For the Colorado Rockies, it’s safe to say that the season has not gone as planned. Entering the All-Star break with a 44-45 record and in fourth place in the National League West, there have been some things that were expected to go well in 2019 that simply haven’t to this point … or haven’t on a consistent basis.
If the Colorado Rockies are going to make their third consecutive postseason appearance, they are going to have to play their best baseball of the season for an extended period of time in the season’s second half. Catching the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West almost certainly won’t happen. Snaring another Wild Card spot is still a very real possibility … if Colorado can find its mojo on the mound and at the plate.
And the mound is where we’ll start with the first big disappointment of 2019 so far. Think back to Opening Day and a rotation that consisted of Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray and Chad Bettis. As the All-Star break dawned, only Marquez and Gray were still members of the rotation. Freeland was sent to Triple-A. Anderson underwent knee surgery (and is likely done for the season) and Bettis was sent to the bullpen.
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With Jeff Hoffman, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Antonio Senzatela and Peter Lambert trying to fill the voids, the Rockies rotation has found little rhythm. Not living up to billing has resulted in Colorado’s .271 average against being the highest in Major League Baseball. Only the Seattle Mariners have given up more hits than Colorado’s 849 allowed and Colorado’s WHIP of 1.44 ranks 26th out of MLB’s 30 teams.
If Colorado is going to make the postseason, Freeland has to return to Colorado and be consistently good on the mound. He doesn’t have to return to last year’s form but he does have to be able to match the effort that Gray and Marquez have shown in their better performances.
The Rockies will also have to shore up the back end of the rotation, whether that means Senzatela and Lambert find consistency or Colorado trades for a veteran to help the rotation overcome its early stumbles.
Additionally, the Rockies need more length out of their starters in order to keep the bullpen from being completely taxed as we’ve seen in the days since the historic run-scoring San Diego series in mid-June at Coors Field.
Colorado manager Bud Black has said time and time again that the key to Colorado’s success in the second half is pitching. Whether or not the rotation can be solidified will likely make the difference between Rocktober and just another October.