It might be a tad early to write a eulogy for the Rockies’ 2020 season. Then again …
The Rockies’ playoff hopes are, technically, still alive, though FanGraphs gives them only a 16.7% chance of being one of eight National League teams to qualify. But ever-optimistic catcher Tony Wolters still believes in his team.
“For the rest of the season, my one word would be ‘excitement,’” he said Sunday. “I’m really excited and I feel like we are in a good spot. Everyone, our whole team, I feel, is together.”
But the team is in a very tough spot as it opens a two-game set against Oakland on Tuesday night at Coors Field. Colorado (21-25) is a season-worst four games below .500, having lost six of its last 10 games and 10 of its past 15. The Rockies sit in ninth place in the overall NL standings.
After a magical 11-3 start, the Rockies are 10-22 (.313) since Aug. 9, the worst winning percentage in the majors over that span. Which begs the question: How did they fall so far, so fast?The reasons are many but Colorado’s failure to come through with clutch hits is a key one.
“We’ve talked about it all season,” manager Bud Black said. “We need the big hit with runners in scoring position. We’ve got to break through, keep the line moving and string hits together, more than just a couple — and (we) can’t rely on one grand slam.”
Black was referring to Charlie Blackmon’s walk-off grand slam in the Rockies’ 8-4 win over the Angels Friday night.
The Rockies’ 11-3 start was a little slice of baseball heaven and, of course, unsustainable. At that point, their 2.88 ERA ranked second in the National League and fourth in the majors. They had scored five or more runs in 11 of their first 14 games, tops in the majors.
But things are much different now and a comparison between those Rockies and the current Rockies is eye-opening:
* From July 24 through Aug. 8, the Rockies’.268 batting average ranked first in the majors. From Aug. 9 through Sunday, they’ve hit .253, ranking 13th.
* During that initial 14-game stretch, the Rockies had a .335 on-base percentage (third) and a .776 OPS (third). Since then, their OBP is .309 (26th) and their OPS is .718 (22nd).
* The pitching, so good early, has fallen apart. After posting that 2.88 ERA for the first 14 games, it’s been 6.66 since then, worst in the majors.
* Colorado pitchers had a 1.03 WHIP over the first 14 games (third-best) but a 1.63 (29th) over the last 32 games (29th).
* The bullpen has done an about-face, posting a 3.26 ERA (seventh-best) during the hot start to a 6.82 ERA (29th) since then.
Athletics LHP Sean Manaea (4-2, 4.46 ERA) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-2, 3.69)
6:40 p.m. Tuesday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 AM
After lefty Kyle Freeland, Senzatela has been Colorado’s most consistent starter, but the Rockies are 1-5 over his last six games, in large part because the Rockies have scored a combined 15 runs for him during that stretch. Senzatela, who’s using a wider array of pitches this season, is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts at Coors Field. Senzatela’s first start of the season came at Oakland when he allowed two runs on six hits over five innings in Colorado’s 8-3 win. Manaea’s 2020 has been a tale of two seasons. He’s is 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA and .204 batting average against over his last five starts after going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and .364 opponent average over his first four starts. He has not walked a batter in five of his eight starts. He’s coming off a strong performance in Oakland’s 3-1 win over the Astros last Thursday, allowing one run on two hits over seven frames. In his only appearance at Coors Field, on July 27, 2018, he took the loss, giving up three runs on nine hits over five innings.
Trending: Shortstop Trevor Story leads the National League with 14 stolen bases and he’s swiped 13 consecutive bases since his lone caught-stealing July 26.
At issue: Veteran first baseman Daniel Murphy is batting .162 (12-for-74) with one double and four RBIs in 24 games since Aug. 9. He’s hitting 2-for-32 (.063) in 12 road games that span.
- Wednesday: Athletics RHP Mike Fiers (5-2, 5.06) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (2-5, 4.35), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
- Thursday: Dodgers LHP Julio Urias (3-0, 3.53) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.54), 6:40 p.m.
- Friday: Dodgers TBD at Rockies RHP Ryan Castellani (1-2, 4.46), 6:40 p.m.