If you are anything like me, you haven’t been thrilled by the play of the Colorado Rockies to start the season. In most major statistical categories, the Rockies are in the bottom half of the league. Yet somehow, this team has managed to get to a game over .500.
With their best player now serving a five-game suspension, the second-best player missing four games due to injury and the top two pitchers going 1-4 and struggling to get past the fifth inning, it’s been ugly. Throw in leading the National League in strikeouts, four of the everyday starters hitting under .250 (including two who are under the Mendoza Line) and the bench having a combined total of eight hits, the negatives keep adding up.
Yet, as bad as the Rockies have played, it’s an amazing feat that they are 9-8. Sunday’s 6-5 win over the Nationals is a prime example of a game that the Rockies did everything they could to lose but some how ended up on the winning end. This begs the question, how are they winning?
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Wouldn’t you believe it but the Rockies’ bullpen has lived up to its lofty expectations (even with the two blown leads in Sunday’s game). Wade Davis is tied for the Major League lead with seven saves and his only blown save ended up in a walk-off win for the Rockies. This has helped the Rockies go 4-2 in one-run games.
Adam Ottavino has been untouchable. Even though he gave up his first run of the year Sunday and lost the lead in the process, he ended up as the winning pitcher, pushing his record to 3-0. To go along with the perfect record, his ERA is a minscule 0.93 and he has struck out 20 in 9.2 innings.
The defense has limited mistakes. In the first 17 games of the year, the defense has committed just five errors, which is tied for the second-fewest in the National League.
The elder statesmen on the starting rotation has been lights out. The performance of Chad Bettis has gone mostly under the radar considering he hasn’t gone deep into games and the struggles of ace Jon Gray and Germain Marquez have overshadowed him. However, it’s time to give him a ton of credit. In first three appearances, he is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 17.2 innings.
The long ball has been saving the day. Even though the Rockies have been horrific hitting with runners in scoring position, home runs have kept them in ball games. The 11 combined home runs by Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu put them both in the top five in Major League Baseball in that category and it also puts the Rockies as a team in the top five.
For as bad as they have played, the Rockies have scratched out a winning record through the first 17 games of the season. Imagine what this team could be like if a couple of the everyday starters begin to figure things out. This 2018 club could be dangerous.