Colorado Rockies morning after: A pair of alarming early trends

DENVER, CO - APRIL 5: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies hits the ground with his bat after hitting a pop up ion the ninth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the Colorado Rockies home opener at Coors Field on April 5, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 5: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies hits the ground with his bat after hitting a pop up ion the ninth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the Colorado Rockies home opener at Coors Field on April 5, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies
MIAMI, FL – MARCH 28: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies looks on in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins during Opening Day at Marlins Park on March 28, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Former pitcher Earl Wilson is credited with once saying, “A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.” Colorado Rockies fans can say a hallelujah to that one after what has been anything but a smooth start to the 2019 season.

Following the Colorado Rockies‘ 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night, there are a lot of statistics and jargon that could be thrown out about the game or about the start of the season that has seen the Rockies stumble out to a 3-6 start. But when you boil all of the current issues down, here are a few things that are really standing out at the moment.

The offense is stuck in neutral

Colorado has scored 25 runs in nine games. Take away the 12 combined runs scored in the first two games of the season in Miami and the statistic even gets a little more alarming.

So what’s happening with the offense? The one free agent piece that was brought in over the offseason (Daniel Murphy) to jumpstart last season’s lethargic efforts at the plate is on the shelf until at least the start of May. As a side note, he was 1-for-10 when he went on the injured list, so he wasn’t exactly tearing it up at the time of the injury.

Ryan McMahon joined him on the injured list yesterday, putting two key infield contributors out of the lineup at a time when the Rockies most desperately need a spark.

David Dahl is cooking at the plate with a .353 average but the team overall is hitting just .207, trying them for 25th out of the 30 Major League teams. Why the drop? Ian Desmond is 3-for-30 (with 14 strikeouts). Garrett Hampson is 2-for-20. Mark Reynolds (who will likely shoulder the load at first base with Murphy and McMahon out) is 3-for-15 with six strikeouts.

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You get the idea. The Rockies aren’t hitting. But it isn’t just that. The Rockies aren’t even making contact right now. Their 95 strikeouts as a team is the third-highest number in the National League. Part of that problem? The Rockies are fifth-highest in MLB at O-Swing% (swinging at pitches that are outside of the strike zone). Through Saturday night, that number stood at 32.8%.

It gets even worse looking at the number of swings and misses divided by the total number of pitches. Colorado is tied for the second-highest number in Major League Baseball at 14.1%. The whiffs are happening way too much.

These are problems that Colorado supposedly fixed in the offseason. So far, however, improvement hasn’t been shown.

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