Colorado Rockies morning after: The bottom of the order is killing them
Joke all you want about, “You just know they’re going to hit.” Keep telling yourself it’s early and there’s still plenty of games to play. Do whatever you will to mask the deficiencies in the Colorado Rockies offense but it simply doesn’t matter because numbers don’t lie.
Heading into Wednesday’s matinee against the Los Angeles Angels at Coors Field, the bottom of the Rockies lineup simply hasn’t produced this season … and continued to not produce in an 8-0 lackluster loss to the Angels in sunny downtown Denver.
Take Colorado’s second inning, for example. Carlos Gonzalez started the frame with a double to right field. Trevor Story, batting fifth, flied out to left and CarGo tagged and advanced to third. Chris Iannetta, batting sixth, worked an 0-2 count into a walk, giving Colorado runners on the corners with one out. Ian Desmond, batting seventh, watched a changeup float over the plate for strike three. Daniel Castro, batting eighth, followed with a strikeout to end the frame.
Colorado didn’t score because the bottom of the order couldn’t push a run across. It’s a constant theme of the 2018 season.
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Check out how the bottom of the order has fared for the Rockies in 2018 heading into Wednesday’s game. These numbers reflect the slash line of all of the players who have batted in that position this season.
Fifth spot in lineup — .150/.219/.271
Sixth spot in lineup — .237/.301/.443
Seventh spot in lineup — .211/.302/.325
Eighth spot in lineup — .190/.283/.248
Ninth spot in lineup — .149/.195/.174
So the ninth spot in the lineup is primarily reserved for the pitcher so we’ll save a little of the judgment there. We also know that Colorado’s pinch hitters have been virtually nonexistent this season.
After Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu and a fourth batter near the top of the order, Colorado’s production has dropped off dramatically. Look at the top four spots in the lineup.
First spot in lineup — .271/.356/.535
Second spot in lineup — .259/.352/.403
Third spot in lineup — .282/.381/.580
Fourth spot in lineup — .285/.338/.518
Colorado’s offense has been driven by home runs and the top of the lineup this season. It’s a problem that isn’t changing, now 37 games into the season. Yes, the Rockies are 21-16, but there’s an issue that is lurking under the surface and, much like the Kilauea eruption in Hawaii, it is bubbling up and wreaking havoc.
On Wednesday, Colorado’s one through four hitters went 7-for-18. Their five through nine hitters went 1-for-16 with the lone hit coming from Noel Cuevas in a pinch-hit appearance.
Desmond went 0-for-4 on Wednesday with four strikeouts. Now hitting .176 on the season, Colorado manager Bud Black said in the postgame press conference that Desmond would be back in the lineup on Thursday for the series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field. At the moment, the possibilities of who to plug into the bottom of the lineup are limited and hoping Desmond breaks out of his slump may be the best the Rockies can hope for at the moment as a sparkplug for the lower part of the order.
"“We’re going through a little bit of a rough spell early,” Black said after the game when asked about Colorado’s inability to hit right-handers. “I wish I could pinpoint something.”"
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Rockies fans wish that as well … and are hoping the collective slump at the bottom fixes itself sooner than later.