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