The Colorado Rockies enter the All-Star break in a tailspin. Losers of six in a row to teams also in playoff contention, the Rockies quickly find themselves in fourth place in the National League West, and two and a half games back of the final Wild Card spot. The once potent offense has been quieted, and the pitching staff badly needs help at the trade deadline. Here are the first half grades for the Rockies, and areas they need help in going into the second half.
The offense has been one of the better spots this season. They have scored 490 runs so far, which is second in the National League. Nolan Arenado has once again put together an MVP-caliber season. He’s batting .312 with 20 home runs and a team-leading 67 RBIs and also leads the team with 106 hits. Charlie Blackmon is having another MVP-caliber season as well. The National League Player of the Month for June, Blackmon is hitting .330 for the season and has an incredible 1.010 OPS. He’s tied with Nolan for home runs with 20 and leads the team in triples with seven.
Fellow All-Stars Trevor Story and David Dahl have also put up some nice offensive numbers. Story has 19 home runs while Dahl has batted .308 for the season with a team-leading 23 doubles. Ian Desmond has bounced back from two years of struggles since joining the Rockies with a .274 batting average and 22 doubles. Daniel Murphy has been clutch in needed situations, while youngsters Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon have also made contributions. Some areas for concern are the strikeouts, 838 as a team, and too many runners left on base. Offense Grade: B+
What was a strength last season has been a liability this season. While the Rockies have scored a lot of runs, they have also given up a National League-worst 488 runs. Kyle Freeland, last year’s ace and this year’s Opening Day starter, was demoted to Triple-A in May after posting an ERA of 7.13. Tyler Anderson was also demoted before he was lost for the season due to knee surgery. Only Jon Gray and German Marquez remain in the rotation from last season. Gray has been the most consistent with nine wins and 10 quality starts. His ERA is a team-best 3.92 and he has struck out 115 batters. Marquez has had periods of greatness mixed with periods of inconsistency. He threw a complete game shutout on April 14 against the Giants, and also had an eight-inning shutout against the Pirates on May 21. German leads the team with 125 strikeouts.
Antonio Senzatela is another who has been inconsistent this season. He has an ERA of 5.32 and has seven quality starts. Rookie Peter Lambert started his MLB career with two nice wins against the Cubs, then got rocked against the Padres on Father’s Day. His ERA sits at 6.67, and Lambert has given up nine home runs. Jeff Hoffman has made some spot starts this season, going 1-3 with an ERA of 6.75. Starting pitching is one area the Rockies need to fix at the trade deadline if they look to compete in the second half. Starting pitching grade: C-
An area that struggled mightily last season has shown some improvement this season, though there have been some days where the inconsistency has reared its ugly head. The unit has blown 16 save opportunities and has allowed 45 inherited runners to score. Closer Wade Davis has seen his ERA jump to 5.54 and has 12 saves out of 14 save opportunities. Bryan Shaw has seen an improvement from last season and had an impressive June, giving up six earned runs in 13 appearances. He struggled in his last appearance against the Astros, giving up three runs with no outs. Jairo Diaz has an ERA 5.16 with 24 strikeouts, while Carlos Estevez has an ERA of 4.35 with 49 strikeouts.
Scott Oberg and Jake McGee have been the only bright spots in the bullpen and shown consistency in an area that it is missing. Oberg filled in nicely as the closer when Davis was on the injured list, saving three games in three save opportunities. Oberg has an ERA of 1.27 and has struck out 47 batters. Should Davis continue to stumble, Oberg could move into the closer role. McGee has bounced back nicely from a 2018 season to forget. Since starting the season injured, McGee has returned to throw 20 innings and giving up only three earned runs. The bullpen is another area the Rockies will need to fix at the trade deadline. Bullpen grade: C-
The Rockies are looking to make the playoffs for the third year in a row, something the franchise has never done in its history. To do that, the offense will need to find its spark back, while the team should look for help at the trade deadline for the rotation and the bullpen.
Featured image courtesy of CBS Sports
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