Well that was fun, wasn’t it? After a fantastic scoreless outing from Germán Márquez—in which he pitched seven innings and gave up just three hits and one walk while striking out nine—Big Daddy Matt Holliday decided it was time to put an end to the tie ballgame and blasted his first home run as a Colorado Rockie since 2008 (3,635 days ago).
As Owen Perkins of MLB.com suggests, Holliday came through in the clutch and did exactly what he was signed to do—come up with the big hit off the bench for the Rockies. And big it was. Matt’s home run traveled 448 feet, according to StatCast, with an exit velocity of 101 mph. In other words, he cranked it, and really showed us he has plenty left in the tank.
Matt’s hit was the first of many to come in the late innings for the Rockies, and opened the flood gates to an eventual eight-run eighth inning. CarGo, Nolan, Wolters, Desmond, and Chuck all doubled, and DJ and Nolan both had two hits each in the inning. The only batter to not get a hit in the inning was Trevor Story, but I’m sure he’ll make up for it another time.
In his latest mailbag, Eno Sarris is asked if he thinks the Rockies are “good enough to win it all.” Eno tosses around some relevant statistical rankings—i.e. how the Rockies are 10th in the NL in runs scored but COORS, and their stellar pitching staff ranks as the 10th-lowest in giving up offensive numbers on the road, thanks to their rotation and not the bullpen—and ultimately decides that yes, the Rockies are good enough to win it all.
Unfortunately, Eno does qualify this declaration by stating he believes there is a lot of chance involved—that the Rockies’ Postseason hopes depend on the luck of “catching fire at the right time” and not just their talent. Also, I find it odd that he must mention the Rockies wouldn’t have a chance at winning it all if they played in the AL—that they’re lucky to be in the NL instead. Well, luck be damned. The Rockies are on fire and any team that may end up facing them in the Postseason better watch out.
In this post from Rox Pile, Aaron Hurt looks back at the free-agent-signing-that-wasn’t and wonders how much better this season might be for the Rockies if they had resigned Pat Neshek instead of turning to Bryan Shaw to be an anchor of their Super Bullpen.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to judge the Rockies for it now, but at the time it wasn’t hard to let an aging 37 year old relief pitcher walk after he had just helped to blow their first playoff game since 2009. The Rockies turned to a younger, consistent work-horse with a history of not giving up many hard-hit balls, and he appeared to be a great addition to a surprisingly good bullpen from 2017.
There was no way of knowing Shaw’s hard-hit rate would nearly double out of the blue, that he would carry a 6.42 ERA into late August, or that Neshek would bounce back to his dominant form after an injury-filled first half. Yeah, looking back, Neshek might have been the better choice, you just can’t blame the Rockies for taking the Shaw route at that time.
Eric Garcia McKinley wastes no time in answering the article’s headline question—and the answer is “no.” Ian Desmond has been a topic of great divide for Rockies fans this season, and that was abundantly clear after his walk-off home run against the Padres on Thursday. One side shouted about knowing Desmond would come through in the clutch, the other that one big moment doesn’t make up for the many missed opportunities all year.
Much of the debate hinges on how exactly you define “clutch,” and there is more than one way to do so. In this post, Eric looks at Desmond’s performance in “late and close” situations (any plate appearance that takes place in the seventh inning or later in which the batting team is tied, ahead by one, or is down but with the tying run on deck), “high leverage” situations (when a team’s win expectancy has a chance for a significant change), his WPA, and his “Clutch score.” Again, most of these point to Desmond not being so clutch.
Lastly, Eric questions the continued usage of Desmond over Ryan McMahon, who “has hit .324/.390/.541 in “late and close” situations, .400/.424/.767 in high leverage situations, has a 1.12 WPA compared to Desmond’s 0.66, and has the highest Clutch score on the team.” McDoogle knows how to get it done.
One thing is for sure, both McMahon and Desmond have come up big in their own big moments, helping the Rockies win vital games down the stretch in a division title race—and their success is something ALL Rockies fans should keep rooting for and celebrating.
I would be remiss if I didn’t bump this article from Kevin Henry at Rox Pile in which he interviews Rockies players on their favorite books and reading habits to highlight an upcoming a book drive to benefit the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.
The Colorado Rockies are now working with EPIC (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children) to host a book drive that will benefit economically disadvantaged children in the Denver area. Rockies fans are encouraged to drop off new or gently used children’s books or monetary donations at local UPS Store locations from now thru September 8.
I don’t know about you, but after reading this post I have come to love Jon Gray and Adam Ottavino even more. Jon and his wife both read the Hank the Cowdog book series, which I devoured as child, and Adam regularly reads Pinkalicious to his 3 year old daughter—a sadistically cute, optimistic, and pink series that warms the heart and soul—just as I do with my daughter. Whattya know, they’re just like us!
I’ll be at the September 8th game dropping off books for kids who need them most, and I encourage you to do so, too. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a book as a child and having your imagination run wild—let’s help these kids out and catch some Rockies baseball at the same time!