Coming off back-to-back 3-3 weeks, the Colorado Rockies will head out on the road in week four as they continue a long stretch of games within the division. This week, they’ll travel to Chase Field to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks for three games, then head to San Diego for three games at Petco Park against the Padres. Here’s what’s coming up in week four.
Season record: 10-8 (t-2nd in NL West, 1 GB of LAD) Number of games this week: Six (3 @ Arizona Diamondbacks, 3 @ San Diego Padres)
Season record of this week’s opponents:
Arizona Diamondbacks: 8-10 (4th in NL West, 3 GB)
San Diego Padres: 11-9 (t-2nd in NL West, 1 GB)
Daily opponent and pitching match-up:
Monday, April 27 – Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks (7:40 PM MDT) Tyler Matzek (1-0, 2.40 ERA) vs. Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00 ERA)
Tuesday, April 28 – Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks (7:40 PM MDT) Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 6.85 ERA) vs. Archie Bradley (2-0, 1.45 ERA)
Wednesday, April 29 – Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks (7:40 PM MDT) Jordan Lyles (2-1, 2.92 ERA) vs. Josh Collmenter (1-3, 3.65 ERA)
Thursday, April 30 – Day off
Friday, May 1 – Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres (8:10 PM MDT) Eddie Butler (2-1, 3.27 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (0-1, 10.80 ERA)
The third week of the regular season was the second consecutive week with a 3-3 record for the Colorado Rockies. With six home games this week as opposed to six road games last week, the 3-3 record isn’t quite as satisfying. Nonetheless, the Rockies find themselves in second place in the NL West and in a solid position moving forward. First, let’s take a look back at week three.
Week Record: 3-3 Season Record: 10-8 (t-2nd in NL West, 1 GB of LAD)
Tuesday, April 21 – San Diego Padres (7) at Colorado Rockies (6)
W – Maurer (1-0) L – Logan (0-1) S – Kimbrel (5)
HR – Hundley (1)
Players of the game:
Nick Hundley – 2 for 4, 3B, HR, 2 RBI
Charlie Blackmon – 1 for 4, 3B, 2 RBI Troy Tulowitzki – 1 for 3, 2B, RBI
Wednesday, April 22 – San Diego Padres (4) at Colorado Rockies (5)
W – Ottavino (1-0) L – Kelley (0-2)
HR – Dickerson 2 (4)
Players of the game: Corey Dickerson – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB Michael McKenry – 3 for 4, 2B, SB Nolan Arenado – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI
Thursday, April 23 – San Diego Padres (1) at Colorado Rockies (2)
W – Lyles (2-1) L – Ross (1-1) S – Axford (2)
HR – Dickerson (5)
Players of the game: Jordan Lyles – 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Corey Dickerson – 2 for 3, HR, RBI, BB
Nick Hundley – 2 for 3, BB
In a series that started out looking as if it could be a complete disaster, the Rockies did a nice job of righting the ship without letting things spiral out of control. Game one against the San Diego Padres was an absolute nightmare. Just minutes before the game, third baseman Nolan Arenado was scratched from the lineup with a sore wrist. It didn’t get any better from there as Jorge De La Rosa allowed nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits in just two innings in his first start of the season and Corey Dickerson had to leave the game with plantar fasciitis. When it was finally all over, the Rockies had lost, 14-3, and extended their losing streak to four games. The next day, with Arenado and Dickerson once again out of the lineup, the Rockies lost, 7-6, and ran their losing streak to five. Things got better from there.
The next day, Dickerson and Arenado returned to the starting lineup and combined for four hits, a double, and two home runs to help the Rockies to their first win in six tries. In the series finale, great work from starting pitcher Jordan Lyles and relievers Scott Oberg, Rafael Betancourt, and John Axford earned the Rockies a win and a series split.
Friday, April 24 – San Francisco Giants (4) at Colorado Rockies (6)
W – Butler (2-1) L – Heston (2-2) S – Ottavino (3)
HR – Blackmon (2)
Players of the game: DJ LeMahieu – 3 for 4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
Corey Dickerson – 2 for 4, RBI, BB
Charlie Blackmon – 2 for 5, HR, RBI
Saturday, April 25 – San Francisco Giants (5) at Colorado Rockies (4)
W – Machi (1-0) L – Brown (0-1) F/11
HR – Tulowitzki (2), Gonzalez (2)
Players of the game:
Troy Tulowitzki – 2 for 5, HR, RBI Carlos Gonzalez – 1 for 5, HR, RBI Justin Morneau – 3 for 5
Sunday, April 26 – San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies
Game postponed due to inclement weather; makeup date TBD
In the second series of the week, the Rockies welcomed the San Francisco Giants to town for what was supposed to be a three game series. The Rockies took care of business in game one, a 6-4 win that gave them a three game winning streak behind a home run from Charlie Blackmon and a three hit day from DJ LeMahieu. The second game of the series saw Jorge De La Rosa deliver a solid bounce back start for the Rockies, but ultimately ended in a 5-4 loss in 11 innings. Game three was supposed to be played on Sunday afternoon. Alas, Mother Nature had other ideas. The game was postponed due to inclement weather with no makeup date announced as of yet. Oh, this also happened during the series:
It was a decidedly average week for the Rockies, who will now travel out on the road for more divisional games against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Padres. It should be interesting to see how the offense performs after their first significant exposure to Coors Field this season.
Before we get to that, however, let’s take a look at the player and pitcher of the week. Don’t forget that you can find a running leaderboard of the player and pitcher of the week on the right side of the screen.
Rockies position player of the week: Corey Dickerson – 19 PA, .375/.474/.938, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 265 wRC+
Despite missing a game and a half with plantar fasciitis, a heel injury, and another half game after fouling a ball off his leg, Dickerson remained ultra-productive this week en route to earning his second player of the week honors of the young season. His three home runs this week give him a team leading five on the season and, as long as he can stay healthy, Dickerson looks primed to have a monster season. Here’s a look at his two home run game against the Padres:
Longest Rockies home run of the week: Corey Dickerson – 440 feet
So, this Dickerson guy can hit a little bit. His 440 foot blast this week currently comes in as the second longest Rockies home run of the year, behind only the mammoth 461 foot shot off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez in week one. The first home run in the video above is the 440 footer in question.
Milestone home run of the week: Troy Tulowitzki’s 100th home run at Coors Field
One of the greatest players in franchise history became just the fifth Rockie to hit 100 or more home runs at Coors Field, joining Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Vinny Castilla, and Dante Bichette. Congrats on your first hundred Tulo, here’s to 100 more. No embeddable video for this one, but you can watch Tulo’s homer here.
Rockies pitcher of the week: Jordan Lyles – 1 start, 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W
So far on the young season, Jordan Lyles has been the best starting pitcher for the Rockies. It shows here, as he will be pitcher of the week for the second time already thanks to his outstanding performance against the Padres this week. More performances like this one could really give the Rockies rotation a boost. Here’s a look at his quality start:
Colorado Rockies fans have grown accustomed to Carlos Gonzalez being a feared hitter in the middle of the order. Why wouldn’t they? With a career slash line of .298/.357/.534, 765 hits, 148 doubles, 31 triples, 133 home runs, and a 125 wRC+ as a Rockie, it’s only natural that both he and the fans have come to expect him to hit. This year, however, has been a major struggle for CarGo. In his first 61 PA of the season, he has a dreadful .175/.213/.298 slash line, good for just 24 wRC+. In his last seven games, he is an awful 1-for-24 and in his last start he was dropped down to sixth in the order. Is this just a slump, or is it time to worry?
The easiest way to find out if there’s something really wrong with CarGo is to compare some of the peripheral statistics of what he’s done this season to what he’s done in his career. Does it look more like bad luck, or has something changed that has caused him to suddenly not be able to hit?
Some of the big statistics to look at when trying to figure this out are BABIP, HR/FB%, K%, BB%, O-Swing% (the percentage of pitches out of the strike zone that a hitter has swung at), Z-Swing% (the percentage of pitches in the strike zone that a hitter has swung at), and Contact% (percentage of the time a hitter makes contact when he swings). Let’s take a look at these areas and see where he has been this year in comparison to his career numbers:
2015 – .196
Career – .341
2015 – 18%
Career – 22.2%
2015 – 4.9%
Career – 7.8%
2015 – 7.1%
Career – 18.2%
2015 – 33.6%
Career – 35.3%
2015 – 74.3%
Career – 66.3%
2015 – 74%
Career – 74.8%
So, the results are in, and this looks like a whole lot of bad luck to me. His BABIP is almost a full 150 points below his career average and his HR/FB% is more than 10% lower than his career average as well. The likelihood of those things continuing all season are slim to none and as they revert closer to his career averages, we will see his offensive numbers improve.
In addition to what appears to be some bad luck, his 18% strikeout rate would actually be the best of his career. On top of that, despite having a career low walk rate, he has actually swung at slightly fewer pitches outof the strike zone this year than he has in his career while swinging at more pitches in the strike zone than he has in his career. If anything, this may suggest a bit of an improvement in plate discipline for CarGo and could be a good sign going forward. He is also making contact at almost the exact same rate that he has throughout his big league career, so that doesn’t appear to be the issue either.
Now, if we really want to find something to worry about, there’s always the proverbial “eye test.” CarGo just doesn’t look good right now. It seems like he isn’t staying on the ball the way he needs to and is instead just rolling everything over for an easy groundout into the shift. It’s frustrating to watch him do this, but it’s also something we’ve seen from him before and is something that he has always snapped out of in the past. The next time you see him make solid contact and take the ball either up the middle or to the opposite field, watch out.
Another thing that completely baffles me has been his reluctance (though he is definitely not alone here) to just lay down a bunt when the opposing team shifts to put three infielders on the same side of the field. Even a mediocre bunt is going to be a hit when the defense plays him this way and when a hitter is in a slump like CarGo, he should do anything he can to just find a way on base. Sometimes a simple bunt single is all it takes to get a hitter on track and back into a good place offensively. Another plus is that, if he does it enough times, the defense will be forced into a more traditional alignment, which will open up holes for him when he swings away. CarGo, if you’re reading this, try a bunt please.
Slumps are no fun for anyone involved. The fans don’t like to watch it, the coaching staff doesn’t like trying to figure out what’s wrong, and the player certainly doesn’t like experiencing it. However, as unenjoyable as this, or any, slump might be, I’ll take solace in knowing that he he isn’t broken. He’s just been unlucky. Who knows, maybe this time next week I’ll be writing about how CarGo is the hottest hitter going.
Be sure to subscribe, like View from the Rooftop on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and check back on Monday, April 27, as I take a look back at the third week of the season and look ahead to week four. As always, comments and feedback are welcome and thanks for reading!
After a road trip that started out great, ended horribly, and ultimately ended up a respectable 3-3, the Colorado Rockies return home to Coors Field for week three of the regular season. Staff ace Jorge De La Rosa will make his season debut tonight against the San Diego Padres as the Rockies look to gain ground on the division leading Los Angeles Dodgers. Here’s a look at the week three schedule.
Season record: 7-5 (3rd in NL West, 2 GB of LAD)
Number of games this week: Seven (4 vs. San Diego Padres, 3 vs. San Francisco Giants)
Season record of this week’s opponents:
San Diego Padres: 8-5 (2nd in NL West, 1.5 GB)
San Francisco Giants: 4-10 (5th in NL West, 6 GB)
Daily opponent and pitching match-up*:
*2014 stats for Jorge De La Rosa
Monday, April 20 – San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (6:40 PM MDT) Odrisamer Despaigne (1-0, 0.77 ERA) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (14-11, 4.10 ERA)
Tuesday, April 21 – San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (6:40 PM MDT) Brandon Morrow (0-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Tyler Matzek (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
Wednesday, April 22 – San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (6:40 PM MDT) James Shields (2-0, 2.84 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 7.56 ERA)
Thursday, April 23 – San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (1:10 PM MDT) Tyson Ross (1-0, 4.08 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (1-1, 3.50 ERA)
Friday, April 24 – San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (6:40 PM MDT) Chris Heston (2-1, 0.87 ERA) vs. Eddie Butler (1-1, 2.25 ERA)
Saturday, April 25 – San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (6:10 PM MDT) Tim Hudson (0-2, 3.93 ERA) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (14-11, 4.10 ERA)
Sunday, April 26 – San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (2:10 PM MDT) Tim Lincecum (0-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Tyler Matzek (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
Be sure to subscribe, like View from the Rooftop on Facebook, follow on Twitter (I will be live tweeting most games), and check out my look back at week two of the regular season including the Rockies player and pitcher of the week and highlights that you don’t want to miss. Also, be sure to check back on Friday, April 24, for the next look at how to make the Rockies better.
Although it ended on a bit of a sour note, the Colorado Rockies; 3-3 road trip in week two is nothing to be upset about. They held their own and now have a chance to gain some ground at Coors Field. Here’s a look back at week two.
Week Record: 3-3
Season Record: 7-5 (3rd in NL West, 2 GB of LAD)
Monday, April 13 – Colorado Rockies (2) at San Francisco Giants (0)
W – Butler (1-0) L – Heston (1-1) S – Betancourt (1)
Players of the game: DJ LeMahieu – 3 for 4 Justin Morneau – 2 for 4, 2B Rafael Betancourt – IP, 0 R, 2 K, S
Tuesday, April 14 – Colorado Rockies (4) at San Francisco Giants (1)
W – Oberg (1-0) L – Hudson (0-1) S – Ottavino (1)
Players of the game: Corey Dickerson – 3 for 4, 3B, RBI Christian Bergman – 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K Adam Ottavino – IP, 0 R, 3 K, S
Wednesday, April 15 – Colorado Rockies (4) at San Francisco Giants (2)
W – Matzek (1-0) L – Lincecum (0-1) S – Ottavino (2)
HR – Arenado (3)
Players of the game: Tyler Matzek – 6 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 3 K Nolan Arenado – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI
Adam Ottavino – IP, 0 R, 2 K, S
After a three game sweep in San Francisco, their second consecutive road sweep to start the season, the Rockies were flying high. A 7-2 record had them in first place in the NL West, the offense looked very good, the bullpen looked fantastic, and the starting pitching, while shaky, was doing enough to keep them in the game. The 6-0 road start was the best in franchise history and newly appointed closer Adam Ottavino was just about as dominant as you can be, notching five strikeouts and a weak grounder to second base as he worked back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to pick up his first two saves of the season. The Rockies also got a quality start from Tyler Matzek, a strong outing from Christian Bergman as a spot starter, and what is going to be a strong candidate for catch of the year from Nolan Arenado (more on that catch coming). Things were looking good as the club headed to Los Angeles.
Thursday, April 16 – Day off
Friday, April 17 – Colorado Rockies (3) at Los Angeles Dodgers (7)
W – Kershaw (1-1) L – Kendrick (1-2)
HR – Tulowitzki (1), Blackmon (1)
Players of the game:
Charlie Blackmon – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI Troy Tulowitzki – 2 for 4, HR, RBI Scott Oberg – 1 1/3 IP, H, 0 R, K
Saturday, April 18 – Colorado Rockies (3) at Los Angeles Dodgers (6)
W – Greinke (2-0) L – Lyles (1-1) S – Peralta (3)
HR – LeMahieu (1)
Players of the game:
DJ LeMahieu – 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBI
Rafael Betancourt – IP, H, 0 R, 2 K
Troy Tulowitzki – 1 for 4, RBI
Sunday, April 19 – Colorado Rockies (0) at Los Angeles Dodgers (7)
W – McCarthy (2-0) L – Butler (1-1)
Players of the game:
Charlie Blackmon – 2 for 3, BB
Christian Bergman – 2 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 K Eddie Butler – 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K
For as well as the series in San Francisco went, the series in Los Angeles went equally poor. There was a feeling that it was going to be a tough series with reigning NL MVP and Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw starting game one followed by fellow ace Zack Greinke in game two. The offense was actually able to manage three runs off both pitchers, but starters Kyle Kendrick and Jordan Lyles were unable to keep the team in the game, giving runs right back to the Dodgers every time the Rockies scored. Game three of the series, unfortunately, was even worse. The 7-0 loss marked the worst loss of the young season for the Rockies as they were held to just four singles on the day offensively. Eddie Butler had a decent start, allowing two earned runs in five innings, but reliever Scott Oberg was torched for five runs (three earned) and three home runs in just a third of an inning. You would have to imagine that his days in a Rockies uniform are numbered. The Rockies have now lost nine straight games at Dodger Stadium.
Despite the ugly end to the week, it’s important to remember that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the Rockies really aren’t in that bad of shape. The club is 7-5 overall, despite playing nine of their first 12 games away from the friendly confines of Coors Field, and will be getting back staff ace Jorge De La Rosa next week. He will hopefully provide some stability in the rotation and take some of the pressure off of a bullpen that has been overworked in the first 12 games.
Now, it’s time to take a look at the Rockies player and pitcher of the week in week two. You can find a running leaderboard of the players of the week on the right side of the screen.
Rockies position player of the week: DJ LeMahieu – 19 PA, .438/.500/.625, 208 wRC+, HR, 3 RBI
It was a tough week for Rockies hitters with all six games coming on the road in pitcher friendly parks, several against great starting pitchers as well. Despite that, DJ LeMahieu was able to be productive and have a great week hitting toward the bottom of the order. His home run was his first of the season and it came against Zack Greinke of the Dodgers, a great pitcher who tends to not allow many home runs. LeMahieu also continued to display the excellent defense that won him a Gold Glove in 2014, as evidenced here:
Longest Rockies home run of the week: DJ LeMahieu – 412 feet
This home run isn’t as impressive as the one we saw from Carlos Gonzalez last week, but it’s the fourth longest Rockies home run of the season and it came off Zack Greinke, so it’s still impressive. There unfortunately is no embeddable video available, so you can watch LeMahieu’s home run here.
Ridiculous over-the-shoulder-while-falling-into-the-tarp-catch of the week:
So, remember a while back when Derek Jeter made that running catch into the stands at Yankee Stadium and became the best player in the history of baseball? This catch is better than that one, and will be just about impossible to pass for catch of the year. Enjoy!
Rockies pitcher of the week: Christian Bergman – 2 appearances, 1 start, 6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K
Pitcher of the week this week ended up being pretty difficult, as there weren’t many great options. There were no starters who stood out and the only reliever who may have had a case was Adam Ottavino, though I would’ve had a hard time giving it to him for pitching just two innings all week. Ultimately I went with Christian Bergman. He filled in admirably in a spot start against San Francisco, throwing four scoreless innings before handing it over to the bullpen, then saved the bullpen yesterday against the Dodgers, eating up 2 2/3 more scoreless innings and preventing the Rockies from having to use up another bullpen arm before the start of their series with San Diego. He wasn’t flashy, but he got the job done and did exactly what the team asked of him. For that, he earns Rockies pitcher of the week. Here are the highlights from the game he started back on April 14:
For years, the “right way” to utilize a bullpen has never really come into question. The idea is that a team should have their best relief pitcher be the “closer” and throw the ninth inning. The second best reliever on the team should be the “eighth inning guy,” and the third best reliever on the team should be the “seventh inning guy.” The thinking behind this is that the later it gets into a game, the more important the situations become. Obviously, a manager wants to use his best reliever in the most important situations, so it just makes sense to put the best relief arm in the ninth inning. Is the ninth inning always the most important though? That’s what we’re here to find out.
The best way to determine the importance of a situation is the Leverage Index (LI). To see which inning has been the most important so far in 2015 I took a look at the win probability charts over at fangraphs.com which told me the inning that had the highest LI for Rockies relief pitchers when they entered the game. Here’s what I found:
Seventh inning – Four games with the highest LI, one game tied for the highest LI, one game with the second highest LI, two games with the lowest LI
Eighth inning – Six games with the second highest LI, two games with the lowest LI
Ninth inning – Five games with the highest LI, one game tied for the highest LI, two games with the lowest LI
This is a very small sample size, but it still gives us some interesting data. Both the seventh and the ninth inning have been the highest LI inning more than anything else, while the eighth inning has almost always been the second highest. Maybe we’ve found a sweet spot and have been correct all along in thinking that the second best reliever belongs in the eighth inning. What to do with the best reliever, Adam Ottavino in the Rockies case, is still very much up in the air.
Personally, I don’t think it’s wise to tie your best relief pitcher down to just the ninth inning every game. If my team is ahead by one run in the seventh inning and the other guys have their 3-4-5 hitters coming up, I don’t want to blow that lead because I’m “saving” my best bullpen arm for the ninth. It makes sense to me to use the best guy you have right there, because that is where he will be able to benefit the team the most.
Naturally, not everybody will think this way. Others might believe that it’s more important to give each reliever a specific inning every night so that he can be comfortable in a routine, but I don’t believe that is very important for most guys. I would much rather put both the players and the team in a position to succeed by giving each pitcher as many right on right or left on left match-ups as possible and by using the best relief pitchers when the other team’s best hitters are coming to the plate.
The Rockies have lots of strong bullpen options in 2015. On the right side, they have Adam Ottavino, Rafael Betancourt, John Axford, Brooks Brown, and LaTroy Hawkins (yes, he’s still a strong option despite his rough start). They also have two strong left handed options in Boone Logan and Christian Friedrich that should allow manager Walt Weiss plenty of opportunities to mix and match and use people when it will be best for both them and the team. How well he’s able to do it will play a big role in determining how effective the Rockies bullpen will be.
How do you think Walt Weiss should handle the Rockies bullpen? Should he be traditional, should he mix and match, or do you have an even better idea? Let me know in the comments and be sure to like View from the Rooftop on Facebook, follow on Twitter (I will be live tweeting just about every game), and check back on Monday, April 20, as I look back at week two of the season and look ahead to week three!
After a solid 4-2 start in week one, the Colorado Rockies now prepare to play 25 straight games within the NL West. The Rockies will also be on the road all week, looking to build on their early success in Milwaukee last week. Here is their week two schedule.
Season record: 4-2 (1st in NL West, +0.5 on SD)
Number of games this week: Six (3 @ San Francisco Giants, 3 @ Los Angeles Dodgers)
Season record of this week’s opponents:
San Francisco Giants: 3-4 (5th in NL West, 1.5 GB)
Los Angeles Dodgers: 3-3 (T-3rd in NL West, 1 GB)
Daily opponent and pitching match-up*:
*(2015 stats; 2014 stats)
Monday, April 13 – Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants (2:35 PM MDT)
Sunday, April 19 – Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers (2:10 MDT)
Eddie Butler (0-0, 3.18 ERA; 1-2, 6.75 ERA) vs. Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 7.20 ERA; 10-15, 4.05 ERA)
Be sure to subscribe, follow View from the Rooftop on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and check out week one in review where I give an overview of the first week of the season and name the player and pitcher of the week. Also, don’t miss the next article coming this Thursday, April 16 when I look at how the Rockies can most effectively use their bullpen.