Rockies: Top to Bottom Improvement In Move Up in Standings

In the last seven weeks, the Rockies have climbed from a team scuffling to survive, closer to last place than first place in the NL West, and a distant spectator to the NL wild-card race to a team very much a factor in both the NL West and NL wild-card.

And they are focused on moving forward in the final seven weeks of the regular season.

"Last year's opportunity definitely prepared us," said center fielder Charlie Blackmon. "We sneaked in to be the wild-card, We had to play good baseball to get to that point."

This year, the Rockies are making a move up in the standings in July and August, whereas a year ago they were battling to hang on. And they are doing it against winning teams. They haven't played a team with a losing record since June.

"We embrace it," said Trevor Story. "At the end of the day you want to play against the best. It's fun the play against the best. It's gong to be a fight to the end. We know it and we are excited about it."

Moving On Up

Before June 28 As of Friday Change
NL West W L Pct GB Team W L Pct GB Pct.
D-backs 46 34 0.575 D-backs 68 55 0.553 -23
Dodgers 43 36 0.544 2 1.2 Rockies 66 56 0.541 1 1/2 66
Giants 42 39 0.519 4 1/2 Dodgers 66 57 0.537 2 -7
Rockies 38 42 0.475 8 Giants 61 62 0.496 7 -23
Padres 36 47 0.434 11 1/2 Padres 48 77 0.384 21 -50
Wild-Card W L Pct GB Team W L Pct GB 19
Braves 45 34 0.57 Phillies 68 54 0.557 -34
Cubs 43 35 0.551 Brewers 68 56 0.548 59
Dodgers 43 36 0.544 1/2 Cardinals 67 56 0.545 1/2 13
Phillies 42 36 0.538 1 Rockies 66 56 0.541 1 66
Cardinals 42 37 0.532 1 1/2 Dodgers 66 57 0.537 1 1/2 -7
Nationals 41 37 0.526 2 Nationals 62 61 0.504 5 1/2 -22
Giants 42 39 0.519 2 1/2 Pirates 61 62 0.496 6 1/2 21
Rockies 38 42 0.475 4 1/2 Giants 61 62 0.496 6 1/2 -23
Pirates 38 42 0.475 4 1/2

The Key to the Rockies rise is that they have improved in every area.

It starts with the starting pitchers. They are the ones who set the tone for the game. And for the Rockies they have emerged as a key factor. A rotation that had the highest ERA in the NL (second highest in Major League Baseball) prior to June 28, has the third lowest ERA since June 28.

The most dramatic move has bee Jon gray, whose ERA has dropped from 5.52 to open the season, when the team was 7-9 in his starts, to 3.30 since June 28, and the Rockies have won all seven of his starts. Ditto Kyle Freeland. The Rockies were 8-8 in his first 16 starts, when he had a 3.29 ERA, which is excellent in Rockies terms, but since June 28, not only has the team gone 8-1 in his starts, but he has a 2.35 ERA. 

For Starters

Since June 28 Before June 28
Starters W-L Team GS ERA W-L Team GS ERA
Freeland 4-1 8-1 9 2.35 7-6 8-8 16 3.29
Marquez 5-1 6-2 8 2.91 5-8 7-9 16 5.53
Gray 2-0 7-0 7 3.30 7-7 7-9 16 5.52
Senzatela 2-2 2-3 5 3.60 DNA DNA xx DNA
Anderson 2-2 3-6 9 4.04 4-3 7-3 16 4.62
Bettis 0-1 1-2 3 7.71 5-1 9-7 16 5.07
Rotation 15-7 -- 42 3.52 28-25 -- 80 4.77

The bullpen also has stepped up. The cumulative ERA for relievers has been reduced from 5.56 before June 28 to 4.32 since. 

Oh, What a Relief It Is

Since June 28 Before June 28
Reliever SvOP G ERA SvOP G ERA
Oberg 0-2 18 2.3 0-2 17 3.79
Shaw 0 11 2.45 0-4 41 7.57
Ottavino 4-7 22 2.82 1-2 33 1
Senzatela DNA XX DNA 0 10 6.23
Davis 12-14 21 6.41 21-25 33 4.4
Rusin 0-0 10 7.2 0-1 27 6.96
McGee 0-1 15 7.5 1-2 33 5.9
Bullpen 17-26 42 4.32 23-37 80 5.56

And then there is the lineup. the team average has jumped 12 points, led by Tevor Story, who opened the season hitting .264, and went into Saturday having hit .351 since June 28, giving the Rockies another impact bat to go with Carlos Gonzalez, NolanArenado and Charlie Blackmon.

A big lift has come from Ian Desmond, who has .270 since June 28, a 55 point improvement from the start of the season. The only major step backwards is Gerardo Parra, who average has dropped from .303 before June 28 to .243 since. 

Since June 28 Before June 28
------------------ ---------- ------- ------- ----- ------- ------- -------
Player AVG OBP SLG AVG OBP SLG
Trevor Story .351 .392 .623 .264 .330 .511
Carlos Gonzalez .306 .371 .549 .275 .327 .446
Nolan Arenado .305 .382 .584 .310 .396 .580
Ryan McMahon .286 .400 .524 .211 .283 .337
DJ LeMahieu .282 .319 .405 .272 .323 .426
Charlie Blackmon .271 .322 .482 .278 .355 .474
Ian Desmond .270 .319 .439 .215 .296 .433
Gerardo Parra .243 .333 .280 .303 .340 .424
David Dahl .222 .300 .417 .275 .309 .484
Pat Valaika .211 .268 .368 .120 .185 .173
Chris Iannetta .197 .284 .342 .231 .346 .385
Tony Wolters .171 .31o .371 .149 .269 .218
Team .262 .324 .448 .250 .317 .418
Tracy RingolsbyComment