So here’s the thing about the Rockies and their very bad 3-9 start through 12 games - it’s not just the offense. It’s definitely the offense first, but the pitching has also faltered as the games in the early going of 2019 have mostly felt hopeless.
I think this has a lot to do with the pressure put on the pitching when the offense is so consistently bad and when there is such a slim margin for error for the pitching. Yes they have faltered, but it must be such a frustrating feeling to know that a 2-0 deficit will feel like a 10-0 deficit.
Also worth noting: Tony Wolters is quoted in this article from Patrick Saunders as saying that the Rockies need to play more “small ball” on offense. If he means taking better at-bats and swinging at more strikes, then sure, that sounds great to me. If he means bunting and manufacturing runs or whatever, I will pass.
One Rockpile, two headlines with “dirty dozen” in them. Also two articles with Tony Wolters quotes I would like to focus on.
In this case, we have Wolters saying “every team goes through this.” That’s not literally true, of course. I am confident in saying that not every team goes through a 12-game stretch in which they have a -31 run differential. But if he means a slump, that’s fine. And it is early, but the Rockies are like another five games or so away from this making things awfully difficult this season.
Kevin Henry also notes that this is the most games below .500 that the Rockies have been during Bud Black’s tenure. I agree with him that it is ultimately on the lineup to get things right and make this nothing more than an early season issue.
We shouldn’t belabor this point, but it’s an article like this that makes me think that the perception of Dick Monfort has not swung nearly enough in the positive direction as it should have at this point.
Nick Groke writes about a number of interesting comments in this article from an owner that comes off as fairly transparent and committed to winning. It feels like we are a long way away from an owner who vetoed trades or padded his pockets with money instead of investing in the team.
Consider this: the Rockies have the 11th highest payroll in baseball. That seems pretty high! And Monfort discusses the room they have tried to give themselves to continue to spend, specifically on more extensions for guys like Trevor Story and Kyle Freeland.
Granted, that means there will be years with less spending, including 2020 per a warning from Monfort in this interview. And obviously it would be good to see the places where the Rockies do spend improve over the likes of Ian Desmond, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee. But still, a team committed to developing good players and then rewarding those players sounds like a winner to me. And that’s even with a 3-9 record.
Three of these are relevant to the Rockies in this article from Will Leitch. There’s the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that clearly out-classed the Rockies for three games even if they somehow lost one of those games. And then there are the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, both in the National League West and both off to surprisingly good starts.
We can say that the Rockies still don’t need to panic yet, but we can also notice that the pressure is greater because it’s not just the Los Angeles Dodgers playing well in the early days of the 2019 season.
On the farm
The highlights from the minor leagues on Wednesday came courtesy of some well-known players in Triple-A. Noel Cuevas, who might be playing for the Rockies any day now, just went nuts in his team’s victory. He hit for the cycle, and then he added an extra home run to go 5-5 with five runs scored and five RBI.
Dom Nunez (PuRP no. 30) also had a big night as the Isotopes cruised to an easy win. On the pitching side, Peter Lambert (PuRP no. 2) and Sam Howard (PuRP no. 24) did the heavy lifting to set up the win. Down in Asheville, Ryan Rolison (PuRP no. 5) went 3.2 innings while allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits with three strikeouts.