The Rockies had an up and down homestand last week, taking three games from the San Diego Padres and dropping two of three games to the St. Louis Cardinals in a wild weekend series that drew an impressive total of 132,598 avid fans. (Incidentally, with total attendance to date of 2.4 million the Rockies currently rank 7th in the major leagues.)
On the upside, the Rockies hitters have displayed some long-awaited late inning punch particularly in the eight-run eighth inning of their one win over the Cardinals Saturday night. A special highlight in that win was Matt Holliday’s seventh-inning solo homer – the first home run that Matt has hit at Coors Field as a Rockie in almost 10 years.
Nolan Arenado still leads the way for the steadily improving lineup. He’s hitting .311 with 31 home runs and 90 RBI. Close behind is the sizzling performance of Trevor Story who’s hitting .290 with 26 home runs and 85 RBI. He also leads the National League in extra- base hits. Adding some needed veteran zip to the offense are Ian Desmond and Carlos Gonzalez whose early season performance was harshly criticized by national analysts. Desmond has continued to contribute important hits in crucial situations. He now has 20 home runs and 74 RBI. Cargo is hitting a respectable .290 while pounding out game-changing hits.
The downside for the Rockies came as the result of flawed pitching performances that led to the two losses to the Cardinals. In Friday’s game, Antonio Senzatela gave up seven runs in 4.1 innings in what would be a 7-5 loss. The Rockies rebounded Saturday when German Marquez shut out the Cardinals for seven innings while the supercharged offense drove in eight runs with 10 hits including a club record five doubles in a 9-1 win. Then Sunday starter Tyler Anderson couldn’t even get out of the first inning allowing six runs before the Rockies ever came to bat. That one ended up being a discouraging 12-3 drubbing.
The message is clear. The Rockies have surged in the standings this season based on the consistent performance of their young starting rotation. In the past 20 games started by Jon Gray, Kyle Freeman and German Marquez the Rockies are 26-3. The discouraging losses have occurred when other starters or the bullpen have faltered.
The good news is that after you compute the pluses and minuses the Rockies have a solid record of 71 wins and 59 losses, just one game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. This week they’re in Anaheim for a short two-game series with the Angels then on to Petco Park in San Diego for a four-game weekend series with the Padres.
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