Colin Gaiser at Rox Pile writes about a very real concern for the Rockies and how it will affect their chances at earning a Postseason spot this year — specifically, that the starting rotation is creating a burden for our Super Bullpen by not pitching deep enough into games. Folks, he ain’t wrong.
Rockies starting pitchers have pitched into the 7th inning this season just four times (twice from Bettis, and once from Freeland and Gray). The bullpen has been phenomenal, picking up the slack with All-Star seasons from Adam Ottavino and Wade Davis in particular, but for how long is this a sustainable model as they continue to rack up innings of work early on?
It’s true, the rotation needs to account for more innings pitched and give the bullpen some much needed relief (ba dum tss), but they’re hardly the reason the Rockies are hovering as a .500 team, as Colin contends. The well-being of our bullpen arms is a concern down the road, but for now, the putrid offense and stomach-turning lineups day in and day out are what should really have Rockies fans worried.
Undoubtedly, the injury bug biting the Rockies hasn’t helped the current state of the offense or starting rotation pitching deeper into games. However, as reported by Thomas Harding, there is plenty of good news coming from the team regarding their most recently injured players who will be vital to the Rockies’ success this season.
Carlos González is eligible to come off the disabled list today, and though he’s unlikely to be activated right away, Bud Black says he will be back on the field soon. Unlike CarGo, three other key Rockies look to avoid the DL entirely after some injury scares and time missed. DJ LeMahieu isn’t expected to miss much more time after leaving Friday’s game with hamstring tightness, and Kyle Freeland (sore foot) will make his next start after throwing a successful side-session on Friday.
Most importantly, Tyler Anderson looks to be in good shape, ready to pitch again, and not in any serious trouble after leaving Friday’s start in the 2nd inning with what is being described as a “heartbeat issue.” Scary stuff, and we’re just glad Tyler won’t face any serious health concerns, let alone miss any more playing time.
Not much went right for the Rockies in Miami yesterday. In two games against the rebuilding 8-18 Marlins, the Rockies offense has scored two runs. Two runs in two games against the Miami Marlins. The lineup is in a funk, but at least Charlie Blackmon showed some signs of life in the 6th inning against Wei-Yin Chen:
The offense is seriously struggling, and while it is still too early to tail-spin into a full-fledged panic, something needs to change. Yes, the Rockies are 2nd in the NL West right now with a winning record, but have a team batting WAR of 10.7 — tied for 24th in baseball — and only a 15.6% chance of making the Postseason, according to Fangraphs.
And if nothing else, we still have #NolanBeingNolan being amazing like this yesterday:
(*heart eyes emoji*)
Around the League:
Matt Holliday (who touched home plate) currently has a job doing radio for MLB Network, but still believes he is capable of helping a major league baseball team win ballgames. He is 38 years old, sure, but coming off a quality season with the Yankees that saw him slash .231/.316/.432 with 19 home runs and 18 doubles in 427 plate appearances.
Why is this important? Well, in 2016 he logged 61.2 innings at first base for the Cardinals, and added 54 more with the Yankees in 2017. In that time, Matt accumulated a DRS of 0 (zero), or exactly average. He also managed to position himself as above average at first base using the formidable UZR statistic, in which he landed at 0.1 (zero point one).
And while I obviously joke about Holliday being an average major league 1B, his potential to help the Rockies score more runs is nothing to laugh at. For perspective, our two current options, Ryan McMahon and Ian Desmond, are slashing .184/.322/.204 and .183/.230/.355, respectively. If Jeff Bridich is serious about contending in 2018, he may need to think long and hard about bringing in a hitter like Matt to help the Rockies.
In other news to give Rockies fans heart palpitations, the Arizona Diamondbacks are making history and proving they are a team to take very seriously in 2018. With their extra-innings victory over Washington yesterday, the D-backs became the first NL team in 111 years to start the season by winning nine straight series.
Of course, it is only April, and a lot could change. But it’s worth noting — the last NL team to accomplish the feat was the 1907 Chicago Cubs who went on to win 107 games and a World Series title. The last team in all of baseball to start the season with nine straight series wins was the 2001 Seattle Mariners, and while they won an AL-record 116 games that year, they also infamously lost to the 95-win Yankees in the ALCS.
I guess my point is this: the Diamondbacks will probably win a lot of games this year — they look really good so far. But they’re by no means guaranteed a championship, or even a division title, so the Rockies better get their sh— uh, stuff — together and start winning more games now if they hope to keep up with the snakes.