Colorado Rockies morning after: Marquez, offense have rough night

DENVER, CO - MAY 10: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on May 10, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 10: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on May 10, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Rockies lost last night by a score of 5-2. While the offense was stagnant (again), it is back-to-back games that the Rockies did not quality starting pitching.

The Colorado Rockies opened their four game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday and they lost to them by a score of 5-2.

As our own Kevin Henry discussed in this article yesterday morning, the offense has been pathetic in general, but particularly in the bottom of the order. It wasn’t like this wasn’t unforeseen heading into this past offseason either, as I discussed in this article last September.

However, the reason why the Rockies are in the spot they are currently (2nd place in the NL West) is because their starting pitching. The bullpen has been rocky (no pun intended) as they entered the series with a bullpen ERA north of 5.

However, when the offense has been so awful, you have to have quality starting pitching to keep you in games. The Rockies starting pitcher ERA was 3.71 entering Wednesday (and that was including clunkers like Jon Gray‘s three straight starts in which he went less than six innings and allowed at least five earned runs each time as in those three starts, he had an ERA of 10.34).

That number has spiked, though, as the Rockies have got two clunkers in a row from Tyler Anderson and German Marquez. Anderson went five innings allowing four earned runs. Marquez had an awful night last night as he only went 4 2/3 innings while allowing a mind boggling 12 hits, five runs (all earned), and three walks…to a team that entered the series with a team OPS+ that ranked 25th among the 30 MLB teams.

Obviously, the pitchers are allowed to have an occasional bad outing as they can’t be perfect every time out there. However, they are at the point where they have to be nearly perfect because half of the Rockies offense is acting like they want to back playing for the Albuquerque Isotopes by their performances. They are hitting .231 and averaging 2.2 runs per game in their last five games.

Even more astonishing, and it’s an ever growing problem with the Rockies and in baseball in general, is the strikeout rate. In the past five games, they have struck out 50 times (10 per game) while just tallying 36 hits, or slightly more than seven per game.

On the season, the Rockies are averaging 3.89 runs per game with a batting average of .227, and a total of 282 hits compared to 350 strikeouts in 38 games.

The Rockies starters have allowed nine runs in the past two games in 9 2/3 innings of work. The Rockiers bullpen allowed four more runs (all on Wednesday).

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Silver linings of the game

One thing that went well for the Rockies on Thursday was the bullpen. The combination of Mike Dunn, Harrison Musgrave, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee did not allow a hit in 4 1/3 innings of work. The only baserunners allowed by the quartet were two walks, one a piece by Musgrave and Shaw. Musgrave went two innings and looked very good, especially since he hasn’t appeared in a game since May 2 (he spoke to our Jake Shapiro a few days ago about his role in the bullpen, so check back here later today for that).

Additionally, second baseman DJ LeMahieu, in the two games since his return from the disabled list, has picked up right where he left off before his DL stint. He is 3-for-8 since his return with a RBI. He had two of those hits yesterday.

Also, even though he has had a rough month of May thus far (6-for-29), Trevor Story had a solo home run and a walk in Thursday’s game. The homer was his second of the month and his fifth extra base hit of the month out of only his six hits.

Ian Desmond, who’s struggled have been well documented, had a linedrive triple to left center field that he was able to score on after an errant throw by shortstop Orlando Arcia went into the stands. He has had his good games (like last Sunday against the Mets when he two home runs) and his bad games (like when he was showered with boos at Coors on Wednesday). However, with having three multi-hit games in the past week, maybe, just maybe, he is on the upturn.

Next: The Rockies pitching has shined through their offensive lull

The Rockies need him, and others, to get going to give the Rockies starters a bit of a breather. The Rockies will send Chad Bettis, who’s 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA, to the mound to start the game on Friday against Brandon Woodruff, who is taking Chase Anderson‘s place with Anderson being pushed back to Saturday. Their ace Zach Davies was scheduled to return from the disabled list Saturday but his bullpen session was cut short on Wednesday with shoulder discomfort. Sunday’s starter is still TBD.