night at the office in the 7-3 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.
McMahon had committed three errors in the previous two games. Plus, the Rockies were facing tough Phillies lefty Ranger Suárez. It was a good time for manager Bud Black to sit McMahon. However, Brendan Rodgers came down with back soreness after batting practice, so McMahon was back in the lineup.
“For me personally, and a lot of guys in this clubhouse are wired that way, I’m just trying to keep going,” McMahon said before learning that he would start on a cold night. “It’s the season. You want to play every day. That’s where Buddy and everybody else comes in. It’s their job to make you take your days so you can get through 162.”
There were no more errors Wednesday.
But in keeping with how the baseball isn’t breaking McMahon’s way, Alec Bohm’s seventh-inning bases-loaded bouncer took a left turn out of McMahon’s reach for an infield single and the Phils’ sixth run. And in the top of the eighth with two outs and the bases loaded, Brad Hand struck McMahon out on four pitches — without McMahon taking a swing.
It was one of those nights for McMahon, who did have a solid single in the seventh. The game also started as one of those nights for callup starting pitcher Ryan Feltner, who gave up a leadoff homer to Odúbel Herrera. (Feltner was also taken deep by the first Major League batter he faced, the Braves’ Ozzie Albies, on Sept. 5.) The right-hander needed 36 pitches to complete the first inning and gave up four runs in the first three frames, but he got through five with no more damage.
It’s been three of those nights for the Rockies (10-8), who have dropped a series for the first time during their unexpectedly strong start. They will need a win Thursday afternoon to keep from being swept in the four-game set.
Either way, Colorado will still be above .500 when it returns to Coors Field to face Cincinnati on Friday to start a three-game set. The Reds (3-15) would love to have the Rockies’ problems.
Though better than it had been the previous two nights, the Rockies’ offense couldn’t convert despite a career-high-tying four hits from José Iglesias and the seventh home run of the season from C.J. Cron. And the Phillies (9-10), finally starting to show that putting their eggs and dollars into the offense might pay off, added solidly throughout the game.
“We kept battling, you know, all the way through the game, which is what we do,” Black said. “We had a couple chances and things didn’t go our way with a big hit.”
McMahon is an example of battling, even when he’s not succeeding — like during the previous two games defensively or with a chance to keep the eighth alive with his bat.
He wouldn’t call his mini string of rough games a problem. He won’t let it be one. The eye test and the metrics have McMahon as one of the best in the sport at his position, and he knows he’s better than he has been in Philadelphia.
“That’s something I take a lot of pride in, so I was a little upset last night, but I can’t think about it too much,” McMahon said. “I just got to go out there and keep playing baseball.”
McMahon’s remedy is one the Rockies must apply to show that the strong start to this season doesn’t have to end. Good or bad, or uncommonly rough like it has been defensively this week, simply address the next task.
“I just tried to focus on the next batter,” McMahon said. “I have a thing I go through — a couple of thoughts every time a batter comes up. I have just stuck to it, man. You’ve got to move past it.”