Rockies: Armed and Dangerous for the NL West Title Run

On Tuesday night, the Rockies rallied for a 6-2 victory against the Giants at Coors Field, a five-run seventh erasing a 2-1 deficit. It was the team's 40th come-from-behind victory of the season, most in the major leagues.

The offense received plenty of attention, which is common in those late-game rallies. And it was deserved. Ryan McMahon did, after all, get the rally started with a one-out, pinch-hit home run -- the Rockies sixth pinch-hit home run of the season, tied for third most in MLB. Carlos Gonzalez gave the Rockies the lead with a bases-loaded triple, and then scored himself on a bases-loaded walk.

Big offensive effort, but what can't be overlooked is the foundation of this Rockies team has been a starting rotation that may not always get credited with the victories statistically, but consistently leaves the Rockies in position to win games.

Over the years, Rockies hitters have their accomplishments discounted becuase of Coors Field, but the pitchers do not get any leniency for having to deal with the challenges of Coors Field.

With that in mind, consider that the Rockies rotation leads the National League in quality starts -- six or more innings, three earned runs or fewer. That's right, the Rockies rotation, not the Dodgers or the Cubs or any other, is the only rotation in the NL with quality starts in more than 50 percent of the team's games.

Quality Counts

Team Games QS Pct. QS
Rockies 138 70 50.7
Pirates 139 69 49.6
D-backs 139 68 48.9
Mets 138 67 48.6
Nationals 139 67 48.2
Phillies 138 66 47.8
Dodgers 139 65 46.8
Giants 140 63 45.0
Cardinals 139 61 43.9
Braves 138 60 43.5
Cubs 138 55 39.9
Brewers 140 50 35.7
Marlins 139 49 35.3
Padres 141 42 29.8
Reds 139 40 28.8
NL 2,084 892 42.8

There are 26 National League starting pitchers with 12 or more quality starts. Four of them are Rockies, the most of any team in baseball. Only two others -- the Diamondbacks and Pirates -- have three. And six of the 15 NL teams have only one pitcher with as many as 12 quality starts.

It's Not a One-Man Show

Team Pitcher
Rockies Kyle Freeland (19) German Marquez (16) Tyler Anderson (13) Jon Gray (12)
D-backs Zack Greinke (18) Patrick Corbin (16) Zack Godley (13)
Pirates Jameson Taillon (16) Trevor Williams (15) Ivan Nova (13)
Nationals Max Scherzer (25) Tanner Roark (17
Mets Jacob deGrom (24) Zack Wheeler (16)
Phillies Aaron Nola (22) Jake Arrieta (14)
Dodgers Clayton Kershaw (16) Alex Wood (13)
Braves Sean Newcomb (15) Julio Teheran (13)
Cubs Kyle Hendricks (14) Jon Lester (13)
Cardinals Miles Mikolas (17)
Brewers Jhoulys Chacin (12)
Padres Clayton Richard (12)
Giants Dereck Rodriguez (12)

The Rockies, in fact, have two starting pitchers who have turned into quality starts in more than half of their starts -- Kyle Freeland with 19 of 28, and German Marquez with 16 of 29. This doesn't eliminate the Coors Field image, but it has given the Rockies a point of pride that their young pitchers aren't intimidated by the surroundings.

More Often Than Not

Player Starts QS Pct. QS
Kyle Freeland 28 19 67.9
German Marquez 28 16 57.1
Tyler Anderson 28 13 46.4
Jon Gray 26 12 46.1
Chad Bettis 19 7 36.8
Antonio Senzatela 8 3 37.5
Jeff Hoffman 1 0 0

Early season problems with the bullpen did undermine the success of the rotation because of an inability to close out victories on a consistent basis. The Rockies rotation, however, does have the second-best winning percentage in franchise history.

Winning Ways

Season W L Pct
2009 69 50 .580
2018 48 36 .571
2007 55 47 .539
2017 63 56 .529
2010 58 52 .527
1995 51 48 .515
1996 50 52 .490
2002 55 59 .482
1997 54 59 .478
2016 53 58 .477

The rotation also has the third lowest ERA in franchise history.

Season W L Pct G GS ERA
2009 69 50 .580 162 162 4.10
2010 58 52 .527 162 162 4.21
2018 48 36 .571 138 138 4.30
2013 54 60 .474 162 162 4.57
2007 55 47 .539 163 163 4.58
2017 63 56 .529 162 162 4.59
2006 52 63 .452 162 162 4.72
2011 53 68 .438 162 162 4.73
2016 53 58 .477 162 162 4.79
2014 44 65 .404 162 162 4.89
Tracy RingolsbyComment