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Reviewing a difficult road trip

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, August 16, 2021

It was all good just a week ago.

Before leaving Colorado to face two of the top teams in baseball, the Rockies were riding high. They had just completed a three game sweep of the Marlins and finished their home stand at a sweet and energizing 5-1.

Some people even thought the Rockies may have been about to quietly turn a corner during the road trip. Wonder what idiot that could have been.

Instead, the Rockies got back to their old ways of the road and flunked the test going just 1-5 against two potential World Series contenders. It’s not really surprising but it’s still darn sure disappointing. It’s not just that they keep losing but it’s how they continue to do so. The Rockies are now seven weeks from the end of the season and still have not figured out how to consistently create offense on the road.

Let’s dig into it and break down the entire road trip, Sergio Leone style.

The good

The Rockies bullpen was really good against really good hitting teams. It just didn’t matter as much because the starters were either getting shelled or the offense was taking a nap... or both.

Through the six road games, the bullpen threw for a combined 1.77 ERA in 20 ⅓ innings against two of the best offenses in the sport. They allowed just FOUR earned runs all week including just one in the final four game series against the Giants. For comparison, the starters allowed 22 earned runs in 18 ⅓ innings. The starters got out pitched by the bullpen for what has to be the first time this season.

Specific members of the bullpen worth highlighting are Yency Almonte, Robert Stephenson and Ashton Goudeau. In the midst of a really brutal year, Almonte has now put together four consecutive no-hit innings, dropping his ERA below ten last week for the first time since May 15th. Stephenson continues to excel pitching on the road where he now holds a team best 3.14 ERA. Ashton Goudeau makes the good list because he threw three no-hit innings on Thursday against the Giants (who DFA’d him earlier in the year) and really saved the bullpen in a blowout loss. He’s also been DFA’d seven times in less than a year so let’s give him a win here.

The bad

In a reversal of roles, the starters weren’t able to lift their own weight last week. Like I mentioned above, the starters gave up 22 runs in the six road games for a combined 6.91 ERA. Like much of the struggles on the road for the Rockies, it’s not surprising since the core rotation (Márquez, Gray, Freeland, Gomber, Senzatela) is averaging a 5.05 ERA on the road. With an offense that’s dead last in the majors in runs produced on the road, that is just not going to get it done.

The Rockies front office is really priding themselves on their mostly homegrown rotation’s success but we have yet to see them carry that onto the road. Yes, both the Astros and Giants are good, smart hitting teams and yes, the Giants seem to have the Rockies’ rotation figured out but if the Rockies want their rotation to be elite, they have to do better on the road and make adjustments.

The ugly

So last week, I talked about some offensive road numbers that were trending in the right direction for the Rockies. You can go back and look at them pre-Astros/Giants here but basically in the then-previous two road trips the offense on the road looked like it was really coming alive. That did not turn out to be the case last week.

Here’s the offensive season on the road broken down per road trips.

2021 Rockies Road Offense

Roadtrip # Games Record BA OBP SLG OPS
Roadtrip # Games Record BA OBP SLG OPS
Roadtrip 1 (SF, LAD) 6 0-6 .209 .261 .286 .546
Roadtrip 2 (SF, ARI) 7 2-5 .250 .322 .375 .697
Roadtrip 3 (STL) 3 0-3 .188 .271 .240 .511
Roadtrip 4 (SD) 3 0-3 .125 .160 .198 .358
Roadtrip 5 (NYM, PIT) 7 2-5 .158 .276 .253 .529
Roadtrip 6 (MIA, CIN) 6 1-5 .213 .273 .320 .593
Roadtrip 7 (SEA, MIL) 5 1-4 .166 .253 .301 .553
Roadtrip 8 (ARI, SD) 6 3-3 .254 .326 .359 .685
Roadtrip 9 (LAD, LAA, SD) 10 4-6 .241 .308 .435 .743
Roadtrip 10 (HOU, SF) 6 1-5 .196 .279 .216 .495

As you can see these numbers are horrifying. The recent Astros/Giants road trip has made road trips 8 and 9, which both took place in July, just look like a hot streak carried on the road rather than improvements. This makes the just completed road trip 10 that much more disappointing and ugly.

★ ★ ★

Rockies interim GM Bill Schmidt: “I can lead” franchise turnaround | The Denver Post ($)

As the season begins to wind down, the search for a permanent Rockies GM nears. It’s no secret current interim-GM Bill Schmidt wants the job. Will Dick Monfort and Greg Feasel give it to him? We’ll know for sure this offseason but there continues to be rumblings of that being a strong possibility. Can Bill Schmidt be an effective GM that leads this team back to the postseason for the first time since 2018?

On the farm

Triple-A: Oklahoma City Dodgers 15, Albuquerque Isotopes 10

In an offensive showdown, the Dodgers outlasted the Isotopes Sunday night. Ryan Vilade led the charge for the Isotopes with a 3-for-5 day. Colton Welker went 2-for-5 and is now 7-for-25 at Triple-A. Starting pitcher Jose Mujica had a poor outing lasting just 1 13 innings and giving up seven earned runs on seven hits.

Double-A; Binghamton Rumble Ponies 4, Hartford Yard Goats 3

Out east, the Yard Goats were walked off by the Rumble Ponies in the tenth inning. Michael Toglia and Matt McLaughlin each had two hits. Coco Montes went deep for the eleventh time this season. Starter Ryan Feltner went six innings while only allowing three runs on four hits and striking out seven.

High-A: Spokane Indians 6, Tri-City Dust Devils 5

In the northwest, the Indians complete the ninth inning comeback to beat the Dust Devils. Hunter Stovall went 3-for-5 with an RBI as did Daniel Montano. Aaron Schunk went 2-for-4 with a triple, his fourth of the season.

Low-A: Stockton Ports 6, Fresno Grizzlies 1

In the far west, the Grizzlies could not match the Ports’ offensive output. Seven of the nine players in the lineup did record a hit but only one was for an extra-base. That extra-base hit was a double from Christopher Navarro. Drew Romo continues to stay hot with a 1-for-3 day including the Grizzlies lone RBI.

★ ★ ★

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