Colorado Rockies: Who is the early season team MVP?
By Aaron Hurt
The first month of the season has been filled with some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows for the Colorado Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies began the season with a 3-12 record, the worst start in the franchise’s 27-year history. Lately, they have played well enough to have worked their way back to a respectable (yet, still somewhat disappointing having lost the last three games) record of 13-17.
With the many ups and downs the Rockies have faced, it has been extremely difficult for Bud Black to find consistency from day to day. However, there is one area in which he has been able to put his complete trust in: the bullpen.
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With no real standout player in the first month of the season, the award for the early season MVP has to go to the bullpen as a whole.
Led by Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Scott Oberg, Bud Black has frequently relied on the bullpen to keep the Rockies in games and they have done just that. Over 29 games (German Márquez threw a complete game), the bullpen has compiled an impressive 4-2 record with a 3.45 ERA, having given up only 40 earned runs over 104.1 innings pitched. The 3.45 ERA is good for fifth-best in all of Major League Baseball.
The bullpen’s success has been aided by the emergence of two surprise players. Shaw has bounced back in a big way from his disastrous 2018, as he has given up only two earned runs over 18 innings of work in 15 games. The other surprise has come from Chad Bettis. Since being demoted from the starting rotation, Bettis has completely embraced his new role. In his four appearances out of the ‘pen, he has allowed two runs in 6.2 innings due in large part to his increased fastball velocity in the mid-90s.
The bullpen has had only two blemishes and one of them can be blamed on the lack of offense. The bullpen’s first lost came in the 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants after throwing 12.1 innings scoreless innings before being walked off in the 18th after Chris Iannetta pulled his foot off the plate. The other came this past Sunday when Seunghwan Oh surrendered a two-run lead by giving up a soul-crushing three-run homer to the Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson in the eighth, denying the Rockies of a series sweep and more importantly a .500 record.
In all, the bullpen has been the model of consistency as the Rockies have fought to dig themselves out of an early season hole. The need for the bullpen to build on this success will only intensify as the Rockies still have a long way to go to get back into contention.