Changing up the pitch mix: What’s worked for the Colorado Rockies

DENVER, COLORADO - AUGUST 01: Starting pitcher Kyle Freeland #21 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on August 01, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - AUGUST 01: Starting pitcher Kyle Freeland #21 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on August 01, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Freeland of the Colorado Rockies
Kyle Freeland of the Colorado Rockies /

Positives that will stick

It’s not all pessimistic in the future for the Rockies, though. They’ve definitely had an element of luck and that’s evident by looking at their ERA- (55) and FIP- (79). If you’re new to FIP or FIP-, it helps to show if a team or pitcher is getting lucky or unlucky when compared to their ERA or ERA-. With the Rockies, a higher FIP- compared to their ERA- means they’ve been getting a little lucky. But it’s not like if their ERA- was more true to their FIP- that they’d be terrible. The next closest team to the Rockies by FIP- is the Padres at 80, whose starters have posted an ERA of 3.48, which ranks eighth in the Majors. I think we all would appreciate a season-long ERA of 3.48 for the Rockies starters, or something similar, so they’re still doing really, really well.

The Rockies are also only walking 7.1% of batters, good enough for eighth-best in the majors. That’s not too far off the pace of other years as well where they walked 8.6%, 7.8%, and 8.4% of batters. So while there are lots of other stats that may be considered false positives, this is par for the course and we shouldn’t expect any regression here.

We also should expect the Rockies to keep getting a decent number of ground balls. We saw earlier that their Hard Hit Percentage is at a concerning level right now, but if it results in balls getting drilled into the ground, then that’s not going to hurt as bad as balls that are getting driven into the empty second level stands in right field. Their current Ground Ball Percentage of 47.6% is pretty much in line with percentages from past years of 47.8%, 44.9%, and 49.2%. So if they keep getting these results, then we’ll keep seeing positive results from this pitching staff.

The pitching staff has been a bright spot so far this season and has provided major relief for the lineup. Even with some expected regression, we should still expect good things from this staff. Pitching was the story in recent playoff seasons and it’s no surprise that with the Rockies aiming for a playoff spot again that pitching is the story once more.

Next. 3 things we learned from the series win over Seattle. dark

Note: All statistics were before Sunday’s loss in Seattle.

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