Nolan Arenado is now batting .241/.303/.414. He was hitting .185/.262/.352 going into Monday night.
Nick Groke of the Athletic released this piece on Monday, prior to Arenado’s 4-for-4 performance.
“He looks a little jumpy at the plate, maybe a little overaggressive,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “Seems to be underneath some pitches. You’ve seen some fly balls.”
Groke points out how Arenado’s fly ball rate has increased over 10 percent from 2019. “Arenado’s swing at times has wiggled a little like jelly, but only slightly, and just enough to cut under some pitches for pop-ups.” From August 3-5, Arenado homered in three consecutive days. His bat quieted over the next few contests, and Arenado was “forced into a day off” on Sunday.
Despite a relatively slow start, there are still bright spots that hint Arenado can break out at any time. Monday may have been the first installment.
He holds a .146 batting average on balls in play, suggesting a few would-be hits have just found some gloves. (The league average BABIP is around .300.) In a year chalk-full of small sample sizes, a few of those hits can askew the batting slash more than ever. Four hits in one night bumped his batting average up by 56 points.
The Rockies’ 2.84 starter ERA is currently the fourth best in baseball. Colorado holds the fourth best FIP, the third lowest WHIP, and the fifth lowest walk percentage among starting pitchers.
The four men atop the rotation—Márquez, Gray, Freeland and Senzatela—are the ‘horsemen’ that Aaron Hurt of RoxPile aptly describes. “As long as these four starters continue to have success, the Rockies could be a dangerous team that nobody will want to face down the stretch.”
Plenty of ambition lies in their performance thus far, but a tough road ahead will run the starters through a gauntlet of offense. The Rockies take on the Astros and Dodgers for seven consecutive days beginning August 17.
Arizona’s starter this evening, Zac Gallen, has shown for an impressive 2.81 ERA in 2020. Gallen started the third game of the season for the Diamondbacks (behind Madison Bumgarner and Robbie Ray), and is one of two Arizona starters with an ERA currently in the twos (Merrill Kelly).
Gallen was acquired by the Diamondbacks from the Marlins at the 2019 trade deadline. He is a “fly ball pitcher,” and the Rockies currently have the fourth-highest fly ball percentage. Gallen has four pitches; beyond his fastball, he has thrown his changeup, slider and cutter at a near-equal rate this year.
Colorado will send one of the aforementioned ‘horsemen’ to the mound tonight. Kyle Freeland has a better ERA than Gallen by 0.40, but Gallen’s 21 strikeouts top Freeland’s 11.
Rockies Work To Keep Coronavirus At Bay, Jeff Bridich Says Team ‘Shouldn’t Let Guard Down’ | CBS 4 Denver
“Winning each situation has a different meaning in 2020. Whereas before that mostly applied to in-game situations, this year winning off the field holds equal importance—and so far, the Rockies are excelling in all areas.”
The West pod of MLB action hasn’t been inconvenienced by COVID-related postponements like the Central and East. It has allowed the Rockies to maintain a consistent schedule without slowing their hot start. Hopefully it can stay that way—for both health- and competitiveness-related purposes.
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