Colorado Rockies: Late-game patience leading to heroics

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Brendan Rodgers #7 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates his two RBI single in the sixth inning with Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 23, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Brendan Rodgers #7 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates his two RBI single in the sixth inning with Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 23, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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For the Colorado Rockies, late-game heroics have defined the first four games of this current 10-game homestand. However, the plays that ended the game were set up by a patience at the plate that the Rockies hadn’t displayed until this point of the season.

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies had walked 13 times as a team in the ninth inning of the previous 42 games where they had played in the ninth. On Sunday, however, veterans Daniel Murphy, Mark Reynolds and Ian Desmond all walked with one out before Tony Wolters delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly to give Colorado an 8-7 win.

On Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Trevor Story and Raimel Tapia drew ninth-inning walks while Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers walked in the 10th inning before Tapia drove him the winning run in the 11th. While Monday’s walk didn’t lead directly to the win, they gave the Rockies chances to win in their final at-bat in three separate frames.

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In all, that is five ninth-inning walks in the last two games after drawing just 13 in the previous 42 chances. So what changed?

“When you get the top of our lineup at the plate, the pitchers need to be careful because obviously they’re very talented,” Desmond told me. “Those guys passing the baton to us in the lower half (of the batting order) is part of that. As a unit, as an offense, we’re starting to come together and click. Usually when that happens, you start to see a little more patience at the plate and you see guys hunting a little bit more and have a little more selectiveness.”

“There hasn’t been anything said different. I think guys are locking in and really grinding out those at-bats,” McMahon added. “I think it’s being stubborn and not being afraid to pass the baton and just battling.”

Next. When it comes to Kyle Freeland, there are plenty of questions and few answers. dark

As a team, Colorado entered Tuesday’s game 22nd out of 30 Major League teams with 160 walks on the season. That includes 74 so in 22 May games (16th in MLB) after drawing just 78 in 26 April games (21st in MLB). Sure, there’s plenty of room for improvement but the Rockies are trending in the right direction when it comes to patience at the plate