Monday 4x4: Desmond Renewing Vows With Long-Time Approach at Plate

Ian Desmond decided to try the latest fad of creating a hitting stroke designed to provide loft when contact is made. Now, he knows better. The lesson was difficult, and Desmond has returned to his old approach.

"A few years ago, I made a commitment that I was going to be married to my swing," Desmond said Sunday. "During the off-season and spring training, I cheated on my swing. You stray, you pay. She has made me pay for about a month and change. We are in counseling. Hopefully, we are getting back on good terms." 

There are indications things are getting better. Desmond woke up April 22 hitting .151 with twice as many strikeouts (22) as hits (11). Things began to change that day. In 12 games Desmond has hit .250 and has had an impact. He has four doubles and a home run among the 11 hits, including doubling to drive in one run and score another in the Rockies 8-7 win against the Mets on Friday, and two home runs, including the game-winner in the eighth, in Sunday's 3-2 victory.

Desmond on the Rise

------------------ ---- --- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----- ----- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----- ------- ------- -------
Range AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI HBP BB SO SB CS LOB AVG OBP SLG
Through April 21 73 9 11 1 0 4 11 0 3 22 1 0 37 0.151 0.182 0.329
Since April 22 44 4 11 4 0 2 5 2 2 9 2 1 19 0.25 0.313 0.477

Adam Ottavino earned the save in Sunday's 3-2 victory, his first save since Sept. 30, 2016. His struggles last season were severe enough that he only had two save opportunities -- on April 6, and June 25.

He recorded the three outs in the ninth inning with three strikeouts, but mixed in was a one-out walk, and two-out single. Ottavino, however, didn't waiver, but he did downplay how he has handled pitching with men on base this season.

"Honestly, I haven't had that much traffic," he said.

Talk about a marked change from one season to the next. A year ago, among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched, Ottavino had the fourth highest base runners per nine innings ratio in MLB. This year, among pitchers with at least 15 innings pitched, he has the third lowest ratio.

Traffic Control

Player Team IP BR/9 SO/9 Player Team IP BR/9 SO/9
Sean Doolittle Was 15.2 4.6 13.79 Sam Dyson Tex-SF 54.2 16.46 5.6
Josh Hader Mil 20 4.95 19.35 Josh Smoker NYM 56.1 15.82 10.86
Adam Ottavino Col 19 6.16 16.58 Chris Beck CWS 64.2 15.45 5.85
Dan Winkler Atl 15.1 6.46 12.91 Adam Ottavino Col 53.1 15.36 10.63
Jeremy Jeffress Mil 18.2 6.75 6.75 Jhan Marinez TexMilPitt 58.1 14.97 6.94
Archie Bradley Ari 19 7.11 9 Jeremy Jeffress Tex-Mil 63.1 14.92 7.25
Robbie Erlin SD 19 7.58 8.05 Drew Storen Cin 54.2 14.82 7.9
David Robertson NYY 17.1 7.79 10.9 Scott Oberg Col 58.1 14.81 8.49
Yoshihisa Hirano Ari 15 7.8 8.4 Aaron Loup Tor 57.2 14.67 9.99
Carl Edwards Jr. ChC 16 7.88 15.19 Warwick Saupold Det 62.2 14.51 6.32
Drew Steckenrider Mia 16 7.88 12.38 Source: Stats, In.

The Rockies lead MLB with 33 home runs on the road, but then they have played more road games (23) than any other team. The telling stat for their power surge away from Coors Field is, however, illustrated by the fact they have the second highest NL home home run per at-bat ratio on the road, less than an at-bat behind the Cardinals.

ROAD WARRIORS

Team HR AB/HR Player AB HR
St. Louis Cardinals 23 22.22 Charlie Blackmon 82 10
Colorado Rockies 33 23 Nolan Arenado 67 5
Arizona Diamondbacks 21 23.86 Ian Desmond 77 5
Pittsburgh Pirates 27 25.63 DJ LeMahieu 53 5
Atlanta Braves 26 25.81 Chris Iannetta 54 2
Washington Nationals 19 27.05 Trevor Story 86 2
New York Mets 17 31.41 David Dahl 24 1
Chicago Cubs 19 34.47 Carlos Gonzalez 62 1
Milwaukee Brewers 18 34.94 Gerardo Parra 70 1
San Francisco Giants 16 36.69 Tony Wolters 26 1
Miami Marlins 13 38.23
San Diego Padres 13 39 Source: Stats, Inc.
Philadelphia Phillies 13 44.46
Los Angeles Dodgers 15 46.93
Cincinnati Reds 8 68.75

With the weekend sweep of the Mets at Citi Park the Rockies are 15-8 against NL East teams, and more impressively they have a 3.35 ERA in those 23 games, having allowed an average of .213 in those 23 games against NL East teams.

Impressive? Well, the Rockies have had an ERA lower than 4.00 against NL East teams only once in their previous 25 years of existence. 

Strong Arming the East

Season W L Pct ERA AVG
2018 8 5 0.615 3.05 0.224
2002 18 14 0.563 3.78 0.244
2007 17 15 0.531 4.1 0.263
1998 24 20 0.545 4.19 0.271
2016 20 14 0.588 4.35 0.269
2011 15 18 0.455 4.38 0.257
2012 15 22 0.405 4.5 0.286
2009 17 16 0.515 4.53 0.283
2010 16 18 0.471 4.54 0.266
2001 15 17 0.469 4.56 0.269

Source: Stats, Inc.