Lessons From The Colorado Rockies Other 7-2 Starts

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Sep 25, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (17) calls for time after sliding into second base following his double in the fifth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

2011 (finished 73-89)

The 2011 Colorado Rockies actually started 11-2, with both losses by one run (Arizona on Opening Day, and Pittsburgh on April 8). The hot start didn’t last, though, as the club finished just 62-87, and were 21 games out of first place in the NL West by year’s end.

This club struggled at home (38-43, just .469), and yet interestingly wasn’t terrible on the road (35-46, .432). The division destroyed them; they went just 10-26 combined against the Giants and Diamondbacks, and couldn’t overcome it against the Dodgers and Padres, earning an in-division record of just 28-44 (.389).

After the hot 11-2 start, and a 17-8 record for the month of April (the Rockies were leading the division by 4.5 games at the beginning of play May 1st), May was a cruel, cruel mistress. The club went 8-21 in May, and by the end of that month had lost nine games in the standings, from which they couldn’t recover.

The kiss of death was probably a road trip to Arizona and San Francisco May 3-8. The Rockies went 1-5 on the six-game trip, and were the victims of three consecutive walk-off losses (one to Arizona, two to San Francisco) on May 5, 6, and 7. Felipe Paulino took three losses in relief on that six-game road trip, and after a fourth loss in relief ten days later, the club shipped him to Kansas City.

Offensively, the Rockies only hit .258/.329/.410 that summer, with just two regulars – Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki – hitting above .300 (and each only hit .302!). Tulo mashed 30 home runs, and Carlos Gonzalez added 26 of his own. This was also the last year Jason Giambi was good, hitting 13 home runs and six doubles and slashing .260/.355/.603 in just 152 plate appearances before struggling the next three years before retirement.

On the mound, Jhoulys Chacin led the way and the team earned a 4.43 ERA (4.24 FIP), which was good enough for 15th among National League squads.

Jorge De La Rosa looked brilliant across ten starts to begin the year until Tommy John surgery tripped him up, and Rex Brothers burst onto the scene that summer with 59 strikeouts and just 20 walks allowed – his lowest walk rate to date – in 40.2 innings.

ONE WEIRD STAT: The Rockies hit a whopping 40 triples that year, including 15 from Dexter Fowler alone. Interestingly, Fowler didn’t lead the league in triples (he did the year before, with 14), finishing third behind Shane Victorino and Jose Reyes, who both hit 16.

And, neither did the Rockies; they were second in triples behind the San Diego Padres, who hit 42 (but, the Padres hit just 91 home runs and 247 doubles, compared to the Rockies hitting 163 and 274, respectively).

Next: What Can The 2015 Colorado Rockies Learn?