Colorado Rockies: Evaluating the past 17 games on an off day
By Aaron Hurt
Two weeks ago, I stated that I was concerned that the grueling 17 games in 17 days would put too much stress on the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen. Despite being early in the season, I felt that relying heavily on the ‘pen could have huge ramifications for later in the season. Now that the Rockies finally get a day off, let’s take a look back at the last two and half weeks.
For the first 10 games, my fears were coming to fruition. The starters were struggling to get past the fifth inning and the bullpen was seeing a lot of work. The stress on the ‘pen led them to give up 17 earned runs in 36.2 innings of work (4.17 ERA). Luckily, the Rockies were able to scratch their way to a 5-5 record during that stretch.
Then a funny thing happened at the ballpark. A brawl broke out and lit a fire underneath the Rockies. Since the fight against the Padres, the Rockies starting pitching staff has stepped it up (except for two starts). In the seven games after, they have recorded three quality starts (including two terrific starts from Chad Bettis) and have eased the work load on the ‘pen.
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As I have previously stated, Bud Black would rather use his bullpen when he wants to instead of when he needs to. By starters going deeper into games, it has allowed manager Bud Black to use his bullpen based on matchups. This has led to success in the last seven games. Not including the ugly five runs in 4 innings the ‘pen surrendered on Wednesday afternoon, they had given up three earned runs in 15.1 innings pitched (1.76 ERA). This was a key contributor in the Rockies having a solid 5-2 East Coast road trip.
The Rockies now get a well-deserved day of rest on Thursday after going 10-7 in 17 days. Now they will head back to the comfy confines of Coors Field where they get the return of Nolan Arenado and will try to get the struggling offense going in a six-game homestand against the Cubs and Padres.
One final note.: Speaking of the Chicago Cubs, since I live amongst entitled Cubs fans, I am reminded on a regular basis of the 2016 World Series. Now it is my turn to get a few jabs in.
Next: How Kyle Freeland has changed on the mound between 2017 and 2018
If you don’t remember, the Chicago Cubs signed former Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood to a three-year/$38 million contract in the offseason. Take a look at Chatwood’s line from the Cubs’ Tuesday night 5-3 loss to the Cardinals: 4.2 innings, one hit, two earned runs, seven strikeouts, and seven walks and on the hook for the loss. He is now 0-3 with a 4.60 ERA with 14 walks in 15.2 innings Sound familiar? I hope Cubs fans get used to enjoying these kinds of theatrics for the next two-plus seasons.