Rockies Resurgence Has Been A Team Effort

Want to know how much respect Kyle Freeland has gained in just his second year in the big leagues? Well, the Rockies left-hander allowed one run in five innings in Saturday's matchup up with Mariners ace James Paxton, and even Freeland, after the game, talked about it being a struggle.

Yeah, five innings, one run and it's a struggle.

That underscores how high the bar is that Freeland has established for himself. He gets a no-decision, but provides the foundation for what became a 5-1 Rockies victory, allowing the Rockies to become only the third team this season to win a series at Safeco Field. And it was a struggle.

He deserves the respect of that kind of expectation because that is how well the Denver native has pitched for the team he rooted for growing up. His current ERA of 3.18 would be the second lowest in franchise history. It's also worth noting that fellow starter Tyler Anderson has a 3.90 ERA, which would be the ninth lowest. In fact, in the previous 25 years of existence the Rockies have had only nine seasons in which a starting pitcher had an ERA below 4.00.

Rockies Mound Masters

Player Season W L Pct GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA
Ubaldo Jimenez 2010 19 8 0.704 33 221.2 164 73 71 10 92 214 2.88
Kyle Freeland 2018 8 6 0.571 18 110.1 96 39 39 13 37 88 3.18
Jhoulys Chacin 2013 14 10 0.583 31 197.1 188 82 76 11 61 126 3.47
Ubaldo Jimenez 2009 15 12 0.556 33 218 183 87 84 13 85 198 3.47
Jorge De La Rosa 2013 16 6 0.727 30 167.2 170 70 65 11 62 112 3.49
Jhoulys Chacin 2011 11 14 0.44 31 194 168 87 78 20 87 150 3.62
Joe Kennedy 2004 9 7 0.563 27 162.1 163 68 66 17 67 117 3.66
Jason Jennings 2006 9 13 0.409 32 212 206 94 89 17 85 142 3.78
Tyler Anderson 2018 6 3 0.667 18 101.2 91 47 44 15 33 94 3.9
Aaron Cook 2008 16 9 0.64 32 211.1 236 102 93 13 48 96 3.96
Ubaldo Jimenez 2008 12 12 0.5 34 198.2 182 97 88 11 103 172 3.99

A key for the Rockies recent success has been the bullpen. In Saturday's game, the bullpen worked four scoreless innings. Scott Oberg, who was awarded the win, and Wade Davis, who finished the game, worked an inning apiece. Adam Ottavino worked two innings beween Oberg and Davis.

The Rockies have won 12 of their last 17 games, and in that time, a bullpen that had a 5.66 ERA in the first 72 games of the season, has a 3.45 ERA. Four of the nine relievers who have appeared in the last 17 games are not on the active roster today. The five remaining relievers have a 2.89 ERA in the 17 games, and have converted seven of eight save opportunities.

Player W-L SvOP G IP H R ER BB SO ERA
Scott Oberg 1-0 0 5 6 4 0 0 1 4 0
y-Brooks Pounders 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
Chris Rusin 0-0 0 7 8.2 9 3 2 4 7 2.08
Wade Davis 0-0 5-5 8 8 5 3 2 2 8 2.25
y-Harrison Musgrave 0-1 0 4 3.1 3 1 1 3 0 2.7
Adam Ottavino 1-2 1-2 8 10 12 5 5 5 15 4.5
Jake McGee 0-0 1-1 6 5 6 4 3 0 4 5.4
x-Mike Dunn 0-0 0 2 1 2 1 1 1 0 9
x-Bryan Shaw 1-0 0 3 1.1 4 4 3 2 1 20.25
Totals 3-3 7-8 44 44.1 46 21 17 18 40 3.45
Active Relievers 2-3 7-8 34 37.1 36 15 12 12 38 2.89

x-on disabled list

y-with AAA Albuquerque

Source: Stats, Inc.

And the rotation has done more than its share. With Chad Bettis on the disabled list, the Rockies are taking advantage of off days and currently going with a four-man rotation. the Rockies are 9-3 in the 12 games the four current starters have pitched in the last 17 games with a combined 2.33 ERA.

Starting to Click

Player W L GS IP H R ER BB SO ERA
*Kyle Freeland 2 0 4 25 17 5 5 10 15 1.8
German Marquez 3 1 4 23.1 22 12 11 5 24 4.24
Tyler Anderson 2 1 3 22 13 4 4 5 25 1.64
Antonio Senzatela 1 0 1 7 3 0 0 0 4 0
* Team 3-1 9 3 12 77.1 55 21 20 20 68 2.33

The Rockies also received a lift on Saturday from role players. Noel Cuevas, the right-handed-hitting outfielder on the roster, delivered a three-run home run. With shortstop Trevor Story a late scratch on Saturday after fouling a ball off his foot Friday night, Pat Valaika made his first start at shortstop this season. He was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk, and was a part of two impressive double play-efforts by the Rockies.

That came the game after backup catcher Tony Wolters was a key factor in the Rockies 7-1 victory against the Mariners, who had won nine of their previous 10 games, and Felix Hernandez. Wolters became the first catcher in franchise history to have two triples in a game. He tripled home one run and scored another on a DJ LeMahieu sacrifice fly in the second. And in the sixth, he delivered a two-run triple, and then scored on LeMahieu's ground-rule double for a 6-0 lead.

But then, the extras have had impact on the Rockies recent run even before the last two games, including Ryan McMahon. In his final plate appearance before being sent to Triple-A Albuquerque, McMahon delivered a three-run, pinch-hit home run that gave the Rockies a 9-8 lead in a 10-8, June 20 victory against the Mets. The extra men have hit a combined .280 average in the last 17 games. 

EXTRAS, EXTRAS 

Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
Ryan McMahon 2 2 1 1 0 0 1 3 0.5
Pat Valaika 6 11 4 4 0 0 1 1 0.364
Tom Murphy 9 25 2 9 4 0 0 4 0.36
Noel Cuevas 12 34 6 9 3 0 1 4 0.265
Raimel Tapia 4 7 2 1 1 0 0 0 0.143
Tony Wolters 6 14 2 2 0 2 0 3 0.143
Totals 17 93 17 26 8 2 3 15 0.28

And the primary players have come through, too. Of the nine players with at least 30 at-bats, DJ LeMahieu is the only one who hasn't raised his average, but he is third in the group with 10 RBI. And Ian Desmond has drawn a team-high 11 walks -- five more than any other player in the 17 games -- to give him a .362 on-base percentage, third on the team.

Every Day Contributors

Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP
Trevor Story 16 65 6 22 6 1 1 6 2 13 0.338 0.368
Gerardo Parra 14 41 6 13 2 0 2 12 2 6 0.317 0.326
Nolan Arenado 17 68 12 21 3 0 9 21 6 17 0.309 0.365
Carlos Gonzalez 16 55 10 16 5 0 1 3 3 13 0.291 0.328
Charlie Blackmon 17 67 12 19 1 0 3 6 3 14 0.284 0.329
Chris Iannetta 12 30 4 8 0 0 2 3 3 12 0.267 0.371
Noel Cuevas 12 34 6 9 3 0 1 4 1 6 0.265 0.286
DJ LeMahieu 17 71 10 18 5 0 1 10 6 11 0.254 0.304
Ian Desmond 17 58 12 14 2 1 3 8 11 19 0.241 0.362