Saturday Rockpile: Rockies offensive struggles - time to press the panic button?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Is the Rockies' offense becoming a legitimate concern?

Over the last week, the Colorado Rockies offense has performed well below its usual standard. Since a nine run, 11 hit performance against David Price an the Rays last Saturday, the Rockies have failed to score more than three runs in a game. The lack of offense is even more concerning when you consider that four of the last five games were at Coors Field.

The problems have become more acute in the last three games, in which the Rockies have scored just three runs on nine hits total. With the players in the lineup, three runs and nine hits would be a lackluster performance in one game, much less three. They have struck out 38 times in the last five contests. Compounding the frustration is the fact that Rockies pitchers have given up just nine runs in the last four games, meaning they were all quite winnable with an even slightly improved offensive performance.

The struggles may just be a case of several hitters slumping at the same time. Dexter Fowler does not have a hit in his last 17 at bats, Wilin Rosario is in a 3-for-23 slump, Carlos Gonzalez is hitting a mere .222 and Nolan Arenado suffering nightmarish BABIP luck, hitting just .184 on balls in play since his call up. Throw in the fact that Troy Tulowitzki has missed several games recently and it looks like a recipe for offensive failures.

However, there have been some very worrying signs that may be the root cause of the team's various slumps. Nearly eight strike outs per game is not a good formula for success, and looking at a larger scale there have been some quite poor at bats taken in key situations by several different members of the team. The approach by Rockies hitters at the plate recently has been just ugly for the most part.

So, the question remains, are the Rockies recent offensive struggles just a blip on the radar or are they more indicative of a real problem?

Links:

Oswalt is out to reclaim his spot in the game and formerly excellent rep - CBSSports.com
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has a feature on Roy Oswalt's attempt to return to the majors with the Rockies. Oswalt threw three innings in extended spring training yesterday, allowing one earned run.

Tyler Anderson, a former first-round pick of Colorado Rockies, solid so far - Denver Post
The Denver Post's Irv Moss takes a look at Tyler Anderson, who has posted a 3.18 ERA in 39 innings at Modesto this season.

Pitching pearls in pairs: Lester, Miller nearly perfect - SI.com
Joe Lemire takes a look at a pair of stellar pitching performances from last night, Shelby Miller's gem against the Rockies and Jon Lester's equally impressive performance against Toronto.

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