Rockies Have to Wonder: Is There Relief in Sight?

Bryan Shaw made the 502nd appearance of his big-league career in the seventh inning of the Rockies 5-3 loss to the Dodgers Tuesday night. It was the third appearance in which he gave up two home runs in an inning, and the first in which those home runs turned a lead he was asked to protect into a loss. 

He has given up one home run in 36 other games.

Double the Displeasure

May 7, 2012 Arizona vs. St. Louis, Lost, 9-6
7th inning, Ariz trailed 7-6. Craig led off HR, Freese followed with HR,
April 16, 2016 Cleveland vs. NY Mets, W 7-5
8th inning, Clev led 7-1. 1 out, Granderson 3-run HR; 2 outs, Walker solo HR
Tuesday, Rockies at Dodgers, lost 5-3
6th inning, Rockies led 3-2; Taylor, Puig back-to-back HR for 5-3 Dodger lead

Signed to a three-year, $28.5 million contract off the free-agent market in December, Shaw was expected to fill the right-handed setup role in the bullpen. He, however, is struggling through what could be the worst year of his career. His 1.56 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) and 5.92 ERA are easily at a rate to be the worst of his career.

Numbers Not Adding Up

Year Team W L SV SVO G INN H HR WHIP ERA
2011 Ari 1 0 0 0 33 28.1 30 2 1.34 2.54
2012 Ari 1 6 2 4 64 59.1 60 4 1.42 3.49
2013 Cle 7 3 1 5 70 75.0 60 4 1.17 3.24
2014 Cle 5 5 2 9 80 76.1 61 6 1.09 2.59
2015 Cle 3 3 2 6 74 64.0 59 8 1.22 2.95
2016 Cle 2 5 1 4 75 66.2 56 8 1.26 3.24
2017 Cle 4 6 3 6 79 76.2 71 5 1.21 3.52
2018 Col 1 3 0 3 27 24.1 26 5 1.56 5.92
Totals 24 31 11 37 502 470.2 423 42 1.25 3.27

Source: Stats, Inc.

What makes Shaw's struggles a bigger issue than they might normally be is Jake McGee, re-signed to a three-year deal in December to be the left-handed compliment to Shaw, is also having a challenging season, himself. His 5.82 ERA is more than a run higher than the previous worst season of his career, and he already has given up as many home runs (four) as he did all last year.

Year Team Lg W L SV SVO G INN H R ER HR BB SO ERA
2010 TB AL 0 0 0 0 8 5.0 2 1 1 0 3 6 1.80
2011 TB AL 5 2 0 0 37 28.0 30 14 14 5 12 27 4.50
2012 TB AL 5 2 0 2 69 55.1 33 13 12 3 11 73 1.95
2013 TB AL 5 3 1 5 71 62.2 52 28 28 8 22 75 4.02
2014 TB AL 5 2 19 23 73 71.1 48 15 15 2 16 90 1.89
2015 TB AL 1 2 6 10 39 37.1 27 11 10 3 8 48 2.41
2016 Col NL 2 3 15 19 57 45.2 56 25 24 9 16 38 4.73
2017 Col NL 0 2 3 6 62 57.1 47 23 23 4 16 58 3.61
2018 Col NL 1 2 0 1 20 17.0 17 12 11 4 5 14 5.82
Totals 24 18 44 66 436 379.2 312 142 138 38 109 429 3.27

Source: Stats, Inc.

While the two set-up relievers signed off the free-agent market have struggled, Wade Davis, the other free agent reliever signed to a three-year deal by the Rockies in the off-season, has been effective in the ninth. He leads the majors with 17 saves, and of the two blown saves the Rockies are 1-1 in those games.

Davis in Years as a Full-time Reliever

Year Team W L SV SVO G INN H R ER HR BB SO WHIP ERA
2012 TB 3 0 0 1 54 70.1 48 20 19 5 29 87 1.09 2.43
2014 KC 9 2 3 6 71 72.0 38 8 8 0 23 109 0.85 1.00
2015 KC 8 1 17 18 69 67.1 33 8 7 3 20 78 0.79 0.94
2016 KC 2 1 27 30 45 43.1 33 9 9 0 16 47 1.13 1.87
2017 ChC 4 2 32 33 59 58.2 39 16 15 6 28 79 1.14 2.30
2018 Col 0 0 17 19 21 20.1 12 6 6 2 9 23 1.03 2.66
Totals 59 39 96 107 414 855.2 760 348 326 80 321 791 1.26 3.43

The key for the Rockies bullpen has been the rebound of Adam Ottavino from what was the worst year of his career in 2017 to what has the makings of been his most dominant big-league season in 2018.

On the Rebound

Year Team W L SV SVO G INN H R ER HR BB SO WHIP ERA
2010 StL 0 2 0 0 5 22.1 37 21 21 5 9 12 2.06 8.46
2012 Col 5 1 0 2 53 79.0 76 42 40 9 34 81 1.39 4.56
2013 Col 1 3 0 0 51 78.1 73 27 23 5 31 78 1.33 2.64
2014 Col 1 4 1 6 75 65.0 67 26 26 6 16 70 1.28 3.60
2015 Col 1 0 3 3 10 10.1 3 0 0 0 2 13 0.48 0.00
2016 Col 1 3 7 12 34 27.0 18 9 8 3 7 35 0.93 2.67
2017 Col 2 3 0 2 63 53.1 48 30 30 8 39 63 1.63 5.06
2018 Col 3 0 1 2 24 26.0 7 3 3 1 10 45 0.65 1.04
Totals 14 16 12 27 315 361.1 329 158 151 37 148 397 1.32 3.7