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Rockies still chasing the postseason as 2018 rollercoaster continues

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Rockies news and links for August 28, 2018

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A roller coaster left the Rockies right where they started — and again chasing the postseason | The Athletic ($)
After Matt Holliday’s dramatic pinch-hit home run to tie the game for the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night, all the momentum gained was seemingly undone by an ugly start from Tyler Anderson on Sunday afternoon. After Saturday’s game, the Rockies were tied for first place. After Sunday’s loss and a win for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rox were on the outside looking in of both the National League West division and the Wild Card.

It has absolutely been a rollercoaster ride of a season for the Rockies, as Nick Groke of The Athletic writes. The Rockies will have plenty of more opportunities at the division crown, as they will face the D-Backs and the Los Angeles Dodgers (who were 2 ½ games out of the division, prior to Monday’s action) thirteen times before the season is over.

FanGraphs does not give the Rockies a great chance at making the postseason, with a roughly 40% of making the playoffs overall, and a 20% chance of winning the division. The Rockies can thank their negative run differential for their low odds.

As for his struggles, Anderson quoted Winston Churchill— “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Manager Bud Black and the Rockies’ pitching coaches are working to correct Anderson’s mechanics, but there’s always the possibility that someone else could take his rotation spot. Jeff Hoffman has been pitching well for Triple-A Albuquerque as of late. As Antonio Senzatela has also struggled, the Rockies will need to find ways to win games that are not started by Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray, or German Marquez.

With Tyler Anderson and Antonio Senzatela struggling, Rockies facing rotation dilemma | The Denver Post ($)
Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post spoke to Black before and after Anderson’s clunker Sunday start, and does not get the inkling at Anderson will be removed from the rotation. It would be more likely that Hoffman might replace Senzatela’s rotation spot instead. Anderson says that the most frustrating part of his struggles is that he feels “better than [he] ever [has]” physically.

The most overlooked player on each team | MLB.com
MLB.com’s Will Leitch details the most “overlooked” player on all 30 teams. For the Rockies, it’s Freeland. “Nobody ever appreciates those Rockies pitchers enough,” writes Leitch, a statement from a national writer that subsequently resulted in a sense of euphoria for me. In 2018, Freeland has put together a season with the third-best ERA+ in Rockies’ history, after Marvin Freeman’s 1994 and Ubaldo Jimenez’s 2010.

Some other interesting names include Charlie Culberson for the Atlanta Braves and Daniel Descalso for the Arizona Diamondbacks. You may remember these two as former Rockies’ utility players who put up fWAR’s of -1.3 and -0.3, in their respective careers with the Rox. This year, Culberson has a 122 wRC+ and Decalso’s mark sits at 123. Another former Rockie, starter-turned-reliever Collin McHugh, makes the list for the Houston Astros.

Colorado Rockies offense looking for more consistency when it matters | Rox Pile
The Rockies have had some serious issues with driving in runners in scoring position. As Aaron Hurt of Rox Pile details, the team has a .243 batting average with runners in scoring position for the month of August. And before the team went 7-for-14 with RISP in Saturday’s game, their average in such situations was .221.

Colorado Rockies: Ranking the 5 best series of the 2019 season | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Quinn Ritzdorf looks ahead to the most exciting series for the 2019 season. After an honorable mention of the two Spring Training games against the Diamondbacks in Mexico, there’s the Coors Field home opener against the Dodgers, home-and-away two-game sets with the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, a visit to Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox, and a trip to Coors Field for the Toronto Blue Jays. In the Blue Jays series, the Rockies will have the chance to see former star Troy Tulowitzki and the star of the future, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Around Baseball

The Most Important Things About Clutch | FanGraphs
Here at Purple Row, we’ve recently discussed the topic of clutch as it relates to Ian Desmond here. Jeff Sullivan analyzes the aspect of clutch, and how there are virtually no ways to predict if a team will be clutch in the future.

Five suggestions for the next Players Weekend | McCovey Chronicles
Player’s Weekend has come and gone and it’s time for players to stop showing their personality again. At McCovey Chronicles, Bryan Murphy offers suggestions on how to make Player’s Weekend even better in 2019. Suggestions include matching pants, players reading mean tweets, a dunk tank, fishing in McCovey Cove, and a home run derby.

USA TODAY survey: MLB power shift has manager’ salaries in free fall | USA TODAY
Making $1.5 million this season, Black is the 13th highest-paid manager in baseball. With front offices becoming increasingly involved in decision-making, one high-ranking club executive tells Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY that the position of manager is becoming “devalue[d].”