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Are the Rockies letting the NL West slip away?

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Rockies news and links for June 9, 2018

The Rockies are throwing away an elusive NL West title | Mile High Sports
Whether it be the offense, the starting pitching, or the bullpen, the Rockies have had at least one component lacking to fire on all cylinders for stretches during the 2018 season. While the hitting has picked up in recent weeks, the Rockies’ bullpen has been faltering with a higher frequency than would be deemed acceptable for a team with postseason aspirations. Add to this German Marquez’s struggles pitching at Coors Field and Jon Gray’s disappointing bottom line results, and some, including Derek Kessinger of Mile High Sports, would argue that the Rockies are “throwing away” a chance to win the National League West.

Now would seem like a prime time to make headway in the division, as the Arizona Diamondbacks have crashed back down to earth after a remarkably hot stretch to begin the year, and the Los Angeles Dodgers don’t look like the team that went to the World Series last fall. But at the same time, the last-place San Diego Padres find themselves within the division race despite being several games under .500. Playing the best within the division will go a long way towards success in 2018. In terms of winning percentage, the Diamondbacks have done just that to begin the season, while the Dodgers have the most wins within the division overall.

Journal: Rockies’ bullpen woes threatening to sink their season | The Denver Post ($)
Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post places a focus on the woes of the Rockies’ relievers. Brooks Pounders, Chris Rusin and Bryan Shaw have struggled tremendously, and Jake McGee has also had his issues. No reliever has been more of a cause for concern than Mike Dunn, who has walked 17 and struck out 12. Dunn was placed on the 10-Day Disabled List on Friday with a rhomboid injury. Saunders includes very honest quotes from Dunn after his rough Thursday outing, with the left-hander flatly stating that he needs to figure out what he’s doing wrong— and fast.

Colorado Rockies: Should we fear the June Swoon? | Rox Pile
The “June Swoon” has become something of a meme among Rockies fans on social media. Colin Gaiser of Rox Pile works to dispel the myth of the team’s June struggles, noting that the Rox don’t typically have a June record that is much different from the team’s overall winning percentage at the end of the year.

BSN Rockies Podcast: Preparing for a huge divisional battle | BSN Denver
In the latest episode of the BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman takes a bit of a more positive approach to the tight division race. Such a close division battle makes for very entertaining baseball, even if it comes with the occasional heartbreaking loss for the Rox. Creasman also discusses how long Charlie Blackmon will be able to last as a center fielder.

Colorado Rockies trade rumors: Bullpen options in the AL East | Rox Pile
Noah Yingling of Rox Pile suggests some bullpen upgrades from the American League West. From the Baltimore Orioles, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens, and Richard Bleier are mentioned as options, while Tyler Clippard of the Toronto Blue Jays is also discussed. I’ve been a big fan of Brach for quite some time, but any of these names would represent upgrades from the performances produced by the current iteration of the Rockies’ bullpen.

Rockies Insider: Analyzing Colorado’s National League-leading defense that still has room to improve | The Denver Post ($)
One area in which the Rockies have had sustained success is with the gloves. The DJ LeMahieu-Trevor Story-Nolan Arenado tandem in the infield has lived up to its reputation, while Tony Wolters has been the best framing catcher in baseball. But there are areas in which the defense has scuffled. Catcher Chris Iannetta’s pop time has been below average, while the Rockies’ outfield ranks in the bottom third in the National League in Outs Above Average.

Colorado Rockies: Is Trevor Story the best shortstop in the NL? | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Luke Mullins argues that Story should be receiving some love in the All-Star voting among NL shortstops. For me, it would be hard to argue against Brandon Crawford’s 2018 performance being the tops at the position, but Story has provided the Rox with quality play on both sides of the ball.

Rockies’ Day 1 pick could make history | Rockies.com
Grant Lavigne, the second-round pick of the Rockies in the 2018 draft, is hoping to become the first position player from New Hampshire to ever make the Major Leagues. Lavigne says he models his game after Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, and if the results are at all similar, I would wager that his bat will play in the Majors.