Colorado Rockies: Two 2016 Negatives Suddenly Positives in 2017
By Kevin Henry
Two games into the season may not be the greatest sample size, but there seems to be something magical happening under Bud Black’s watch as the leader of the Colorado Rockies.
After back-to-back wins in Milwaukee to open the campaign, the Rockies are the only 2-0 team in the National League and sit atop the division standings. All four of the other NL West squads are at 1-1.
It’s just the fifth time in Colorado’s 25-year history that the team has started off 2-0. That, in itself, is pretty cool if you’re in the Mountain time zone. However, it’s how the team has won both of their games in Milwaukee that has Colorado fans waking up a little more giddy than usual on Wednesday.
Two of the team’s biggest weaknesses from last season, the bullpen and Gerardo Parra, have actually become strengths and paced the Rockies to their back-to-back victories.
Parra, who served as a piñata for us and plenty of other members of the Rockies media last season with his less-than-spectacular statistics, is showing that a renewed attitude and good health that we saw in spring training wasn’t just an illusion.
The 29-year-old Parra, manning left field with David Dahl sidelined with an injury, is 5-for-9 with four RBI through the season’s first two games. He had just 39 RBI in 368 at-bats last season.
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While the seemingly rejuvenated Parra is pacing the Colorado offense, the revamped bullpen has been nothing short of spectacular against the Brewers.
Six different Colorado relievers have combined to allow just two hits and no runs in 8.1 innings of work spanning the first two games of the season. Mike Dunn, acquired from Miami in the offseason, has struck out five in two innings. Greg Holland, the former All-Star closer coming off Tommy John surgery, has gotten the first two saves of the season with consecutive scoreless ninth innings.
They pace a bullpen that is not only renewed but seemingly confident in their abilities. After Colorado relievers were at the bottom of Major League Baseball last season with a 5.13 ERA, it appears to be a new era in the pen.
Sure, critics will say it’s just two games. However, there’s an energy coming from this team that hasn’t been felt in LoDo in years. It’s also a team that is not only missing Dahl, but also offensive weapons in Ian Desmond and Tom Murphy. The Colorado squad taking the field tonight at Miller Park could look completely different by the time the end of the April arrives.
Next: Did the Rockies Win or Lose the Tulowitzki Trade?
There is a lot to be excited about with this year’s Colorado Rockies. Watching two of 2016’s negatives turn into positives in 2017 only adds to that excitement.