Can The Rockies Keep Rolling Into 1st Place?

The Colorado Rockies have a lot going on lately that deserves to be talked about. First and foremost, they’re now 12-3 in their last 15 games and sit just 2.5 games behind Arizona for control of the Wild, Wild, NL West. But what exactly has gotten into this team, and is it going to last?

The Pitching Has Been Historic

Over their last 17 games, the Rockies own a sensational 2.71 ERA, 1.111 WHIP, and .213 opp BA, all of which are league bests in that span. Over those 17 games, with RISP, Rockies pitchers also have owned the league lowest opponent’s BA, OBP, and SLG.

In that span, Rockies starting pitchers have led the way with (yet again) a league best 2.44 ERA and .198 BA. However, what’s jaw-droppingly incredible is that the Rockies own a 2.38 ERA at Coors FIeld in 8 home games during that span. Starters in that timeframe own a 1.80 ERA with a 0.5 HR/9 at home.

The pitching is even making history. From July 2nd – July 7th, the Rockies went 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA. That’s the best 5 game stretch the Rockies have EVER had. From July 2nd to July 12th, the Rockies went 5-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 6 games at home, their best home streak since 2006.

Kyle Freeland Doing Something Special

Kyle Freeland, 2011’s number 8 overall pick, has pitched remarkably well at just 25 years old. His 3.11 ERA ranks 9th best in the NL, despite the fact that half his games are pitched at the most hitter friendly ballpark in baseball. The crazy thing – he’s pitching better at Coors Field than on the road. His 2.76 home ERA trumps his 3.38 away ERA notably, which is baffling.

That 3.11 ERA, however, is on pace to put him up with some of the best to ever pitch at Coors Field. Ubaldo Jiminez owns the best single season ERA mark for a Rockies pitcher at 2.88, and currently on pace to finish 2nd is none other than Kyle Freeland. More than that, Freeland’s 2.76 home ERA is on pace to be the BEST ERA ever posted by a Rockies pitcher at Coors Field in a complete season.

Trevor Story Finally Meeting the Hype

Remember Trevor Story? That dude who hit 6 homeruns in his first 4 career games and then kinda got forgotten about last season? Yeah, he’s been raking this season, batting .293 with a .907 OPS, including 19 homeruns, 67 RBI, and 12 SB. Over his last 37 games, Story is batting .371 with a 1.062 OPS. Currently, Story is riding a 14 game on base streak where he’s batting .455 (best in MLB) with a 1.273 OPS (2nd to Mookie Betts).

Nolan Arenado: MVP?

Nolan Arenado has been something special to watch. His passion for the game, wizardry in the field, and raw talent is hard to match. He’s on pace to finish with a career best in BA, OBP, SLG, HR, SB, etc. If the season ended today, he’d arguably have the best odds at winning his first NL MVP, owning the NL’s best WAR, 3rd best OPS, and 3rd best wOBA.

His consistency has been pivotal for Colorado, in that Arenado really hasn’t gone cold all year. He’s only had 1 string of more than 2 games without a hit this season, and his OPS hasn’t dipped below .930 since April 13th.

The Return of Jon Gray

Jon Gray began the season projected as the ace in the Rockies Rotation. On June 28th he was demoted to AAA with a 5.77 ERA. Last night, he made his return to the mound and was firing on all cylinders. He dealt 7.1 innings of 1 run ball, giving up just 5 hits and 1 walk over 6 strikeouts, also not allowing a runner to advance past 1st base until the 8th inning. He induced more groundballs than he has all season, dealt way more sliders than he usually does, and worked his average fastball velocity above 95 mph.

Overall, there’s not too many reasons to believe the Rockies won’t keep up this success. Jon Gray will play a crucial role in determining how the Rockies 2nd half goes, but with the rest of the pitching staff pitching even half as well as they have been, and Arenado & Story leading the charge offensively, the Rockies should have some confidence going into the all-star break.

 

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