Colorado Rockies Week 20 Review: August 17-23

The real story from this week is that Ben Paulsen shaved his beard. Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds - Getty Images North America
The real story from this week is that Ben Paulsen shaved his beard.
Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds – Getty Images North America

Welcome to week 20, where things continued to get worse for the Colorado Rockies. A 1-5 week in six home games gave the Rockies a slight lead in the race for the top overall pick in the 2016 draft, percentage points ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins. It’s disappointing that this is what the season has come to, but with 40 games left the Rockies draft positioning is one of their biggest storylines left. As of right now, here are the reverse standings in the race for the first pick:

1. Colorado Rockies – 49-73 (.402)
T-2. Philadelphia Phillies – 50-74 (.403)
T-2. Miami Marlins – 50-74 (.403)
4. Cincinnati Reds – 51-71 (.418)
5. Milwaukee Brewers – 53-72 (.424)
6. Atlanta Braves – 53-71 (.427)
7. Oakland Athletics – 54-71 (.432)

At the moment, it looks like those are the only seven teams with a realistic shot at grabbing the top overall pick, which also essentially guarantees that, barring something miraculous, the Rockies will have one of the top seven picks in what is projected to be a deep draft in 2016. Another high pick should give the Rockies a chance to build on what is already considered one of the top farm systems in baseball as they move toward what will hopefully be a contention window starting around the 2017 season.

There were a few other notable happenings this week. On the positive side, both Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez hit their 30th home runs, making them the first pair of Rockies teammates to hit 30 or more home runs in a season since Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, and Todd Helton all did it in 2004. Yohan Flande also had the best start of his career as he allowed just two runs in seven innings against the Washington Nationals. On the not so positive side, Jon Gray experienced the first rough start of his Major League career when he allowed seven earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings against the New York Mets. It’s just one start, so it’s nothing to be too concerned over, but that doesn’t make it any more fun to watch. Unfortunately, Gray’s was not the worst start of the week for the Rockies. The following day, Chris Rusin allowed 11 earned runs in just two innings of work. His game score of -11 was the worst in Major League history for a pitcher in the start immediately following a complete game shutout. If you dare, here’s a look at the rest of week 20.

Record this week: 1-5
Overall record: 49-73 (5th in NL West, 17 ½ GB of LAD)

Monday, August 17 – Day off

Tuesday, August 18 – Washington Nationals (15) at Colorado Rockies (6)
W – Zimmermann (9-8)    L – Miller (1-2)
HR: Gonzalez (28), Reyes (5), Parker (2)
Players of the game:
Jose Reyes – 4 for 5, 2B, HR, RBI
Nolan Arenado – 3 for 5, 2 2B, RBI
Kyle Parker – 2 for 3, HR, BB, RBI

Wednesday, August 19 – Washington Nationals (4) at Colorado Rockies (1)
W – Strasburg (7-6)            L – Betancourt (2-4)           S – Papelbon (20)
Players of the game:
Jorge De La Rosa – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 6 K
Nolan Arenado – 1 for 3
Charlie Blackmon – 1 for 4

Thursday, August 20 – Washington Nationals (2) at Colorado Rockies (3)
W – Flande (3-1)      L – Scherzer (11-10)              S – Axford (17)
Players of the game:
Yohan Flande – 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K; 2 for 3, RBI
Jose Reyes – 3 for 4, 2B, RBI
Carlos Gonzalez – 1 for 2, 2 BB

In the first series of the week, the Rockies dropped two out of three to the Nationals, but there were at least some positives to look at. Jose Reyes had his best series in a Rockies uniform as he collected seven hits and hit his first home run. They also got quality starts from Flande and Jorge De La Rosa, and beat Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer for the second time in as many tries. It wasn’t a great series, but they were at least (for the most part) competitive, which frankly is about as good as it gets for the Rockies right now. After this series, the Mets came to town and did not play nice at all.

Friday, August 21 – New York Mets (14) at Colorado Rockies (9)
W – Gilmartin (2-1)              L – Friedrich (0-4)
HR: Gonzalez (29), Paulsen (9), Arenado (30)
Players of the game:
Nolan Arenado – 3 for 5, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Nick Hundley – 3 for 3, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI
Carlos Gonzalez – 2 for 4, HR, BB, RBI

Saturday, August 22 – New York Mets (14) at Colorado Rockies (9)
W – Niese (8-9)       L – Rusin (4-6)
HR: Blackmon (14), Reyes (6)
Players of the game:
Kyle Parker – 2 for 3, 2B, 3B, BB, 4 RBI
Charlie Blackmon – 2 for 5, HR, 2 RBI
Jose Reyes – 2 for 4, HR, RBI

Sunday, August 23 – New York Mets (5) at Colorado Rockies (1)
W – Verrett (1-0)     L – Hale (3-5)
HR: Gonzalez (30)
Players of the game:
Simon Castro – 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, K
Carlos Gonzalez – 1 for 4, HR, RBI
DJ LeMahieu – 1 for 3, BB

There’s not a lot to say about this one. The Rockies got absolutely throttled by the Mets in all three games here on their way to being swept. The first two games were done in by the pitching staff that allowed 14 runs twice in a row while the third game was done in by the offense managing only one run. Searching for some positives here, Kyle Parker had his best game as a big leaguer in the second game of the series, notching a double and a triple while driving in four. Beyond that…um…Jose Reyes hit another homer? There’s really not a lot to go on here. It wasn’t pretty.

Moving on, let’s have a look at the top performers from the past week. Team-wise it was bad, but there were still a few standout performances that we’ll find as we name the Rockies position player and pitcher of the week and take a look at the longest home run hit by a Rockies this week. We’re getting close to the end of the season, so be sure to keep track of the full season leaderboards on the right-hand side of the screen!

Rockies position player of the week: Jose Reyes – 23 PA, .409/.409/.773, 2 2B, 2 HR, 211 wRC+

Jose Reyes might not be in a Rockies uniform for long, but that didn’t prevent him from having a great week this week. He was finally productive and hit his first two home runs with the club, his fifth and sixth of the season. Here’s a look at the first one that put the Rockies ahead 4-2 on Tuesday night:

Longest Rockies home run of the week: Ben Paulsen – 445 feet

Paulsen just missed a spot in the top five with this home run with this one, coming up just a foot short in his ninth of the season and the longest homer of his career. Also impressive was that he took it to the opposite field. The solo shot off Bartolo Colon made a blowout slightly less of a blowout as it got the Rockies within five of the Mets in the second inning on Friday night. Watch the blast here.

Rockies pitcher of the week: Jorge De La Rosa – 1 start, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 6 K

The Rockies’ all-time wins leader didn’t get a win for his performance on Wednesday night against the Nationals, but he did a fantastic job of working around traffic to twirl six shutout innings and give the team a chance to win. Of course, the Rockies would ultimately lose the game, but De La Rosa lowered his ERA to 4.50 on the year while adding six more strikeouts to his franchise-leading total of 849. Watch his start here:

That’ll do it for week 20. Be sure to subscribe, like View from the Rooftop on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and check out a look ahead to week 21 of the regular season.

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