The Colorado Rockies modest three-game winning streak came to an end Sunday afternoon as they dropped the finale of their home series with the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-6. Here are the three big takeaways from the ballgame:
1) Another Rough Start For Tyler Anderson
In 19 starts for the Colorado Rockies in 2016, Tyler Anderson only allowed five earned runs in a game twice. Less than one full week into the 2017 season, Anderson has already matched that total.
The Dodgers lineup got to Anderson quickly, as a Justin Turner double plated two runs just three batters into the game. In the second inning, Anderson looked like he was getting back on track after recording two quick outs, but a walk to Logan Forsythe was immediately followed by a massive home run to center field from Corey Seager.
Anderson was able to settle in somewhat after the rough start, allowing a single run over his final three innings, but by that point, he had already put the Rockies in a hole that they were unable to climb out of. That’s the second straight shaky outing for Anderson, who has now allowed 10 earned runs on 13 hits in just 10.2 innings so far this year.
It’s still too early to start thinking about pulling Anderson from the rotation, but if he’s still sporting an ERA over 8 heading into May, Colorado may have to consider letting one of their talented pitching prospects in Triple-A (Jeff Hoffman? German Marquez?) give Anderson some time off to clear his head.
2) A Hole In The Lineup
Let’s take a moment to recognize the efforts of Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra. Hitting first and second, respectively, on Sunday, the duo combined for five hits, four RBI, and two runs scored. That’s excellent production from the top of the lineup, and Parra continues to be a pleasant surprise early in the 2017 season.
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Unfortunately, we also have to discuss what happened after those two, or more specifically, what happened from #3-#7 in the lineup.
Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Mark Reynolds and Alexi Amarista combined for 20 plate appearances on Sunday. With the exception of a walk from Story in the sixth inning, every one of those plate appearances ended with an out.
It’s hard to beat a MLB team when they score 10 runs in a ballgame. It’s basically impossible when the middle of your lineup goes missing.
Despite their successful start, the Rockies have actually struggled to get their entire offense rolling at the same time. It’s encouraging that Colorado has been able to win games behind unexpected contributors like Reynolds and Dustin Garneau, but Bud Black would surely love to see a more consistent effort from the entire lineup, particularly near the top and middle of the order.
3) Bullpen Not Quite Bullet-Proof
Perhaps the single biggest factor in Colorado’s 5-2 start is their revamped bullpen. Through the first six games of the season, Rockies relievers held teams to a .174 batting average and just four runs over 21 innings.
But on Sunday, the bullpen struggled to hold off a talented Los Angeles offense. All three relievers that pitched for Colorado allowed at least one run (although in fairness to Chris Rusin, his run was unearned).
The worst offender was Jordan Lyles, who coughed up three runs on four hits in just a single inning of work. That being said, Scott Oberg and Rusin didn’t exactly shut the Dodgers down during their innings either.
While Sunday certainly could have gone better for the bullpen, no one should be panicking, or really even all that concerned. With all due respect to the trio of arms Colorado ran out there today, if any of them are pitching in high-leverage situations much this season, then something will have gone terribly wrong.
The other good news for the Rockies is that unlike some years in the past, the team has some options to turn to should anyone in the bullpen continue to falter. With Greg Holland, Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn firmly established in their roles, the competition for the few remaining spots will be intense.
That may not be the best thing for a struggling reliever hoping to stay in the majors, but it’s most certainly a good thing for the Rockies chances of competing in 2017.