Colorado Rockies: What are the keys to winning at altitude?

jlagrow
DENVER, CO - MAY 05: Sunset falls over the stadium as the Atlanta Braves face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 5, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 05: Sunset falls over the stadium as the Atlanta Braves face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 5, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next
Colorado Rockies celebration
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 29: (L-R) Ian Desmond #20, Charlie Blackmon #19 and Gerardo Parra #8 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate the Rockies 7-3 win against the Detroit Tigers following an interleague game at Coors Field on August 29, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Secondly, the Rockies have exceeded expectations only eight times. In each case, the pitching staff has produced at a higher level than expected. The pitching performance has always started with a veteran bullpen, consisting with a dominant closer, a power set-up, and great long relievers.

According to Baseball-Reference, in 1995, the Colorado Rockies bullpen was secured by a combination of Darren Holmes (166 ERA+), Bruce Ruffin (255 ERA+), Steve Reed (251 ERA+), and Curtis Leskanic (158 ERA+). They carried the franchise to its first postseason appearance. Combined, the quartet produced an average 207.5 ERA+. In total, the 1995 Colorado Rockies finished fifth in MLB (second in the National League) in ERA+, making this one of the most dominant Rockies staffs in franchise history.

Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies /

Colorado Rockies

In 2007, the franchise’s first World Series Appearance was brought to the city because of the bullpen work from Brian Fuentes (156 ERA+), Manny Corpas (236 ERA+), Jeremy Affeldt (137 ERA+), Matt Herges (141 ERA+), and LaTroy Hawkins (141 ERA+).

This past year, the Colorado Bullpen was no different, with veteran relievers Mike Dunn (112 ERA+), Jake McGee (139 ERA+), Chris Rusin (189 ERA+), Pat Neshek (trade deadline acquisition, 206 ERA+) and Comeback Player of the Year Winner Greg Holland (139 ERA+) leading the way. The bullpen would go onto save 47 games, blowing only 14 opportunities all season, second-fewest in Major League Baseball to the Cleveland Indians (10).

This revelation proves, when the Colorado Rockies build a veteran-led bullpen, it improves their chances of reaching the postseason dramatically. In that bullpen, they must always have a reliable closer, a reliable set-up man, a reliable multi-inning long reliever, and a dominant specialist. When discussing their payroll, the bullpen must be the center point, as we have seen in the past big money starters are not they way to invest. But, strong, reliable, power arms are.

facebooktwitterreddit