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
|Jorge De La Rosa||2013||16||6||0.727||30||167.2||170||70||65||11||62||112||3.49|
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.
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
|* 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.
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.
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