Colorado Rockies: Bullpen fully armed and ready for road trip

DENVER, CO - JUNE 07: Jake McGee #51 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Coors Field on June 7, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 07: Jake McGee #51 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Coors Field on June 7, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Certainly, the Colorado Rockies ninth-inning loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field stung. For a team that has been so dominant in late-game situations all season, the loss was not only disappointing but shocking as well.

However, consider this fact supplied by the Rockies media relations department via Elias Sports: The Rockies’ streak of 59 straight wins when leading after eight innings was the longest start-of-season streak in team history. The old record of 47 was established in 1995.

Colorado has had a historic run of closing down games in the late innings this season, much in part to the dominance of closer Greg Holland. Yes, that’s a big part of it … but not the only part of it.

With Jake McGee coming back off the disabled list on Sunday, Colorado once again has its entire stock of late-inning weapons in place. Colorado manager Bud Black now has McGee, Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino, Pat Neshek and Holland at his disposal to put the finishing touch on any upcoming Rockies victory.

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Those names could allow Colorado to potentially set up a system in late inning games where each player has a designated inning, much like the Kansas City Royals established on their way to a world championship in 2015. Holland was a part of that until he underwent Tommy John surgery just before the offseason began.

What the Royals established in 2015 became one of the latest trends in baseball. The Yankees had their dominant “No Runs DMC” bullpen of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Miller and Chapman would then become key pieces of a Cleveland and Chicago Cubs bullpen that helped push their respective teams into the Fall Classic last season.

Flash forward to 2017 and what both the Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers did at the trade deadline. The Dodgers wanted to strengthen the bridge between their starters and closer Kenley Jansen. Same with Colorado and Holland. Both teams accomplished their missions through trades.

Colorado’s late-inning weapons find themselves in a solid place heading into a road trip that begins on Tuesday in Cleveland and ends on Sunday in Miami. Let’s look at some of the good and not-so-good trends heading into the road trip.


Ottavino, while still a little wobbly with control, has allowed just two runs in his last 8.1 innings dating back to July 4.

Dunn, as we discussed in this article, rediscovered his form to post a 1.04 ERA in July and has yet to allow a run in two August outings.

Regarding Holland, don’t let Sunday fool you. Holland is one of the elite closers in Major League Baseball this season and had converted his last 11 save opportunities before the Phillies loss. He has made a living on having a short-term memory and that trend will continue during Colorado’s upcoming road trip this week.


Neshek has given up three runs in five innings since coming to the Rockies in a trade but has faced nothing but National League East teams since his arrival, teams that know him best from his days with the Phillies. Could that not bode well against the Marlins in Miami?

McGee didn’t pitch on Sunday against Philadelphia, so we will see if he has any issue regaining his early-season form after his back injury. He had a 4.91 ERA in July so he will need to lower those numbers.

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A problem for the Rockies in years past, this year’s late-inning bullpen has the ingredients to be a dangerous weapon for Colorado just when the calendar shows they will be needed the most.