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Rockies have reaped benefits from retooled rotation

Rockies news and links for July 5, 2018

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FinalizeRockies radically reshaped their pitching rotation to raise the bar of expectation - and it’s working | The Athletic ($)
A surprising demotion to the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes for Jon Gray and a disabled list placement for Chad Bettis paved the way for 23-year-old Antonio Senzatela to enter the Rockies’ rotation. In his first start of the season, Senzatela responded by shutting out the Giants through seven innings, continuing a trend of excellent outings for Rockies starters. Over the past eight games (entering Wednesday), Rockies starters have a collective 1.45 ERA. Recent dominant performances from Tyler Anderson and German Marquez have impressed, and one would be remiss to not include Kyle Freeland’s entire body of work in 2018 when discussing excellent starting pitching.

In his first start for the Isotopes, Gray had his own success, no-hitting the El Paso Chihuahuas through five innings before allowing a two-run home run in the sixth. Gray would end up securing the victory for the ‘Topes.

Nolan Arenado has gone on a homer-hitting hot streak since we met his doll doppelganger | Cut4
Ever since we found out about Nolito, Nolan Arenado’s doll doppelganger, we’ve seen the Rockies’ third baseman’s wRC+ increase by 63%, along with a .285 slugging percentage increase.

As he makes All-Star push, Trevor Story has been on a tear lately | Mile High Sports
It could be that Arenado has just gotten hotter as the season has worn on, which is certainly the case for his teammate Trevor Story. Story is currently a distant fourth in All-Star voting, behind Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants, Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves, and Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs. Statistically speaking, Crawford and Story are very close to one another, but the possibility of a starting nod for the National League looks tough to come by for the Rockies’ shortstop at this point. Rockies fans aren’t only aware of Story’s offensive ability. We’ve seen his Gold Glove-caliber defense and elite sprint speed impact games on a nightly basis as well.

An ode to D.J. LeMahieu | McCovey Chronicles
Bryan Murphy of McCovey Chronicles, SB Nation’s Giants site, wrote an ode to Rockies’ second baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu has played some of his best baseball on both sides of the ball against the Giants, and put on a clinic at second base in the team’s recent series against the Giants. “I hate him,” says Giants first baseman Brandon Belt. “He’s a nice guy. I still want to punch him in the face.” LeMahieu snagged what would have been Belt’s fourth hit of the night with a dazzling leaping grab in Tuesday night’s game.

BSN Rockies Podcast: It ain’t over til it’s over | BSN Denver
In the latest episode of the BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman discusses the team’s recent successes against the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. Creasman ponders if the team can maintain its recent successful play, while also delving into what Gray’s demotion means for the club.

Sam Hilliard brings five tools with him on climb up Rockies’ organizational ladder | The Athletic ($)
John Altavilla of The Athletic profiles PuRP No. 17 (and higher in the midseason rankings, if I can help it) Sam Hilliard, who has turned out to be a very intriguing outfield prospect for the Rockies. Altavilla refers to Hilliard as a five-tool player, and all the tools have been there with the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats in 2018. One area which has been lacking for Hilliard is translating his power into games, though he’s still been mashing in batting practice, as Manager Warren Schaeffer has noticed.

Kiszla: You know the Blake Street Bombers. But let’s give ovation for Rockies’ original heavy hitter, the late Paul Jacobs | The Denver Post ($)
Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post offers a salute to Paul Jacobs, a man who is one of the reasons we can enjoy Rockies baseball today. Jacobs passed away on Monday at the age of 78.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Manny Machado: Yes, no or maybe? | AZ Snake Pit
Jim McLennan of AZ Snake Pit, SB Nation’s Arizona Diamondbacks site, ponders whether the D-Backs should pursue Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, one of the most likely trade candidates at this year’s deadline.