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Are the Rockies quietly turning a corner?

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday August 9, 2021

As we plunge further into August, the Rockies remain far and away from playoff contention. Yet we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that the Rockies have been playing some of their best baseball of late. The rotation remains elite (and not just by Coors standards), the offense has come alive and the bullpen… well the bullpen as a whole is still getting there.

The narrative of the entire season has been dominated by the wide difference in home/road records. It was deservedly so, this team was awful on the road for a lot of the season BUT things might be changing.

We’ve heard it for years, the best Rockies teams will be really good at home and at or around .500 on the road. Well since the numerical second half of the season began on July 1st, the Rockies have been doing just that, sitting at 10-5 at home and 7-9 on the road since then. It’s still a relatively small sample size of just 31 total games but there are some really encouraging numbers to build on from those games.

For example, take a look at the offensive improvement the Rockies have shown on the road since July 1st.

Rockies on the road before and after July 1st

Period of Time Games Record BA OBP SLG OPS
Period of Time Games Record BA OBP SLG OPS
Before July 1st 37 6-31 .196 .270 .296 .566
Since July 1st 16 7-9 .246 .315 .406 .721

It’s night and day. If the Rockies could just travel back in time and replay the first 37 road games like they have the last 16, they might be a playoff team and have top ten offensive road numbers. Now maybe it’s the law of averages balancing the year’s stats or maybe the Rockies have made the right adjustments.

Could it also be that they’ve benefitted from MLB’s strict midseason enforcement of foreign substances used by pitchers. The league did begin checking every pitcher on June 21st. However, on the Rockies first road trip under those rules on June 22nd to June 27th, they slashed just .166/.253/.301. It could have been a delayed effect or it could be a combination of adjustments and guys getting hot. Either way, it’s a big development to keep an eye on going forward.

An offense even just near this level on the road paired with how they’ve played at home and the elite rotation the Rockies have had this season could give the front office just enough to consider this season a success in terms of growth.

The rotation has blossomed. Brendan Rodgers, Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia have firmly established themselves as everyday players. Others like Yonathan Daza, Connor Joe and Sam Hilliard have taken advantage of their opportunities and excelled in their roles.

There’s just a lot of positive developments in these last five weeks. This next road trip against the Astros and the Giants will be a nice test to see how real these numbers are against some really good pitching staffs and some really smart and disciplined hitters.

If they are, there’s a lot to begin to be excited about going forward. The Rockies could be turning a corner not for the season but maybe for the future.

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Rockies’ Elehuris Montero: More than just part of Nolan Arenado trade | The Denver Post ($)

Elehuris Montero has been opening a lot of eyes this season. He just won player of the month in the Double-A Northeast league. Minor league coaches have praised Montero’s love of hitting and willingness to learn and take instruction. According to them, part of what made Montero so successful in July was his early count discipline. Chris Forbes, the Rockies director of player development, says Montero could move up to Triple-A Albuquerque this season.

On the farm

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

In an extremely high scoring affair, the Isotopes could not match the Dodgers’ firepower. A lot happened in this game. Both teams combined for 25 runs, 29 hits, five home runs, nine doubles, two triples, seven walks and four errors. Starting pitcher Jose Mujica gave up seven earned runs in only 1 13 innings. Ryan Vilade went 3-for-5 with a double. Interestingly enough, Joshua Fuentes made his first ever start in left field and went 2-for-5. Could we see him play the outfield for the Rockies at some point? Colton Welker made his Triple-A debut and also went 2-for-5.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 10, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5

The Yard Goats slugged their way to a victory in New Hampshire with nine of their thirteen hits going for extra bases. Coco Montes led the way with two home runs and five RBIs. Casey Golden had two doubles and Jameson Hannah had one as part of his 2-for-3 day that also included a stolen base. Starting pitcher David Hill allowed five runs on six hits and two walks in 4 23 innings but it was the bullpen that shutout the Fisher Cats for the rest of the game and only allowed just three hits.

High-A: Everett AquaSox vs Spokane Indians (postponed, inclement weather)

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 4, San Jose Giants 3

The Grizzlies managed to hold off the Giants with just three runs given up, only one earned. Eddy Diaz led the team with a 3-for-5 night. Outfielders Joe Aeilts and Bladimir Restituyo were both responsible for scoring the tying and go-ahead runs, each also had two hits with those RBIs.

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