The Colorado Rockies Won’t Pitch This Well All Year


May 22, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) after walking in a run with bases loaded during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies are throwing the ball much, much better in the last week – especially the starting pitchers – so can we expect the trend to continue long-term?

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In the last seven days, before Sunday afternoon’s getaway day game in Philadelphia, the Colorado Rockies have gotten great performances out of their starting pitchers.

Across six games, the starters have thrown 42.2 innings, allowing just 30 hits and ten walks, while striking out 24 batters and giving up just a 2.53 ERA. The Rox have also won five of their last six games behind those strong starts. Surely, those two things are very, very closely related.

But… as much as I love the Rockies, this trend of going more than seven innings an outing, nearly throwing perfect games and no-hitters, and hell, having a AAA pitcher come up in an emergency and toss a gem just can’t continue.

No offense to Chad Bettis, or Chris Rusin, or Kyle Kendrick, or anyone else on that staff, but this won’t continue.

I know, the starts came in high-offense ballparks, beginning in Denver last Sunday against the Giants, and continuing to Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. But on the flip side, the Reds and Phillies are, like the Rockies, bad. Their offenses were anemic and their momentum non-existent in each series with the Rockies.

Intuitively, I think we all know the Rockies won’t continue to pitch like this. Few teams across the big leagues have starters going more than seven innings every single night, so it’s not like the Rockies would be failures if they stop throwing this well. All the starters have to do is keep the offense in the game, anyways; six perfect innings, or a no-hitter into the eighth? That’s just a (rare) bonus.

What the Rockies’ recent good run speaks more to is the ebb and flow of baseball. If you called for Walt Weiss’ head last week when the Rox were in the middle of a skid, then to be ideologically consistent you ought to demand he sign an extension this week after the club makes Chad Bettis look like a Cy Young candidate.

Of course, neither move is the right one, and neither extreme is the best perspective to look at baseball. A 162-game season takes forever to play out, and one week a team will trend upwards, while the next week it will look like they’ve forgotten how to play baseball. Such is the nature, and beauty, of the game.

Remember this post on June 15th, when Jorge De La Rosa gives up seven runs in three innings, and then again on July 2nd when he allows two hits across eight innings of shutout baseball. Or on June 22nd when Kyle Kendrick can’t get out of the second inning, and again July 19th when he throws a complete game four-hit shutout.

The dates are made up, but you get my point. No team, or player, is as good as their best week, nor as bad as their worst.

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What the Rockies – and every baseball team – must do is make the average of those two extremes become incrementally better month by month, season by season.

With young arms like Butler, Bettis, Lyles, and David Hale and Jon Gray on the way (not to mention guys like Tyler Anderson and Kyle Freeland) you should be optimistic about that incremental improvement.

But you should also be patient about the inevitable struggles that will very soon befall the starting rotation again in, oh, another day or two. Sorry to kill your buzz.