Lessons From The Colorado Rockies Other 7-2 Starts

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Mar 29, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Larry Walker (33) is introduced during the ceremony for the 1994 Expos before the game between the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

1997 (finished 83-79)

The 1997 Colorado Rockies took their hot start in reverse, dropping their first two games to the Cincinnati Reds before ripping off seven straight victories. They finished third in the NL West that year, four games over .500 but seven games behind the division champion San Francisco Giants and nine games behind the wild card (and eventual World Series champion) Florida Marlins.

The ’97 Rox went 47-34 at home (.580), while surviving at 36-45 (.444) on the road. They dominated the Cubs, going 9-2 against them that summer, but had trouble with the division champion Giants, winning just four games in twelve tries.

Interestingly, they were a very streaky team; between July 1 and July 19, they went 1-15, with their one victory coming in a walk-off win against the Padres. They entered that skid at 43-39, and were 44-54 by the time it was done, so… who knows what might have happened if they didn’t fall apart in July. They redeemed themselves in August with a nine-game winnings streak, and at one point won 16 of 18 games August 25th through September 15th.

Larry Walker was an All Star, won a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, the National League MVP, and led the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage that season, slashing .366/.452/.720 in 664 plate appearances. He only mashed 208 hits, 46 doubles, and 49 home runs, and walked 78 times against 90 strikeouts.

I guess that’s OK.

The pitching, uh, let’s not even talk about it. Thanks for asking, though.

(Look, all you need to know is the Rockies gave Jamey Wright 149.2 innings across 26 starts where he had a 6.25 ERA, a 5.61 FIP, and he walked 71 batters against just 59 strikeouts, ok?! Stop asking!!)

ONE WEIRD STAT: On April 13, 1997 – as a relief pitcher – Darren Holmes hit a solo home run in the fifth inning off Carlos Perez. Baseball Reference lists it as “to deep left field,” so I’m sure Darren can tell us how he hit it off the Jumbotron, right?

Holmes never had another extra base hit, and would hit just two more singles – both in 1997 – in his 13-year big league career.

Next: 2011: Hot Start, Ice Cold Finish