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Seven games against the Dodgers needs to be a wake-up call

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Colorado Rockies just finished an absolutely brutal California road trip which saw them get swept out of San Francisco and Los Angeles before returning home with their tail between their legs for an eight-game homestand. The Rockies were outscored 29-11 on the trip and have fallen to a major league-worst 3-10 record. This is one of the worst starts in team history and playing the Dodgers seven times in the first 13 games hasn’t helped anyone feel better.

But hey, this is the Dodgers we’re talking about, right? They won the World Series in 2020 and have done nothing to create any doubt that they should be favorites again in 2021. When you face a team this good, simply having a losing record does not merit an end-of-the-world reaction. It’s a tough row to hoe, sure, but both organizations employ professional players so there should be some sense of equilibrium when the two teams take the field. After all, 2020 was a mess for the Rockies but they were the only team to win a series against Los Angeles.

All of these games against the Dodgers can be good for something, however. It offers the Rockies and their front office a litmus test to see how competitive they really are. After all, that was the expectation for this season, right? At least, that’s what Dick Monfort said in the press conference explaining the Arenado trade and the state of the franchise moving forward.

Well, so far the results show that the Rockies cannot compete with the Dodgers, and it’s not particularly close. In their matchups so far the Rockies have lost six of seven games, been outscored 44-28, and did not even hold a lead against LA for 45 innings (!) since Opening Day before a first inning home run by Ryan McMahon on Thursday. That lead lasted two innings before evaporating on a nacho-demolishing three-run homer by Justin Turner in the third inning. The Rockies would briefly regain the lead in the sixth inning before a four-run seventh inning by the Dodgers lost the Rockies the lead for good. That’s four whole innings of having a lead (all occurring in one game, mind you) in 54 innings of baseball.

That’s...not very competitive.

These head-to-head matchups are representative of the larger picture, too. It’s not just the Dodgers “finding a way to win” or a few bad-luck bounces not going the Rockies way. This is a matter of the Rockies simply being a significantly lower-quality product than their counterparts. Let’s stack up how they each compare with the rest of the league.

First we’ll look at them side-by-side offensively. Let’s use statistics that support a team’s ability to create opportunities to score runs and how good they are at cashing in those opportunities. Using walk rate and on-base percentage can help us explain ability to generate baserunners, while OPS+ can help us understand the overall execution of their batters reaching base and hitting for power in any situation. Finally, runs created per game (RC/G) can give us the end result and efficiency of the lineup in a given game.

Rockies vs Dodgers Offensive Comparison

Stat Rockies League Rank Dodgers League Rank
Stat Rockies League Rank Dodgers League Rank
BB% 6.60% 30th 12.20% 1st
OBP .277 28th .380 1st
OPS+ 71 29th 143 1st
RC/G 4.1 24th 7.4 1st

Well, that’s gross. The Dodgers are excelling while the Rockies are faltering.

How about on the pitching side, then? After all, a team can excel more on one side of the ball than the other. The Rockies traded away their best position player and the current construction of the team is built around the starting rotation, so maybe this is where they close the gap a bit? Using a similar format, let’s see how the two teams fare in preventing baserunners, extra base hits and allowing runs per game.

Rockies vs Dodgers Pitching Comparison

Stat Rockies League Rank Dodgers League Rank
Stat Rockies League Rank Dodgers League Rank
BB% 12.6% 30th 6.1% 2nd
XBH% 9.5% 28th 5.5% 3rd
OPS Against .826 30th .609 5th
RA/G 5.23 22nd 3.15 4th

Yup, just as ugly.

These lopsided figures need to resonate with ownership that the Rockies simply are not built to compete with the top talent in the league, plain and simple. Sure, Trevor Story hasn’t taken off yet and Kyle Freeland is still working his way back from a shoulder injury, but these won’t fix the systemic issues that are at the core of these butt-kickings. The Rockies don’t have the true talent right now to be David to LA’s Goliath and need a serious influx of major league talent before they will be able to again.

Once that happens, only then can this team expect to be competitive.

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Rockies’ losing streak now at six games after 7-5 loss to Dodgers | Denver Post ($)

Patrick Saunders surmises the final game of the woeful road trip. He touches on Austin Gomber’s impressive start, the lost opportunities to secure a victory and the overall troubles the team has had on the road to start the 2021 season. Kyle Newman also previews the upcoming series against the Mets.

Kiszla: Rockies need to wave white flag on on lost season and trade shortstop Trevor Story | Denver Post ($)

Mark Kiszla is done and officially wants to kick-start the Trevor Story trade watch. Following the recent disastrous road trip, Kiszla questions what motivations the Rockies could have for not starting the trade talks with other clubs for Story’s services. Watching DJ Lemahieu succeed in New York and the fallout from the Arenado trade has already indicated the start of the rebuild and, in his opinion, moving Story is the next logical step in the process:

“To move Story will require fans, as well as Monfort and Bridich, to accept the harsh realities of a last-place team with little leverage in the trade market because the shortstop can walk as a free agent when his contract expires at season’s end.” -Mark Kiszla

Mets-Rox postponed; DH on Saturday | mlb.com

It’s spring in Colorado which means it can snow at any time. Well, Friday is one of those times as a heavy spring storm has pushed the first game of Mets series at Coors Field to Saturday as part of a double header.

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