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Colorado Rockies starting pitching turning a corner

Kyle Kendrick's strong outing was the fifth straight good start for a Rockies pitcher.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Colorado Rockies won their fourth game in their last five, a 6-4 win over the Reds, thanks to another strong effort from a starting pitcher.

This time it was Kyle Kendrick, who pitched 7⅓ innings, allowing four runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout. He threw 75 pitches, 49 for strikes. Two of Kendrick's runs were inherited runners allowed to score by reliever Boone Logan.

Kendrick's start was the fifth straight good outing for a Rockies starting pitcher, largely contributing to the team winning four of the five games. Rockies starters have pitched 35⅓ innings over the last five games, better than seven innings a start, allowing 14 runs, 13 earned, on 32 hits with nine walks and 16 strikeouts, good for an ERA of 3.31 and a WHIP of 1.16 over that span.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the five starts:

Pitcher IP H R ER BB K ERA WHIP Pitches Strikes Strike%
David Hale 6.67 8 3 2 0 2 2.70 1.20 97 66 68.0%
Chad Bettis 8.33 6 2 2 2 7 2.16 0.96 104 73 70.2%
Eddie Butler 6 9 4 4 2 1 6.00 1.83 82 52 63.4%
Chris Rusin 7 4 1 1 4 5 1.29 1.14 90 61 67.8%
Kyle Kendrick 7.33 5 4 4 1 1 4.91 0.82 75 49 65.3%
Total 35.33 32 14 13 9 16 3.31 1.16 448 301 67.2%

Note the number of strikes Rockies starters have thrown in the last five games. That 67.2% number is much higher than the 59.1% of strikes Rockies had thrown in their first 40 games and much higher than their current season rate of 60%. In fact, 67.2% strikes would put the Rockies among the most strike-throwing staffs in baseball were it to continue. It just goes to show the importance of throwing strikes to success on the mound.

That increase in strike throwing has helped cut the Rockies starters ERA by more than two runs in the last five games compared to the first 40, from 5.37 to 3.31. It has also cut the rotation's WHIP from 1.63 in the first 40 games to 1.16 in the last five and the walks per nine innings in half, from 4.6 to 2.3 in that same span. The good news is that none of this has come at the expense of giving up hits, as the rotation's hits per nine innings has also gone down, from 10.1 to 8.2.

Kendrick cruised through seven innings, allowing just a run on three hits on 61 pitches before running into trouble in the eighth. He allowed a home run to Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart to lead off the inning, before allowing a bloop single to Billy Hamilton with one out that was followed by a walk to Skip Schumaker before he was pulled from the game by manager Walt Weiss.

Kendrick got no help from Logan, who walked the first two batters he faced before allowing a bloop single to Jay Bruce, letting both of his inherited runners to score and cutting the Rockies' lead to 6-4 before Rafael Betancourt shut down the inning.

He did, however, get help from his offense, as the Rockies scored five quick runs against Reds starter Mike Leake, thanks to a three-run home run from Nolan Arenado in the first inning and a two-run homer by Charlie Blackmon in the second, staking the Rockies to a 5-1 lead, which would be all the offense Colorado would need.

The Rockies will look to continue their strong pitching and winning ways Friday when they open a three-game series in Philadelphia against the Phillies.