I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Rockies have lost five straight games. It’s always tough to watch stretches like this, but it doesn’t mean the Rockies are finished. How bad is their current stretch? In their last fourteen games they are 6-8 and they have lost five straight to teams they are battling for the division title by a combined score of 48-15. For the first time all season they are more than one game out of the division lead, sitting 4.5 games back of the Dodgers.
This has been a tough portion of the schedule and a little slump doesn’t spell doom and gloom. Let’s take a look at some recent playoff teams and see how the current Rockies slump compares to some of the worst suffered by others.
2016 Chicago Cubs
We all know the Cubs went on to win the 2016 World Series so let’s start there and look at their lowest point of the season. The Cubs had a twenty-game stretch last year from June 20 to July 9 in which they went 5-15. Pitching was largely to blame for the Cubs woes. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
“But like most things in baseball, this skid starts with starting pitching—with the Cubs’ best-in-baseball starting rotation going 3-10 with a 5.70 ERA during that 19-game stretch, with 11 starts of less than six innings.”
The twenty-game skid for the Cubs included sweeps against the Mets and Cardinals, both teams that would eventually make the playoffs. Good teams are going to lose to other good teams and the Rockies are no exception.
2015 Houston Astros
The Astros won 87 games and got into the playoff as a Wild Card team in 2015, taking the eventual champion Royals to a deciding fifth game in the ALDS. At their low point, they went 5-11 over sixteen games from May 25-June 10. The stretch included a seven-game losing streak in which they were swept by the White Sox and Blue Jays in back-to-back series. From The Crawfish Boxes:
“Just like Houston can't hit three homers in every game, the bullpen can't shutout the opponent every night. However, the hitting and bullpen pitching have struggled in sync during Houston's roughest patch of 2015. As for the part of the team that many agree needs upgrading: Houston's starters pitched 19 innings in three games vs. Chicago and allowed five runs.”
We have seen the bullpen and starting rotation struggle mightily during this stretch while the offense hasn’t been able to pick them up. Just like with Houston in 2015, everyone is getting cold at the same time and that makes for ugly baseball games to watch. Still, the Astros hit their stride later in the season and still managed to make the playoffs a year earlier than most expected them to.
2014 San Francisco Giants
The Giants finished 2014 with 88 wins and a World Series win. However, they had an awful stretch starting on June 9 all the way through the 4th of July. They went 5-18 in their 23 games in a rude awakening from their hot start to the season. From The Mercury News:
[The Giants] remain on top of the division — just barely — thanks to two spectacular months. With the Reds again on the other side of the field, though, the Giants have looked nothing like a contending team this series.
This is about as bad as it can get for an eventual playoff team and what the Rockies are dealing with now is nothing compared to the Giants’ woes. The theme in the Giants slump was their inability to hit in any and every situation. They scored over four runs in a game just five times during the slump but went on to win a Championship because even years or something.
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All of these slumps were tough to get through and seemed like the end of the season. Journalists, bloggers, and fans were quick to write off their teams, as I have heard over and over again about the Rockies. The rotation, bullpen, and lineup have gone cold simultaneously, but their current slump hasn’t yet gotten to the depths that the teams above experienced.
And considering two of those three teams won the World Series, it’s safe to say that the Rockies are still in a very good spot with a lot of baseball left to play.