Wednesday Rockpile: Playoffs? I Just Hope We Can Win a Game!

Okay, so this won't be a rant on the scale of the one I'm referencing in the title or anything, but the terrible month of May (hooray June!) the Rockies just had certainly tightens the margin for error that Colorado has in terms of qualifying for the postseason. After all, they're in 4th place now.

To make it to the 90 win plateau, the Rockies have to finish the season on a 65-43 kick. If they're going to lose less than 70 games, as I predicted at the season's outset, Colorado will have to go 68-40 the rest of the way. A below .500 team suddenly turning into a juggernaut once June rolls around? That's never happened before. At least, I can't remember a single instance in the last...oh yeah, 2009.

Matthew Leach of MLB.com still considers the Rockies to be the team to beat in the NL West. As strange as that may seem, the NL West appears to be eminently winnable this year. The Diamondbacks aren't likely serious contenders without strong and consistent pitching, while the Giants' offense has been pretty terrible. It's certainly far from inconceivable to call the Rockies' chances of winning the division decent.

The key to a rebound performance? Well, as I said two weeks ago in this space, it's scoring at least 4 runs. We know (thanks to B-Ref) that the Rockies are a fantastic 21-5 when Colorado pushes across even 4 runs this year. If you are skilled at math (or have passed the third grade) you may then have deduced that Colorado has scored less than 4 runs in an astonishing (for a team playing half of its games at Coors Field) 28 of its games. In all, the Rockies are averaging 4.46 runs per game (and allowing 4.37), but they are distributing them inefficiently. 

In other words, more than half of the time a quality start by a Rockie (at least 6 IP, 3 or less ER) would earn at best a no decision. The numbers bear this out, as the Rockies are 3-6 when their pitchers allow 3 runs this year. In fact, the team is only 12-8 when their pitchers allow 3 or less runs. Quite frankly, that's pathetic and needs to change soon. Here's hoping that the regression to the mean of Tulo and CarGo assist in that process. After all, it looks like Tulo is improving this year despite his pedestrian numbers.

So, are the Rockies still in the hunt? Of course they are. They've been quite possibly the unluckiest team in the league so far and are now employing the services of some better players. Rob Neyer names the Rockies as contenders, noting that most likely the team you see is the team you'll get, whether they improve upwards toward a level befitting the talent on the team or not.

Off-Topic.

Links

In case you hadn't heard, Troy Tulowitzki leads NL All-Star shortstop voting (he's second overall to Pujols). And it's not even close -- Tulo's got a 2:1 edge on second place Jimmy Rollins.

Grant's power rankings: hilarious as usual.

Ubaldo Jimenez continues his quest to get back on track tonight. Also, the Rockies hope to avoid a sweep.

Finally, Greg Reynolds is warming up to his long relief role. We'll see if he can wrest that job away from Clayton Mortensen/Esmil Rogers when the time comes.

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