In a season that has been unusual before the regular season even started, there are some oddities with the Colorado Rockies and some other the teams.
The Colorado Rockies have lost four of their last five games, dropping them down to second place in the National League West, one game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the lead in the division.
With the new playoff format in place for the 2020 campaign, though, the Rockies are still well within qualifying for the playoffs if they were to start today. However, the rest of the playoff picture would be very odd.
In the American League, the first-place teams are the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, and Oakland Athletics. The second-place teams that would make the playoffs are the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, and Texas Rangers. The two third-place teams that would make it in are the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers.
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The two most surprising teams of the eight are the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. The Orioles only won a third of their games, as they went 54-108. They used an astounding 39 pitchers (including four position players) in 2019 and had a team ERA of 5.59 (83 ERA+)).
The Tigers, on the other hand, lost even more games than the Orioles, when they lost 114 games. They had an OPS+ of 79 and they only had two players on their entire roster that had an OPS+ above league average (and nobody 106). They also had the second-worst pitching staff in the AL (the Orioles were worst). The overall worst team starting pitcher ERA belonged to the Rockies, who had an ERA of 5.87.
In the National League, the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, and Dodgers are the division leaders, the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and the Rockies are the second-place teams, and the Padres and Brewers would be the third-place teams that would get in.
The Marlins are the most stunning out of the group since nearly half of their roster in on the injured list due to COVID or injuries. They also lost 105 games in 2019. They have also played the second-least games of all the teams since they were shut down due to COVID. The Cardinals have only played five games thus far and they will have a bevy of doubleheaders starting when they return to play on Saturday (barring any further positive tests).
The Reds and Brewers also have records below .500 but by winning percentage, they would be in the playoffs.
The oddities for the Rockies
The Colorado Rockies called up Ryan Castellani to start in place of Chi Chi Gonzalez since he went on the IL. In his two starts, Castellani did not allow a hit in his first start (4 IP). He is also the second Rockies pitcher to ever retire the first 12 batters faced in his MLB debut. The other Rockies pitcher was Tyler Matzek.
In his second start last night, he became the first Rockies pitcher ever to strike out the side in the first inning of his debut at Coors Field, per Elias.
Overall, the Rockies starting pitching staff has gone from dead last in the majors to one of the best. Entering Saturday, their starting pitcher’s ERA has dropped more than two full runs from 5.87 to 3.48.
The Rockies have had some good stories out of the bullpen as well.
Daniel Bard also recorded his first save since 2011 and his first MLB win since 2012 in recent weeks.
Yency Almonte also became the first player in Rockies history record his first career win and save in the same series. He was also the first MLB pitcher to do that since Sam Demel did it for Arizona a decade ago.
On the offensive front, Garrett Hampson became the first Rockies player ever to hit a triple and a double in the same inning.
Even though Charlie Blackmon is now hitless in his last eight at-bats, he is still hitting .447. However, before the mini-skid, he was hitting .500 (34-for-68). According to Elias, the last player to be hitting .500 or better with as many plate appearances was another Rockies right fielder, Larry Walker, in 1997. As you may remember, Walker ended up winning the NL MVP award that year.
Blackmon is only the fifth player in the last 50 years to hit .500 or above after his team’s 17th game. Three of the other four are in the Hall of Fame … and the other is Barry Bonds.
Blackmon and the Rockies will look to get back on track at 6:10 p.m. (Mountain time) as they will send German Marquez to the mound to start for them and they will face right-hander Kyle Gibson.