Earlier this week, we looked at the Rockies' best pitching performances of the 2015 season. Not wanting to leave anyone out, it's the offense's turn now. Just as I did with the pitchers, I used the 10 highest Win Probability Added (WPA) scores of the season to determine the list. WPA's name makes it fairly self-explanatory as to what it is, but if you're interested there's a longer explanation of how it works in the pitcher's article. That being said, let's get to the list.
10) Jose Reyes: August 26 (.410 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 6, Atlanta Braves 3
Hey, maybe Jose Reyes isn't declining after all! Just kidding, he totally is. This was probably his best moment in a Rockies uniform as he helped the Rockies to a win over the Braves with a huge 2-run triple in the 7th inning off Braves' starter Shelby Miller with the Rockies trailing, 3-2. He also singled in the first and walked and stole a base in the ninth, but his triple to the gap in right-center was the big reason for his high WPA in the game. If you've forgotten that triple (completely understandable), here's the replay to refresh your memory:
9) Troy Tulowitzki: June 3 (.442 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 6
Sorry. I was hoping this game would drop off the list so we wouldn't have to do this, but here we are. Try to use this time to remember doing awesome things as a Rockie, because this game sure was awesome. He singled home a run in the first, walked in the third, hit a 3-run homer in the fifth, and drew a bases loaded walk in the ninth that helped the Rockies rally and score the three runs they needed to beat the Dodgers. If you're keeping score at home, that makes Tulo 2-for-3 with a home run, two walks, and five RBI on the day. Shockingly, this wasn't even the highest WPA of the game for the Rockies. We'll check back on this one later, but first, here's Tulo's 3-run shot. If you can bear to watch it.
8) Nolan Arenado: May 3 (.444 WPA) -- San Diego Padres 8, Colorado Rockies 6
Surprisingly, this is Arenado's only appearance on the list. Part of the reason is that WPA doesn't factor in defense, but it's not as if he didn't do anything with the bat. He was even good in high leverage situations, with a .284/.323/.595 slash line in 130 plate appearances. It's so bizarre that I even allowed self-doubt to creep in and went back to double check the numbers, but this is definitely the only one. This makes no sense and your guess is as good as mine. Anyway, on to the game. Arenado piled up the majority of his WPA on the strength of two home runs off Padres' starter James Shields. The first was a solo shot in the fourth inning to tie the game, 2-2; the second a 2-run shot in the fifth inning to tie the game again at 5-5 in the midst of another masterful performance on the hill from Kyle Kendrick. As you can see from the score above, his homers went for naught as the Rockies still lost the game.
7) Carlos Gonzalez: June 26 (.493 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 8, San Francisco Giants 6
In a less surprising development, this will not be CarGo's only appearance on the list. This appearance, however, is unique because it isn't one big swing of the bat that gave this game its value. CarGo went 5-for-5 in this one with a bloop single in the second, another not-so-hard-hit single in the third, a third single in the sixth, an RBI double to break a 3-3 tie in the 7th, and, for good measure, a triple in the ninth. All of that adds up tto a high WPA for CarGo and a win for the Rockies (although Tommy Kahnle did his best to blow it in the ninth).
6) Charlie Blackmon: July 24 (.537 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 6, Cincinnati Reds 5
This one was a fluke. Chuck Nazty had a good game here, he was 3-for-5 with a stolen base and an RBI, but that's generally more of your run-of-the-mill good game than "spot on the top 10" kind of good. What made this game different was how it ended. After reaching on a bunt single with one out in the ninth inning of a 5-5 game, Blackmon stole second and advanced to third on a groundout from DJ LeMahieu. The game ended on a walk-off wild pitch -- which scored and was credited to Blackmon's WPA total -- giving the Rockies a 6-5 win and giving Blackmon .356 of his .537 WPA for the game. Big props to Charlie, though, for getting a good jump and scoring on a pitch that didn't get too far away from the catcher. It's not every day that you get to see a walk-off wild pitch, so let's take this time to enjoy it.
5) Charlie Blackmon: June 3 (.555 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 6
See? I told you there was more coming from this game. It's more from Blackmon as we enter the top five, and it's another game in which he gained a good chunk of his WPA from scoring on a passed ball or wild pitch. This also happened to be a four-hit day for Blackmon, the biggest of which was his ground rule double with the Rockies trailing 6-4 in the ninth inning. He would eventually score the tying run after Yasmani Grandal's passed ball as the Rockies got a comeback win over the Dodgers.
4) Carlos Gonzalez: August 7 (.599 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 5, Washington Nationals 4
This was a fun game.The Rockies won (always fun) and they did it in dramatic fashion on a grand slam by one of their best players (even more fun). On the night, CarGo went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI, all of which came on one beautiful swing of the bat. In the top of the eighth inning, the Rockies trailed, 4-1., against newly-minted setup-man Drew Storen (great move). A Daniel Descalso walk followed by singles from Reyes and Arenado brought Gonzalez to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. With the kind of season he had been having, it was hard not to feel like something big was going to happen. He didn't disappoint.
3) Ben Paulsen: August 31 (.699 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 5, Arizona Diamondbacks 4
Moving along into the top three, we've got the only entry on the list from a player who didn't start the game. In fact, Paulsen got only one plate appearance in the game. He made the most of it though, taking D-Backs reliever Matt Reynolds back up the middle on an 0-2 pitch for a walk-off 2-run single. Benjamin Paulsen, everybody.
2) Carlos Gonzalez: May 14 (.795 WPA) -- Colorado Rockies 5. Los Angeles Dodgers 4
This may be only number two on the list, but it's number one in my heart. This is the game that ended the Rockies' 11-game losing streak and gave Rockies fans hope that CarGo would turn it around. It had been over two weeks since the Rockies had won a game, and it looked like the streak would continue as Gonzalez -- who entered the game with an ugly .188/.245/.297 slash line -- stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth and the Rockies trailing, 4-2. CarGo had other plans. His 3-run shot off Yimi Garcia gave the Rockies the lead and reminded everyone what it felt like to win a game again.
1) Carlos Gonzalez: July 27 (.805 WPA) -- Chicago Cubs 9, Colorado Rockies 8
Sigh. Don't get me wrong, this was an awesome game for CarGo. He went 4-for-5 with two homers -- one of which was a 2-run shot in the top of the ninth inning to give the Rockies the lead -- and four RBI, part of a ridiculous 13-game stretch that saw him hit .472/.509/1.075 on his way to National League player of the month. That's the good news. The bad news is that Tulowitzki was replaced for the bottom of the ninth inning because, as we would later learn, he had been traded, and John Axford blew the save so the Rockies lost anyway. Try to block those bad parts from your memory and enjoy the home runs.
So, there you have it. The Rockies went 7-2 in the nine games here and provided their fans with some fun moments in a not-so-fun season. The season may be over, but be sure to stick around for all sorts of Rockies offseason coverage.