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Rockies rotation focusing on first inning improvements

Rockies news and links for June 28, 2018

Starting Things Off

First-inning improvement a focus for rotation |
First inning struggles have been common for every Rockies starting pitcher apart from Kyle Freeland. Chad Bettis has the worst first inning ERA in baseball, at 11.40. Second on the list is German Márquez, with an 11.25 ERA. Tyler Anderson is sixth and Jon Gray is 14th. Both have first inning ERA’s over 6.00. With the collective struggles, it’s easy to wonder if there is a mental component to the first inning for Rockies’ starters. As a means of combat, the rotation members are getting creative. Gray is having a bullpen catcher hit against him for his final warmup pitches and Márquez is attempting to have the mentality of pitching his first inning in the bullpen.

Journal: Rockies remain lone National League team with only five starting pitchers this season, but rotation must improve to make a playoff run | The Denver Post ($)
Despite a collective first inning ERA of 7.85 with 20 home runs (both the highest totals in the National League), there’s no doubt that this Rockies’ rotation is durable. The Rockies are currently the only team in the NL to have used only five starters.

The Colorado Rockies have one of the NL’s elite young arms | Rox Pile
As mentioned above, Freeland is the only Rockies starter who hasn’t been awful in the first inning. He has a 2.40 ERA in the first frame, but the collective body of work has been quite impressive regardless. Freeland currently ranks fourth in the NL in Baseball-Reference’s version of pitching WAR. Freeland’s overall 3.55 ERA has been even better at Coors Field, where he has given up a remarkable 2.95 average runs per regulation game.

Rockies News and Notes

BSN Rockies Podcast: Close games, “breaks” and electronic strike zones | BSN Denver
In the latest episode of the BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman takes on the idea of the electronic strike zone, being reminded of the topic after Adam Ottavino’s loss on Tuesday night, which seemed to be heavily influenced by home plate umpire John Tumpane’s calls.

The Hail Mary Hitters: C, 1B, 2B | RotoGraphs
For teams that are sitting at or near the bottom of their fantasy leagues, Paul Sporer recommends taking a gamble on Ian Desmond at first base.

Around Baseball

Manny Machado apologizes for not running out ground ball | NBC Sports
Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado was booed by O’s fans for his lack of hustle running to first base on Tuesday night. Machado grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and likely would have still been out even if he had hustled, given that Statcast measured the exit velocity of the batted ball at 103.5 mph. Machado has since apologized for his lack of effort, but Bill Baer of NBC Sports approaches the story from a different angle. With the likelihood that Machado will be traded at the deadline and that he will be entering free agency in the coming offseason, Baer suggests that Machado should not be putting in maximum effort running down the line and risking injury for himself. At a record of 23-55, the Orioles aren’t contending this season anyway, and Machado’s health is the most valuable thing to them at this juncture, Baer opines.

Jayson Werth retires from baseball | NBC Sports
Quoted as saying, “I’m done… whatever you want to call it,” Jayson Werth appears to have retired from the game of baseball at the age of 39.