Through eight series so far this season, the Rockies have only played one against an NL West opponent. The good news is that the Rockies (15-10) have a winning record in the NL West after the first month. The bad news is that Colorado has a huge chunk of divisional games yet remaining on the schedule. In other words, three down and 70 to go.
After playing the Dodgers (16-7) in the first series of the season, the Rockies are only now, nearly a month later, returning to NL West play today as they begin a six-game road trip in Arizona (13-13) and San Francisco (14-11). By May 11, the Rockies will be done with the NL West for the month, in which those six games doubled the amount in April.
So what does this mean for the rest of the season? Starting in June, the Rockies will have to play more than half of their games — 64 out of 113 — against the Dodgers, Padres (17-9), Giants, and DBacks.
Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this will give Germán Márquez time to regain control of his fastball and build back his confidence. Maybe it will give Kris Bryant time to get healthy. Maybe it will give the Rockies a chance to keep gelling defensively. Hopefully, they can use the first two months of the season to find their footing after a shortened spring training and continue to build a good record.
Nearly one month into the season, the NL West is far and away the best division in baseball. Other divisions have a last-place team with a winning percentage between .120 and .400. In the NL West, the on-deck DBacks are in last place at 13-13. It’s a little different than playing in the Central with the 3-22 Reds and 9-15 Cubs or in the East with the 9-18 Nationals. In the American League, there are two well-below .500 teams in each division.
It’s no surprise that the NL West is tops; however, being this stacked from top to bottom is. Obviously, it’s still early in the season. The Rockies are only a little over 15% through the season. Before the NL West madness starts in June, the Rockies need to keep racking up the wins. One of the best ways to do that is to keep up the offensive prowess. Through Thursday’s action, the Rockies have MLB-best marks in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. They are better than the Dodgers, Padres, Giants, and DBacks in most offensive categories.
The question will be: Can the Rockies hold those rankings once they start playing NL West opponents more?
NL West Offensive Team Stats and MLB Rankings
After Thursday, the Rockies have the hardest strength of schedule, calculated by combined opponents’ winning percentage at .549, according to Tankathon. The NL West dominates the top five with the Padres at .538, the Dodgers are next at .531, the Giants follow at .529, and the DBacks are just behind at .529.
If the Rockies think of April and May as a warm-up for the NL West-heavy June through October, then at least they get to start May with Arizona.
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Nine pounds. In case anyone is wondering how much weight they might gain if they were to eat 25 cheesecakes in four days, that’s the answer. We know this because of the trailblazing efforts of Rockies physical performance coach Mike Jasperson. This contest, held by all MLB teams when they are in Philadelphia, has rules and is no joke. Jasperson had a game plan and executed it flawlessly. He downed the sandwiches from April 25-28. A few days later, he’d already lost five pounds. If you have ever wondered what goes on in the clubhouse, this is it.
Women continue to break down barriers in baseball.
On Wednesday night, Kelsie Whitmore, a player for the Staten Island FerryHawks, became the first woman to pitch in the Atlantic League, which is an official MLB Partner League. After breaking another record on May 1 when she became the first woman to be in the starting lineup when she played in left field. On Wednesday, she entered the game with two outs and the bases loaded with her team down 3-1 to the Lexington Legends. After working ahead 2-1 in the count, she got Ryan Jackson to fly out and escaped the inning without any more damage done. Whitmore, a two-way player and former star for the U.S. Women’s National baseball team, is in her first season with the FerryHawks.
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On The Farm
Sean Bouchard kicked things off with a solo homer in the first inning, Kyle Holder hit a two-run double while Brian Sevren hit an RBI single in the second, and Coco Montes hit a sac fly in the third to put the Isotopes up 5-0 early. Albuquerque held on despite a Dodger comeback led by former Rockie Kevin Pillar, who hit a three-run homer and hit an RBI single. After a rough start by Zach Neal where he gave up four runs (three earned) in 4 1⁄3 innings, Lucas Gilbreath earned the win with a scoreless 2⁄3 inning. Zach Lee held in the sixth and Chad Smith got the save.
This was all Dodgers from the start. Ryan Noda hit a grand slam in the first and by the second, Oklahoma City had jumped out to a 9-3 lead. D.J. Peterson hit his third homer of the season and Tim Lopes added a two-run single in the second for Albuquerque.
The Yard Goats built up a 4-1 lead after four innings and were able to hang on to improve to 13-11 on the season. Niko Decolati and Aaron Schunk both went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored apiece. Ezequiel Tovar, Willie MacIver, and Hunter Stovall each drove in a run. After Noah Davis gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts in the start, the Hartford bullpen stepped up to shut down the Rumble Ponies, holding them to two hits in the rest of the game. Dugan Darnell got the win after 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings with one strikeout and Stephen Jones got his first save of the season.
Inclement weather washed out Thursday night’s game. It will now be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. The seven-inning double billing will begin at 6:09 p.m. (MT).
Modesto went nuts in the third inning, scoring eight runs on three home runs and an RBI double. For the Grizzlies, Alverson Rodriguez hit two solo homers, Warming Bernabel hit a two-run double Juan Guerrero RBI single. Zach Kokoska also reached on an error and then came around to score on another one. McCade Brown was hit hard in the loss, giving up eight runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts in three innings.
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