Colorado Rockies: Rotation’s top three must return to their winning ways

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DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 28: Kyle Freeland #21 of the Colorado Rockies reacts to Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals grounding out to end the sixth inning at Coors Field on September 28, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 28: Kyle Freeland #21 of the Colorado Rockies reacts to Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals grounding out to end the sixth inning at Coors Field on September 28, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Rockies entered spring training with serious questions as to who will fill the final two spots in the starting rotation. But the first three starters still need to regain their footing in 2020 as well.

As the starting rotation competition has slowly taken shape with Antonio Senzatela taking hold of the number four spot and fifth and final spot still up for grabs, let’s turn the attention onto the Colorado Rockies’ original three starters in the rotation.

What do the Rockies need to get from Jon Gray, German Marquez, and Kyle Freeland in 2020 to have a chance of getting back to the postseason?

In last season’s lackluster 71-91 finish, the trio combined for a 26-24 record with a 5.23 ERA.  A good portion of that is due to Freeland’s disastrous season where he went 3-11 with a 6.73 ERA and found himself demoted to Triple-A Albuquerque for a couple of months of the season.

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Those combined numbers are a far cry from where they once were in 2017 and 2018 when the Rockies made consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in club history.

In ’17, they were a combined 32-22 with a 4.09 ERA.  Then in ’18, when the Rockies won 91 games and finished second in the NL West after losing the Los Angeles Dodgers in a tiebreaker game, the three had a 43-27 record with a staggering 3.84 ERA.  These numbers were reinforced by Freeland’s fourth-place finish in the Cy Young Award after a 17-7 and 2.85 ERA.

To state the obvious, for the Rockies to make the playoffs in 2020, these three must pitch better than they did in 2019 and be closer to what they were in 2017 and 2018.  Chances are they won’t be able to match 2018’s success, but if they can somehow split the difference, they will put the Rockies in position for the playoff hunt.

The wildcard in finding success may actually come from Senzatela in the fourth spot of the rotation. Even though the trio had worse stats in 2017 than 2018, they were aided by a 10 win, 4.68 ERA in 20 starts by Senzatela.

They did not have that luxury in ’18 as he bounced around from bullpen to Triple-A, to injured list, to starter.

Next. German Marquez on his up-and-down spring start. dark

The Rockies must pitch better in 2020 to be in the hunt for the playoff spot and that starts with Jon Gray, German Marquez, and Kyle Freeland setting the tone for the entire pitching staff.

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