The Rockies have exactly one month left in the 2023 season. Between today’s showdown with the Blue Jays and the season finale on Oct. 1 against the Twins, the Rockies have 29 games remaining.
With injuries, offensive woes, and a depleted pitching staff in the rotation and bullpen, the hopes of a .500 season vanished long ago. Without the thrill of postseason possibilities and coming off a 6-20 August, which is a franchise record for most losses in the month, watching the Rockies for wins might not be the best way to go. We’ll savor any victories that come, but watching for milestones might be a better way to keep things interesting.
In a season like this, it’s only fitting to put these nine milestones in the following categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
1. Tovar’s Glove
Tovar is having a memorable season on the field (and at the plate, but we’ll get to that in a minute). Even though an uncharacteristic error on Wednesday dropped his fielding percentage to .986, he could still bounce back to tie or break Troy Tulowitzki’s record for the best fielding percentage by a rookie shortstop in MLB history at .987 from 2007. He could also keep climbing the defensive runs saved (DRS) SS leaderboard. He’s currently sixth in the league with nine.
2. Doyle’s Perfection
Brenton Doyle made an error in his fifth game in the big leagues. Since then, he’s gone 94 games without one, which ties Matt Reynold’s errorless streak from 2010-11 for the longest as a Rockie rookie. He could own the record after game one vs. Toronto. The one error equates to a .997 fielding percentage in 799 innings. Across the league, Doyle is tied for most centerfield assists with eight and is also tied for third with 12 DRS.
3. New Nolan’s Arm
Nolan Jones has only played in the field in 75 games and only 64 of those games have been in the outfield. Nonetheless, Jones has 12 outfield assists. Despite playing fewer games than his competition, Jones’ outfield assists are the best out of all MLB rookies and second in all of MLB (it’s also four more than Mookie Betts — just saying). Jones could top the leaderboard by the end of the season. Dante Bichette holds the franchise single-season record with 17 outfield assists. At this rate, Jones could make a run for it.
4. Rookie Bash Brothers
Tovar and Jones don’t just flash fancy gloves. They also rake. Tovar’s 15 homers and Jones’ 13 make them just the second Rockies rookie duo in team history to have at least 10 homers each (joining Luis Gonzalez and Matt Holliday in 2004 and Garrett Atkins and Clint Barmes in 2005). Tovar has the fifth-most homers in a rookie season in team history and Jones is at No. 7. Tovar just needs 10 more hits this season to match Nolan Arenado’s 130 in his rookie 2013 season. He only needs 11 more RBI to match Trevor Story’s rookie mark of 72 in 2016. Jones is hitting a homer every 19.62 at-bats, which is fourth in the Rockies rookie record book. If he gets hot, he could catch up to No. 3 Jose Ortiz (15.69, 2001) or No. 2 Wilin Rosario (14.14, 2012)
5. Record Roster
The 2023 club has already set a record for most pitchers used in a season, but more records could fall by Oct. 1. So far, the Rockies have had 15 different starters, which is tied for the most with 1993 and 2014. If one new starter takes the mound, which could happen if Austin Gomber’s back soreness causes him to miss a start, they’ll break that record. The team has also fielded 55 different players this year, matching the franchise record from 2011. One more call-up and 56 will be the new tops.
6. Attendance Drop?
Through 64 home games, the Rockies are averaging 32,050 fans per game, which ranks No. 13 in MLB. The Rockies have finished in the top 10 in attendance in the league in the last five years (excluding the fanless 2020). On their current pace, they will fall from the No. 9 spot, which they had in 2022. Could this happen? Is it enough to matter to the front office?
Disclaimer: Depending on your feelings on the Rockies, this could go in the good, the bad, or the ugly section. I chose the middle.
7. The Homer Divide
After giving up 18 homers to the Braves in seven games this season, the Rockies helped Atlanta set a franchise record with 250 homers (they already got three more on Thursday). The Rockies pitchers have given up 194 homers this season, which is second-most in MLB and 10 behind the Nationals. Hopefully, a late-season surge doesn’t make the Rockies the worst. Colorado’s offense, on the other hand, could be headed toward a record low in homers. The current low in a full season is 142 from 1993, the Rockies inaugural campaign. The Rockies have 133 homers right now, which ranks No. 25 in MLB, and only need nine to avoid being the worst in team history. Since they are averaging one per game, they should be in the clear. Maybe they can even beat the 149 mark they set in 2022 to show improvement.
8. Strikeout Kings
The Rockies are on the wrong side of all the strikeout numbers. This year, the hitters are tied for third-most strikeouts in MLB with 1,262. The franchise-worst mark came in 2019 when the Rockies combined for 1,503 strikeouts is the most in team history. in 2023, Colorado is averaging 9.5 strikeouts per game. With 29 games to go, they are on track to get 1,537 for an all-time low. The pitchers have combined to strike out 920 batters this season, which is the worst — by 100 — in the Majors. Unless something drastic happens, the Rockies will hold that spot as the worst strikeout pitchers.
9. 100 Losses
The Rockies are currently 49-84 and projected to finish at 60-102. The previous low in wins was 98 in 2012. Of the nine teams the Rockies have yet to face, only one doesn’t have a winning record (Padres) and four of them would be headed toward the postseason if the season ended today (and another is only 0.5 games out of the Wild Card). The Rockies have the hardest remaining schedule in the big leagues. They just went 6-20 and August and would need to go 14-15 in the final month to avoid 100. It doesn’t seem likely.
Will the Rockies lose 100 games this season
This poll is closed
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The Denver Post is good at doing surveys about Rockies fans’ interest. The latest one doesn’t look good for the Rockies front office (as of Thursday night). More than 50% of respondents, over 600 people, said they didn’t go to games this year, over 80% (677 people) said they aren’t going because of personnel decisions and the team not being competitive, and over 85% said their support has changed because of ownership or they were protesting ownership. More people should go vote because the bigger the sample size, the better.
Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 30th homer on Thursday night, becoming the first player in MLB history with 60 stolen bases and 30 homers. There’s still a month left. This could be a milestone no one touches, unless he breaks it. New records are great and so is the fact that Acuña didn’t get that 30th homer against the Rockies.
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On the Farm
Four Isotopes combined for nine shutout innings, only allowing five hits total, and Coco Montes hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth for a big win on Thursday. Noah Davis started the party with five solid innings, giving up only two hits and striking out two with three walks. Riley Pint then added a scoreless sixth with two strikeouts, despite giving up two walks and a hit. Nick Kennedy struck out two and only gave up one hit in two innings for the win and Matt Carasiti earned the save, even though he surrendered a hit and walk in the ninth. Alburquerque only got six hits, but Wynton Bernard got one in the ninth before Montes hit the only homer of the game. Montes also doubled and finished going 3-for-5. Bernard finished with two hits and also drew a walk. Sean Bouchard added a single.
In a game with a football game score, the Squirrels took a 14-0 lead before the Yard Goats even got on the board in the sixth inning. Considering the deficit, it’s commendable that Hartford rallied back. Grant Lavigne led the way with a solo homer and an RBI single, while Yanquiel Fernandez hit a two-run double and finished with two hits and three RBI. Sterlin Thompson added another hit, drove in two runs, and scored two more. Carson Palmquist struggled in the start, giving up four homers, five walks, and eight runs in 2 1⁄3 innings with six strikeouts.
Thursday’s game was postponed due to “unplayable field conditions.” The team said a makeup date would be announced later.
Cole Carrigg hit a grand slam in the 10th inning and Andy Perez added a two-run single for a huge Fresno win in extra innings on Thursday night. The game went into extra innings tied 2-2 before the Grizzlies pounced. Kevin Sim hit a two-run homer for Visalia in the bottom of the tenth, but it wasn’t enough to catch Fresno. Bryant Betancourt hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning for the Grizzlies to help send the game to extra innings. Connor Staine had a solid start, striking out seven and giving up two runs on four hits with no walks in six innings.
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