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Tim Melville makes stunning Rockies debut

Drew Creasman Avatar
August 21, 2019

 

The day began with another dose of terrible news for Rockies fans who still haven’t gotten numb to it despite a steady stream of such news all season long.

Coming on the heels of losing Scott Oberg, by far their best reliever, for the remainder of the season and hot on the trail of the Kyle Freeland issue from the night before, it was announced on Wednesday morning that the best story for Colorado in 2019 – Jon Gray – will also miss the rest of the year with a fractured left foot.

Not only that, but it was his turn to pitch in the contest against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies have already dipped well into their starting pitching depth and sent a few others to the injury ward, so the identity of Wednesday’s start was unknown.

The club barely had time to absorb the information that they would be without their best pitcher the rest of the way before learning that they would all be meeting a new person who has barely even spent time in the organization.

But Tim Melville is unknown no longer.

He had to introduce himself to his teammates and manager before the game, but he introduced himself to the world by stepping onto a national stage and pitching the game of his life.

Melville began the year with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League (aka independent baseball), in the testing grounds for the automated strike zone and the concept of stealing first base.

He had not pitched in Major League Baseball in two years and only had a grand total of 14.2 innings pitched in his MLB career after spending 11 years in minor league baseball. He had an 11.05 ERA in that span.

But on Wednesday afternoon, he was nothing short of magnificent standing atop a Major League mound. He got into a bit of trouble out of the gate, but a brilliant catch by Charlie Blackmon in right opened up the way for him to begin the game with five shutout innings.

When his surreal experience was finally over, he had tossed seven innings of one-run baseball, surrendering just two hits against a quality Diamondbacks lineup in a hitters’ park.

The Rockies got on the board right away with some seeing-eye singles out of Raimel Tapia, Trevor Story, and Blackmon and a force-out from Ryan McMahon to go up 2-0.

They added three more runs in the fourth in a rally that began when Yonder Alonso was struck by a pitch. Garrett Hampson backed that up with a single and Yonathan Daza added another one sneaking just through the left side to load the bases. Catcher Dom Nunez made sure the Rox got at least one with a sac fly to center before Melville recorded his first big league hit, a line drive single up the middle that scored Hampson.

Tapia made it 5-0 on yet another grounder that found space on the left side.

Colorado tacked on another run in the sixth on singles from Daza and Nunez and a sac bunt from… you guessed it, Tim Melville.

Arizona answered and finally got on the board in the sixth when Ketel Marte stayed back and hammered on just over the wall in right field for his 27th home run of the season, breaking up Melville’s shutout bid.

He finished that inning quickly and worked a 1-2-3 seventh to finish off his remarkable and improbable outing.

Jesus Tinoco gave up a solo shot to Alex Avila and put a pair aboard before Carlos Estevez cleaned it up in the eighth.

Jairo Diaz closed it out quickly for the 7-2 win.

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