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Rockies and ex-Rockies with great 2020 comebacks

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Saturday, October 10, 2020

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With a combined 10 MLB seasons missed, the Rockies’ Daniel Bard and the ex-Rockie Tyler Matzek have made some inspiring returns. It’s a shame only one of them can take home the honor of NL Comeback Player of the Year.

Daniel Bard (Colorado Rockies, 2020): 24 23 IP, 3.65 ERA, 27 K

Last MLB appearance prior to 2020: April 27, 2013

Tyler Matzek (Atlanta Braves, 2020): 29 IP, 2.79 ERA, 43 K

Last MLB appearance prior to 2020: May 6, 2015

Rockies fans had a front seat for Bard’s resurgence this year, going from Arizona Diamondbacks mental skills coach to MLB closer. Now, Rockies fans have a nationally-televised ticket to see the division-rival Dodgers face off in the NLCS against the resurgent Matzek and a hot Braves pitching staff.

Matzek, a 2009 first-rounder, pitched for the Rockies in 2014 and 2015. That was his only MLB experience going into this year. Matzek posted an ERA just over four in both of those seasons, and was unable to crack into the big leagues in 2016. He spent all of that year with Rockies affiliates in Hartford and Modesto before electing free agency the following winter.

The stories of Bard and Matzek should stand alone: just because one player receives the NL Comeback Player of the Year honors doesn’t negate the perseverance from others. It still remains interesting to evaluate what a voter might base their selection on: would Matzek’s ERA and strikeout percentage give him an edge, or would Bard’s closer nomination and a longer MLB absence deem his comeback more substantial?

(No matter who collects the hardware, each deserves something for some of the most wild Baseball Reference pages ever.)

The MLB-sponsored Comeback Player of the Year award was introduced in 2005, although the Sporting News named a winner from 1965-2006. Josh Donaldson and Carlos Carrasco were the recipients last year. Carrasco missed a good portion of 2019 following a leukemia diagnosis, while Donaldson’s bat came alive after extensive issues with his calf and shoulder. Left-hander Jonny Venters won the NL award in 2018 after a five-year absence and three Tommy John surgeries.

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Yankees vs. Rays score: Mike Brosseau carries Tampa Bay to ALCS with late home run on Aroldis Chapman | CBS Sports

Two notable ex-Rockies, DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino, were eliminated from playoff contention as the New York Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. LeMahieu went 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot on Friday, while Ottavino did not pitch.

It’s time to face facts about the 2020 Rockies. Here are six to start. | The Athletic ($)

“At least [the Rockies’] plummet was brief, cut off after 60 games, like ripping off a soggy Band-Aid, sparing them the indignity of a Dodgers sweep in the first round. Serenity now.”

Nick Groke of The Athletic details the “plainly dismal outcome” for the Rockies in 2020. He offers an objective take on how Colorado can respond moving forward as they “stand at crossroads.”

What do the Wild Card ratings mean for the new postseason format? | Bless You Boys (SB Nation, Detroit Tigers)

“It could be bad news for baseball fans who loathed the new expanded postseason format: too many of us watched it anyway.”

Ashley MacLennan points out that even with the NBA Finals and a presidential debate going on, plenty of fans tuned in for MLB’s expanded Wild Card round. Perhaps this is to be expected with 16 markets seeing their team into the postseason—and a baseball world hungry for more games after a shortened regular season.

Meanwhile, the viewership for the NBA Finals has been hurting. This can be from a multitude of factors, such as the day of the week that games are played. (Sports Illustrated: “The NBA never plays a Finals game on a Friday night because viewership for Fridays is terrible. Game 3 took place on Sunday night going head-to-head with the NFL.) There were no postseason baseball games played last Saturday or Sunday.

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