Colorado Rockies morning after: The re-emergence of Lucas Gilbreath

DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 11: Pitcher Lucas Gilbreath #58 of the Colorado Rockies throws against the San Diego Padres in the seventh inning at Coors Field on July 11, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 11: Pitcher Lucas Gilbreath #58 of the Colorado Rockies throws against the San Diego Padres in the seventh inning at Coors Field on July 11, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE – In recent years, the Colorado Rockies have not had a great bullpen overall. Entering the All-Star break, the club had a bullpen ERA of 4.69, which is third-worst in the game. Last season, their bullpen ERA was 4.91, or 26th, and in 2020, it was 6.77, or second-worst.

They have had some relievers pitch well, like closer Daniel Bard and setup man Alex Colomé, but one pitcher that has gone under the radar is left-handed reliever Lucas Gilbreath.

Exactly as he did last season, he had a rough five outings to start the season. After making the Opening Day roster and being sent back to Triple-A for a few weeks, Gilbreath has been one of the most dominant relievers in the sport in his last 28 outings.

Lucas Gilbreath has been one of the best relievers in baseball since May 14

In fact, among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched since May 14, Colorado Rockies reliever Lucas Gilbreath has an ERA of 0.64. In that span, only three relievers (with a minimum of 20 innings pitched since then) have an ERA lower than Gilbreath. Of the four relievers, he has pitched the most (28 innings).

After Friday’s 6-5 loss in 13 innings, manager Bud Black spoke with Rox Pile on about Gilbreath’s two shutout innings against the Brewers and overall on the season.

“He pitched great at the most critical time,” said Black of Gilbreath’s performance on Friday. “He made some really good pitches, I’m proud of him … He’s really been a vital vog in our bullpen. He’s pitched great. In his second year, he’s establishing himself as a very valuable piece of a bullpen.”

Gilbreath said that he thinks has learned a lot in his sophomore season about working through different situations, especially with some help from some of the veteran relievers.

“I think I’ve obviously had a lot of ups and downs,” Gilbreath said, “and for me to kind of be able to break through some of those and to have the guys we have in the bullpen (like veterans like Daniel Bard, Carlos Estévez, Alex Colomé, Robert Stephenson), all of those guys to be able to kind of help me through that has been huge for me. Just being able to get more comfortable and work through situations.

“Everybody here wants to win and being able to contribute to that has always been my goal and it’s been nice to have some opportunities and being able to capitalize on those.”

The Rockies will take on the Brewers later tonight at 6:10 PM C.T./5:10 PM M.T. with José Ureña on the mound for Colorado Rockies. Opposing him will be Brandon Woodruff (7-3, 3.93 ERA).

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