A month ago, the Colorado Rockies boasted the third-best bullpen by ERA (3.92) in the National League. While the starting rotation searched for answers, the bullpen – Mike Dunn and Seunghwhan Oh the glaring exceptions – was the squad’s stable force.
But the bullpen’s good fortune shattered in the bizarre June 12-15 series between the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres. The series broke the modern-era record for runs (92) in a four-game series as summer returned with a vengeance to Coors Field.
Since June 12, Rockies relievers have allowed 64 runs (59 earned) for a 6.13 ERA (27th in baseball in that time) in 86.2 innings pitched. They’ve posted a WHIP of 1.50, allowed a .275 batting average and given up 18 home runs.
But it is too soon to panic or come for this bullpen with the Twitter-equivalent of pitchforks and torches.
First, some perspective. This bullpen was not quite as good as its performance indicated in the first two months of the season. It posted a field independent pitching (FIP) – a statistic that removes the results of balls hit into the field of play – of 4.22, a bit higher than its ERA.
There’s been no meaningful difference in opponents’ hard-hit rate since June 12 – 36.4 percent before versus 37.7 percent after. The Coors Field series against the Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros exposed those hard-hit balls as the (possibly juiced) baseball carried more and outfielders played deeper.