With a 16-13 record during the month of August, the Colorado Rockies just completed their first winning month in 2012, and also their first since June of 2010, when they went 14-13.
So, what is the single biggest reason for the Rockies' success in August? Some may say pitching (as well as the newfound success of the paired pitching system), but there is a red flag in that department, and that is the poor K/BB ratio that the Rockies posted in August - just 1.64, which is their lowest of any month during the season. However, they were able to get away with it by allowing season lows in BABIP (.290) and batting average (.260). This may or may not point to some regression during September. It's hard to say, considering the relation of those numbers to regression or improvement isn't always as cut and dry as stats gurus sometimes think.
So, maybe the pitching wasn't as great as we thought (although the results were okay, as shown above). How about the offense? Well, it was certainly a factor, as the team's 106 OPS+ was its second-highest of any month in 2012, next to June. However, the pitching - or at least the pitching luck - was a lot better in August than it was in an atrocious June in which the staff allowed opponents to post a .915 OPS. So, as they say - balanced baseball equals good baseball, and it appears that the Rockies had just that in August, which contributed to a month which kept our sanity intact - at least for now.
More after the jump...
Here were the top individual performers during Colorado's most successful month in over a year:
Only a couple of guys played enough to eclipse the 100 plate appearances mark during the month. Those guys were:
Tyler Colvin - .333/.385//552, 13 XBH
Jordan Pacheco - .320/.351/.466, 11 XBH
Several other players performed well with less playing time, with Eric Young Jr. heading the list. His month was cut short due to injury, but in 72 plate appearances across 18 games, EY2 did not #refuse2getonbase, as he posted a .449 OBP, homered three times, and led the club with a 1.059 OPS.
Wilin Rosario had a terrific month as well, hitting .304/.367/.667 with seven home runs. Several other regulars (Josh Rutledge, Chris Nelson, and Dexter Fowler) finished the month with OPS's over .850.
Alex White, Tyler Chatwood, and Jhoulys Chacin all performed at an acceptable-or-better level in August, with Chacin leading the pack (although in only two starts) with a 1.64 ERA. Chatwood pitched just 26.1 innings and had a poor K/BB ratio, but he was able to escape the month with a 3.42 ERA. Meanwhile, White had the same issues, but his 4.03 ERA turned out to be respectable.
Adam Ottavino and Rafael Betancourt were the stars of the month out of the bullpen in what was otherwise a surprisingly subpar month for the relievers, stats-wise. Betancourt posted an 0.82 ERA in 11 innings while racking up nine saves. Ottavino, meanwhile, nearly pitched a starter's workload, as he tossed 23.2 innings of three-run baseball, striking out 21 batters while walking only eight, on his way to a 1.14 ERA for the month.