The Rockies made the most of the longest homestand of the season winning nine of ten games, including back to back series sweeps of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Toronto Blue Jays. It was a thrilling show for the home fans, who were shown that there is lightning and thunder throughout the lineup as the Rockies scored 48 runs in the last seven games. It confirmed that this team, despite its ragged start, was serious about being in the hunt for a playoff berth. Since April 14, the Rockies record is 28 wins and 14 losses – a run that has lifted them from 4 games under .500 at the beginning of this homestand to 4 games over .500 which propelled them from fourth to second place in the Western Division.
The balanced production of the Rockies offense has been an essential part of this surge of wins. Leading off, Raimel Tapia has provided a flash of power filling in for the injured Charlie Blackmon. He’s produced 21 RBI with 22 extra base hits. Next in the lineup is Trevor Story, who is headed for another All-Star berth with a record of 42 RBI, including 15 home runs and a total of 29 extra base hits. David Dahl has been consistent batting third. He’s batting .331 and went 12 for 20 in the last five games of this homestand. The big thunder in the lineup comes from Nolan Arenado in the cleanup spot. He currently has accounted for 52 RBI, which includes 16 homeruns and a total of 34 extra base hits. Much to the chagrin of opposing pitchers, the beat goes on as the lineup progresses. Veteran first baseman Daniel Murphy’s bat provides a serious reason to not intentionally walk Arenado. As Murphy’s injured finger has slowly healed, his production has steadily improved. The next three batters in the lineup will vary but include Ian Desmond (22 RBI), Ryan McMahon (21 RBI) and the killer catching combo of Tony Wolters and Chris Ianetta who together have added some extra punch, adding a total of 29 RBI. You can see why, for opposing managers, this is the lineup from hell, but for manager Bud Black and the excited Rockies fans, it’s a long-awaited heaven-sent gift.
Another key ingredient in this last series of wins was the performance of the Rockies starting rotation. The leader of this gang in 2018 was Kyle Freeland. His control problems are serious enough that he has been sent down to Albuquerque much like Jon Gray was last season. The number one man in the rotation has now become German Marquez, who had a quality 7 inning start allowing only 2 runs in Friday night’s 13-6 win over the Blue Jays. Saturday night, Jon Gray shut out the Blue Jays in a solid 6.2 inning appearance allowing only 2 hits in what would be a 4-2 win. Then Antonio Senzatela anchored the 5-1 win, allowing only 1 run in 6 innings of work. The challenge now becomes one of finding consistent performers to fill the other two spots in the rotation.
This week the Rockies hit the road again for a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, followed by a weekend matchup with the New York Mets at City Field.
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