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Chris Rusin turned things around down the stretch

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The lefty helped the Rockies during the playoff push.

You’re reading the 2018 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the season had by every player to play for the Rockies in 2018. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the least amount of rWAR and end up with the player with the most.

★ ★ ★

No. 37, Chris Rusin (-0.7 rWAR)

When the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen was bad, boy was Chris Rusin bad. He was right in the middle of the struggles, a key player who could not get things on track. Rusin also missed time with injuries, in April with a right intercostal strain and in July with a foot injury. Put it all together and it looked like it might be a lost season for the versatile lefty.

Then September came and Rusin started looking like a good pitcher again. The timing was ideal, of course, as the Rockies pushed to try to win the division and secure a playoff spot. The team will always welcome a guy who can handle multiple roles out of the bullpen. This particular Rockies team was also short on guys to get left-handed batters out. Rusin was able to step up and contribute to a strong finish from the bullpen.

Rusin’s overall numbers in 2018 tell the story of his struggles, with a not-that-nice 6.09 ERA and a 77 ERA+. But in his nine September appearances, Rusin posted a 2.08 ERA. He was throwing more strikes. He was quick-pitching and keeping hitters off balance. He looked like the pitcher Bud Black could trust in just about any situation just one season earlier.

All those bad months of the season happened. We can’t pretend they didn’t, and they certainly cast some uncertainty on Rusin’s role moving forward. But his showings in the most important games of the season were encouraging. Hopefully they reminded us who Rusin really is and the rest can be chalked up to bullpen weirdness and injuries.