Two dozen games into the season, the Rockies find themselves 11-13—just two games under .500. Extrapolate that out to 162 games, and you get a 74-88 team, which is probably a decent guess as to where they're going to end up.
With the everyday players, they've had some positive surprises (DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon, Nick Hundley, and Nolan Arenado are all well above their career average wRC+ numbers), and some negative surprises (Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Morneau, and Drew Stubbs) are all well below their career wRC+ numbers). I still don't think we've really seen what this offense can do at Coors (they've only had one extended home stand so far and their performance there was disappointing), but I expect that to change in the next couple of weeks.
The bench has been, as expected, all kinds of awful. It consists of four guys, two of whom are redundant, a third who's a backup catcher, and a fourth who just got his first hit of the season over the weekend. In 62 plate appearances, subs are hitting .140/.210/.316 (.525 OPS) for this team.
The injuries have been about what most teams should expect—good by Rockies standards, in other words. They've lost LaTroy Hawkins and Adam Ottavino to the disabled list; they've lost a productive month out of Jorge De La Rosa thanks to a groin injury; and one of their higher ranked pitching prospects in Tyler Anderson is still nowhere to be found. But overall, we've seen much, much worse. The real problem is that the Rockies are still in catch up mode depth wise when it comes to starting pitching thanks to the Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood, and Dan Winkler injuries from last year.
And that brings us to the rotation. The part of the team that always seems to disappoint no matter how low expectations drop.
These are the feelings that describe Kyle Kendrick's 2015 season so far. My expectations were low. All I wanted and expected was the same below average pitcher Kyle Kendrick was for the Phillies in 2007 through 2014. Silly me expecting an ERA+ of 80, which is what the Phillies got from Kendrick in 2013 and 2014. That was obviously unreasonable to ask.
The Rockies have given Kendrick at least five runs of support in all but one of his six starts, and if he could have just kept his ERA around 5.00 instead of the repulsive 8.73 figure it's risen to now, the Rockies are probably 13-11 instead of 11-13. Yesterday is the perfect example of a game 2007 though 2014 Kyle Kendrick wins. The Rockies scored runs for him three times in the first five frames, and three times he handed the momentum right back to the Padres.
Kendrick's disastrous performance dominates the Rockies links today. I'm kind of tired of writing about how terrible Kyle Kendrick's pitched (I wrote that Rockpile last week), and you''re probably tired of reading about how terrible Kyle Kendrick's pitched, so I'll stop now, but if you want more of that, the internet's got you covered.
The more interesting discussion now is what the Rockies can do about it. Our own Eric Garcia McKinley covered this pretty thoroughly last night, and correctly concluded that there's just not many good options. None of the more obvious rotation candidates down in Triple-A (Chad Bettis, David Hale, and Jon Gray) have done anything to show they're worthy of a shot yet, and anything beyond that requires making some uncomfortable roster moves.
Kyle Kendrick can't be sent to the minors without his consent since he has more than five years of service time, so if he's pulled out of the rotation, he almost has to go in the bullpen and become the new mop up boy. So the only real obvious thing the Rockies can do at the moment is swap Christian Bergman and Kendrick's duties. Unfortunately, the Rockies just don't have anybody knocking on the door trying to break into the rotation, and it's left Kendrick with a much longer leash than he should be allowed to have.
The problem hasn't just been Kendrick though. Lately, the entire rotation has crashed and burned. Last week, Bryan Kilpatrick mentioned that the Rockies are undefeated when the Rockies get a quality start. The only problem is they've been about as rare as a Drew Stubbs hit.
Want to guess how many quality starts the Rockies have in their last 15 games?
That is just so piss poor I can't even wrap my brain around it. So far in 2015, 53 percent of MLB starts have been quality starts. The Rockies are at 21 percent. Even the 2013 and 2014 teams posted quality start percentages of 40 and 43 percent.
Not surprisingly, the Rockies are last in the NL in quality starts, last in Game Score average, and last in innings pitched from their starters.
Here's a more detailed look at just how ugly these last 15 starts have been for the Rockies rotation:
The only good news is that these 15 games, as a group, are likely an anomaly. This staff isn't good, but it's also not this bad. Just go through the five guys.
Jordan Lyles: Pitching very well overall; really only had one bad start. (I do find it a bit concerning though that after the last time out where he walked five, only struck out one, and looked very hittable that he's not listed as the starter for Wednesday. Let's hope these aren't clues to an injury, but his velocity was down a tick in his last start.)
Tyler Matzek: Still growing; still walks too many people; still tough to hit; still a mystery. If I had to guess where he goes from here, I would expect a higher ERA with Matzek getting a bit deeper into games.
Jorge De La Rosa: Moving in the right direction. The Rockies are 0-3 in his starts so far, but I expect that to change quickly.
Eddie Butler: Going to through the growing pains. This is a pitcher you hope can keep getting better as the year goes on, but until he actually produces the results, you can't count on anything. His journey will be fun to watch.
Kyle Kendrick: I'd like to imagine Kendrick, or whoever fills this role, can't do any worse, but the Rockies are experts at pushing the pitching nadir to new extremes, so I guess we can't rule anything out.
In better news, Nolan Arenado continues to blossom as a player, as his bat is starting to catch up to his glove.
Today is the day we're supposed to learn more news on Adam Ottavino's injury. Let's hope there's nothing seriously wrong here.
The Brewers fired Ron Roenicke yesterday after their dreadful 7-18 start to the season. The moves does seem a bit odd though since they just picked up his 2016 option a few week ago.
The Astros have won ten games in a row and have opened up the largest division lead any team in the AL West has opened up this early in the season since the 2001 Seattle Mariners. This is probably the most fun story in all of baseball right now.