My article last week detailing how the starting rotation could be better than anything seen in the last four years was met with some derision. So, I have come up with a statistically sound, completely ludicrous reason for Rockies fans to be hopeful this year and it all has to do with August 24th.
Why is August 24th important you ask? It is the first day in the 2015 season that the Rockies play in Atlanta. Counting that game, the Rockies will only have 38 games to play when they visit Georgia for the first time this year. Other than it probably being the first time I get to see them play, with my impending move to the Southeast, it means that the Rockies will get the bulk of their season, 124 games, completed prior to spending a night in Atlanta. This is the latest in a season the Rockies have gone to Atlanta since 2012.
So most of you must be thinking, "who cares, the Braves are going to be awful this season with the loss of all their good players." This is not about how the Rockies will do against the Braves but, more importantly, how they play after going to Atlanta. Every season back to 2009, the Rockies have played significantly worse after going to Atlanta than before that road trip. Don't believe me? Here are the numbers.
In 2010, the Rockies had their last winning season and played well the whole year. However, prior to going to Atlanta, they were winning at a 55.6% clip. Afterward, they barely broke .500 and were nearly five percentage points worse, losing the Wild Card by eight games to the...Atlanta Braves.
2011 did not start off too badly for the Rockies. They were 41-43 when on July 4th they flew into Atlanta. They were swept in the four game series and finished the season with a 32-46 record, a decrease in win percentage of over seven percent.
I don't even want to bring up 2012, it was that dreadful of a year. While the season was despicable all around, when the Rockies stumbled into Atlanta in September they were losing games 58.3 percent of the time. From Atlanta, they nosedived to losing 70% of their games, winning only nine more the rest of the season.
Both 2013 and 2014 saw the Rockies get to Atlanta while still in contention for the NL West. In 2013, the Rockies were only four games under .500 and they knew that they were safe from the Giants because it was not an even numbered year. But then, Atlanta happened and the Rockies went 23-33 the rest of the season. Last year's trip to Atlanta may have been the worst ever for Rockies fortunes. That was the trip that saw Nolan Arenado lost to a head first slide and the injuries began piling up. For those who forget, it was toward the end of May and the Rockies were above .500 at 26-22 even after losing two of three to the Giants at home. The Rockies lost seven of nine on that road trip, which with the rest of the season gave them a 40-74 record post-Atlanta.
So, if you need something nonsensical to hang your hope hat on, be excited that the Rockies are staying away from Atlanta until the end of August. For those who want something a tad more concrete, I decided to look at the projected Steamer numbers for pitching staffs after the disagreements with my article last week. For what it is worth, the Rockies starters are projected at 18th overall with 7.3 fWAR. If they can meet this projection, it would be one of their better years and, with a healthy lineup, could see them as a lot better than some prognosticators have picked them. Speaking of those prognosticators, here are some articles for today:
Ranking the teams - espn.com
David Schoenfield isn't real high on the Rockies for this season, nor has he been for quite a few seasons. This may mean he actually knows what he is talking about or just doesn't care for the Rockies.
Nationals top projected win totals - espn.com
Not much to this article other than the fact that the Atlantis sports book projects Arizona to have more wins than Colorado. If I could get a dual bet, over on Rockies/under on the Diamondbacks, that would pay better than 2:1, I just might take it because I feel that whatever their win totals are, the Rockies will finish better than the Diamondbacks, meaning I would be right on one of the bets.
The worst transactions of the 2015 off-season - fangraphs.com
The good news is that the Colorado Rockies did not make this list. However, Michael Cuddyer and the San Diego Padres did. Dave Cameron feels like the Dodgers got the better end of the deal with the Padres as you can see by his best transaction of the off-season article here.
There's a lot to like about new look Dodgers - espn.com
What I found humorous about this article is that it references a computer projection of 97 wins for the Dodgers but then has to admit that the same computer projected 98 wins for them last year. It will be interesting to see if there is any improved clubhouse dynamics to keep this team from underachieving again.
Quick looks: Butler, Gibson, and Lyles- fangraphs.com
Some neat information from a couple of last year's starts for young Rockies. Not sure what to make of some of the analysis but it doesn't sound all bad for the future of Rockies' pitching.
Nice piece rounding up all of the offseason talk about the top-of-the-line Rockies prospects.
Rockies front office has some game, too - mlb.com
And finally a Rockies Valentine's Day article for you all to read. I hope you all have a happy day and make sure to treat your significant other well today...it will pay dividends in two months when you start ignoring them for baseball.