As the Rockies current streak of success began, I pointed out that it was still mostly the offense that had been carrying the day. Small gains in the starting rotation had been negated by a step back by the bullpen, meaning the Rockies still had to squeak out 7-6 victories. In the last week, however, the bullpen has come back into form and the rotation has taken another step forward with the return of Jhoulys Chacin. The major differences in pitching between the Rockies of the last couple weeks and the Rockies at the beginning of the season are
- a decrease in the amount of strikeouts thrown
- A decrease in the total amount of home runs given up
- an increase in the amount of grounders off contact
- a big spike in the amount of runners left stranded
- a drop in BABIP allowed which means less runners in the first place
Pretty much all of the above points wrap around the middle bullet in the list, the dramatic increase in the Rockies GB% (from around 45% for 2012 overall to 56% the last two weeks) has suddenly made the team's out production on defense an efficient operation. Suddenly we're seeing starters reaching six innings, seeing the steady flow of opposing runners moving around the basepaths stopped, and most importantly seeing the team win.
The Cardinals, who just extended noted wormkiller Jake Westbrook, have been leading the league in GB% all season, and are probably the model staff for the Rockies to emulate. In that respect we can see where Colorado's staff still can make up some ground to get to a contention level, notably in reducing the amount of walks currently being allowed by Alex White, Drew Pomeranz and Tyler Chatwood. Over the remainder of the season, Rockies pitchers that maintain a high GB rate and low BB clip might gain an advantage over the rest of the pack when it comes to 2013's starter competition