June Gloom: Colorado's bad month by the numbers

Doug Pensinger

The Rockies stumbled to a 8-20 record in June this year - the worst month of June this franchise has ever had. Here are some numbers that explain Colorado's no good, very bad June.

Remember Father's Day? That was the glorious day when the Rockies completed a three game road sweep over the Giants in which they came from behind late in each win. Here's what I said in that game wrap back on June 15th:

For the near future, Rockies fans, this series will be your happy place, the shining moment during which the Rockies gave the Giants a sip of their own medicine for three days straight in the ballpark by the bay. Savor it but remember that you may need it during the long cold winter.

I just wanted to remind you that this happened, Rockies fans, because the rest of June wasn't a very fun month. That sweep was preceded by two wins at home vs. Atlanta, but before that the Rockies had lost 11 of 12 and 15 of 18, including eight times in June already. After the sweep, the Rockies have been equally bad, going 2-13 with a -36 run differential.

Here are the numbers that tell the story of just what happened in June for the Rockies:

-53

That's Colorado's run differential in their 8-20 June swoon. That means in the average game the Rockies were outscored by about two runs. Of Colorado's 20 June losses, only 11 of them were close enough that Colorado's opponents got a save (or a walk-off win) - and only one of those games was a one run margin. In other words, the Rockies weren't just been bad this month, they were not really that close to winning very often either.

8-10

That's Colorado's record when they scored at least four runs in a game (.444 winning percentage) in June. As a frame of reference, the Rockies were 62-24 (.721 winning percentage) when they accomplished that feat last year. In other words, if Colorado's pitching had been commensurate to last year's, the Rockies would have expected to go 13-5 in those games, turning a terrible June into a mediocre month. Heck, the Rockies only went 6-4 when they scored seven or more runs in a game in the month. The Rockies only lost five games all of last year in which they got Rockies fans cheap tacos (37-5).

4-12

Colorado's record at home this month - I have not looked this up, but that might be Colorado's worst performance at home in any month in franchise history. During a trying May, we pointed toward June's home-heavy slate as a panacea for a team that was entering a tailspin. Unfortunately, all that has come out of the home-heavy June is that fans got to see the Rockies fall out of contention in person.

7

Rockies added to the disabled list in June, including three starting pitchers and two All-Star hitters. None of those players played in another June game after being put on the DL. That is a big part of what lead to...

9

Starting pitchers used by the Rockies in their 28 game June schedule. This includes an injury replacement (Yohan Flande) for an injury replacement (Christian Bergman) for Eddie Butler, who replaced an ineffective Franklin Morales - who started a game on May 31st and will start again on July 3rd, narrowly missing making Colorado's June starter count ten.

The only pitcher in Colorado's Opening Day rotation still with the active roster is Jorge De La Rosa, who we'll call Colorado's number two pitcher nominally behind Jhoulys Chacin. The current rotation, all comprised of southpaws, consists of De La Rosa (2nd choice), Morales (6th choice and 13th choice), Tyler Matzek (10th), Christian Friedrich (11th), and Yohan Flande (12th). Even considering those circumstances, these June numbers from Colorado's pitching staff are tough to fathom:

6.48, 1.62, .872

Those numbers are Colorado's staff ERA, WHIP, and OPS against respectively in June. Yes, Colorado's pitchers allowed hitters to put up a .306/.371/.501 line in the month of June. That 6.48 team ERA isn't quite as bad in a vacuum - the team was playing a lot of games in friendly offensive environments and dealing with backups to backups, but Colorado's 5.07 FIP in June indicates that the team's pitching was just flat out terrible in June. In fact, Colorado's -0.4 fWAR in the month indicated that the staff was below replacement level as a group for the month.

That motley crew of starting pitchers was even worse, putting up a 7.01 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, and .310 batting average against in the month. Still, at least the starters have injuries as a bit of an excuse - plus, Tyler Matzek has been a pleasant surprise as a end of bench option.

The bullpen only had one DL stint (Boone Logan), but they still managed to join the starters in being terrible. Colorado's relievers compiled a 5.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and a .275 batting average while being "worth" -0.6 fWAR over 96 2/3 innings in the month. I know that the relief corps has thrown a lot of innings this year (275 2/3 IP, second most in baseball) due to a starting rotation that has struggled to get length, but the only relievers who were any good in June were LaTroy Hawkins and Tommy Kahnle.

It's hard to operate a winning ball club when the pitching staff as a whole is below replacement level. Yuck.

.283/.335/.434

June wasn't all bad news for the Rockies. The Colorado lineup produced the above BA/OBP/SLG line despite injuries and Clayton Kershaw. That was roughly league average production (99 wRC+) considering the permissive run environment. That's an offensive line that should be good enough to field a competitive team, providing the pitching staff isn't a hot pile of garbage.

Heck, Corey Dickerson was a man on fire in June, putting up a .344/.406/.583 line, while Troy Tulowitzki hit his customary .354/.430/.525 in the month. Colorado had five regulars produce a wRC+ of over 100 in the month and still, despite the injuries they've sustained, have a lineup that is more than capable of erupting on any given night. Of course, the team also had nine games in June in which they scored two runs or less, but the offense is not high on my list of worries.

33,681

Colorado's average attendance during their 16 home games in June. For those of you who bolstered that number, I'm sorry you had to watch bad baseball. I can't blame you for enjoying a summer day at Coors Field - I just wish the team itself was more worthy of your time.

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