Who knows what kind of baseball team the Colorado Rockies would be if the MLB season started in June.
It turns out that despite overhauling the roster over the past two seasons, the Colorado Rockies continue to be unable to defeat the team’s greatest nemesis. No, not the altitude or the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the month of May.
After a strong start to the 2022 campaign, the Denver Nine have sunk below .500 with an 8-15 May entering play Friday. Since concluding a series victory over the Washington Nationals on May 5 (their seventh series win or split out of the team’s first eight series), the team has been a dismal 5-14, dropping every series including series losses to the 15-28 Kansas City Royals and the 18-25 Pittsburgh Pirates.
The pitching has been bad. The hitting has been bad. The defense has been bad. There isn’t one thing to focus on, and maybe that’s for the better. Maybe that makes it easier for the team to just turn the page on June 1 and move on with the season.
This is nothing new for the Rockies or their fans. Over the past 10 months of May (dating back to 2011 and excluding the COVID-19-shortened 2020), the Rockies are a collective 125-151, and 109-141 if you ignore 2019’s anomaly record of 16-10. The manager of the 2007 National League Champion Colorado Rockies, Clint Hurdle, was fired in May of 2009. That same team later recovered and made the postseason, but many other Rockies teams have been unable to bounce back as effectively after digging themselves so deep a hole.
As for the 2022 squad, they’ve posted a 5.27 team ERA for May entering play Saturday. They have played 13 games in May in which they did not hit a home run, including a stretch of six straight homerless games. The defense has also struggled to the extent that they are averaging nearly as many unearned runs allowed per game (0.5) as home runs hit per game (0.8) for the month.
But for the optimistic fan, there is still some hope. The Rockies have seen virtually none of Kris Bryant thus far and, while that is a reason for concern, assuming he gets healthy, the team should be better with him in the lineup. Another early concern is the performance of Germán Márquez, which has to improve, and when it does, it will be a great boost to the rotation, even if he’s still not pitching at an All-Star level.
Even the defense is bound to get better, especially for Ryan McMahon who was a Gold Glove finalist last season. The biggest concern that might not see much improvement as the season goes along is of course, as always, the bullpen.
The Colorado Rockies are 20-24 on the season with five games remaining before the end of the month. If they can’t get it together, they could find themselves nearly 10 games below .500 entering June. But a late-month winning streak against the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins to close out May could have their season record sitting above .500 once again. The next five games could be the most important games they’ve played to this point all year.