In the baseball world, Memorial Day is a checkpoint of sorts. With a full two months of the season complete by the last Monday in May, a team’s record at this point is typically a good indication of who they really are.
For the 2022 Rockies, there are good and bad takeaways from that. At 21-26 and last in the division, they are currently on pace to finish the year 72-90 and be, well, last in the division. But they are also only five games under .500 after a very subpar month.
In Rockies history, the team has been above .500 at Memorial Day 11 times. Of those 11, they have maintained and finished the year with a winning record seven times, most recently in 2018 when they came through Memorial Day 29-25 and finished the year 91-72 (including game 163). The other four times they faltered and finished the year under .500, most recently in 2014 when they were 27-25, then completely fell apart to finish the year at 66-96. So, clearly a fast start isn’t everything.
But it definitely does help. There have only been two times in Rockies history that they had a losing record at Memorial Day then were able to turn it around by the end of the year: 2007 and 2009. Both ended with memorable playoff berths, and while the 2007 team typically overshadows it’s successor, the 2009 team actually had a more impressive in season turnaround. They came through Memorial Day a full eight games under .500, at 18-26. That’s just over 66 win pace for an entire year. From there, though, they caught fire. They went 74-44 for the rest of the year to finish the season with 92 wins.
If they’re to draw inspiration and hope from anywhere, the 2022 Rockies would do well to look to that 2009 team. The division is stronger than it used to be, so much so that going 30 games above .500 from here on out would be a delusional goal. But a team starting that badly and then recovering to make the playoffs highlights that most anything can happen in baseball. The current Rockies are just five games under and have done it without characteristic performances from two of their best players - Kris Bryant due to his lingering back issues, and Germán Márquez not being able to find a feel for pitching. Getting some production out of those two will be a good first step in the right direction.
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Patrick Saunders answers various questions about the Rockies as we move into summer, including the safety of Bud Black’s job (it’s pretty safe) and a comparison of Germán Márquez to another former Rockies ace who seemed to lose his way - Ubaldo Jiménez. Márquez, a first time All-Star in 2021, has posted a 6.20 ERA in his last 22 starts dating back to last season. These negatives have not been enough to deter the LoDo faithful however, as Saunders notes that the Rockies currently rank 11th in the league in home attendance, averaging 30,793 fans per game. The Rockies traditionally draw a good crowd but it could be hard pressed to continue if the product on the field stays as is.
The count is in, and they do - at least based on a recent Twitter poll. Fewer than one in five respondents had a negative reaction, and more than half were positive. This, even though the new jerseys are replacing the black sleeveless favorites. The jerseys will debut on the field June 4th when the Rockies host the Atlanta Braves.
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On the Farm
The Isotopes walked off the nightcap Sunday, when a Jonathan Morales double brought home Bret Boswell. Morales had another double and a homer for a three hit day that also included four RBI. Elehuris Montero (no. 5 PuRP) continued his strong 2022 as he reached base four times including a home run. Ryan Vilade (no. 8 PuRP) added a hit, a run, and two walks of his own to defeat Round Rock (TEX). After a Memorial Day off day, the Isotopes will travel to Texas for another series with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (HOU).
After giving up just 17 runs in the first five games of their series with the Flying Squirrels (SFG), the Yard Goats pitching staff had a rough day Sunday, culminating in a score that is more common on a football field than a baseball diamond. Some bright spots included Ezequiel Tovar (no. 6 PuRP) hitting his tenth home run of the year as part of a three-run day plus Aaron Schunk (no. 24 PuRP) adding three hits and three RBIs for Hartford. Riley Pint and Gavin Hollowell were the only Yard Goats pitchers to put up scoreless innings, each having one. Next up, Hartford welcomes the Reading Fightin Phils (PHI) for a six-game series starting Tuesday.
Spokane was unable to secure the series Sunday as they dropped the finale against the Northwest League cellar-dwelling AquaSox (SEA). It was not for lack of trying on the part of the offense though, who scattered 12 hits on the day, including three from Eddy Diaz (no. 30 PuRP), and two apiece from Zac Veen (no. 1 PuRP), Colin Simpson, Grant Lavigne (no. 22 PuRP), and Robby Martin Jr. Now, Spokane will travel north of the border for a series with the Vancouver Canadians (TOR).
The Grizzlies close out Sunday’s minor league affiliate action with a win over Stockton (OAK). It was an error-filled affair (seven total), and only five of the eight runs scored in the game were earned. However, Fresno had enough offense to win behind homers from Hunter Goodman (no. 27 PuRP), Juan Guerrero, and Trevor Boone alone. Mason Green pitched into the eighth for the Grizzlies, allowing no runs on just three hits and a walk, while striking out nine. The Grizzlies round out their May slate with the first of a series against former Rockies affiliate Modesto (SEA) on Tuesday.
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