By Daniel Paiz
Denver— First inning mishaps. Solid starting pitching. 1-2-3 9th innings, or blown saves that lead to 6 runs in the top of the 10th.
The starting pitchers, the relievers, and Wade Davis all are under the microscope for the rest of the season. Ideally they deliver the Rockies to the postseason as opposed to dooming them to a long offseason.
How the pitching can deliver the Rockies
German Marquez, Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Kyle Freeland, and a rotating door in the fifth spot of Chad Bettis and Antonio Senzatela are the starters who decide how much run support is needed. The good news is:
- No starting pitcher has an ERA (Earned Run Average) above .542 (Chad Bettis has the highest ERA of the bunch, but he also hasn’t been in the rotation lately)
- All of the above pitchers have .500 records or better (the only pitcher without a winning record is Tyler Anderson, who is 6-6)
- Nobody has averaged more than a run an inning throughout the season (Jon Gray is the worst, with about 0.55 runs an inning)
- The bullpen has come in to offset the starting pitching at times (Read: Ottavino, Oh, and despite the coming criticism, Wade Davis has 35 saves after all
The relief pitching has been a roller coaster of emotions, of course. Adam Ottavino has been solid with a 1.59 ERA over 62.1 innings pitched. Seunghwan Oh also has a 1.59 ERA over 11.1 innings, so ideally if he keeps that up…then he can fill in Ottavino’s spot.
And, wait for it…Ottavino can take Wade Davis’ spot as the Rockies closer, especially going into September for this final playoff push.
How pitching will DOOM the Rockies’ playoff chances
Two words that most of you will guess before the end of the sentence can be attributed what will DOOM the Rockies: Wade Davis.
35 saves is certainly helpful and appreciated from your closer. But here’s the most recent example of the bullpen sabotaging a very close game.
July 24th, 2018—the 10th inning debacle against the current defending champs, the Houston Astros.
Trailing 2-0 as the game headed into the 7th inning, Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, and Gerardo Parra got the hitting going to tie things up at 2 and keep things knotted enough to go into extra innings.
Enter Wade Davis. Hit, after hit, after hit in the top of the 10th. The final score after the Rockies couldn’t rally in the bottom of the 10th?
This is one of several times Davis has blown things late. Manager Bud Black seems to have finally realized this, as other pitchers (like Chris Rusin today, 8/23 getting the win against the Padres) have been put in to step up.
Deliverance or Doom: which will it be?
If the starting pitchers can continue pitching late into the game, say the 7th inning or so (like Kyle Freeland did today, 8/23 against Padres), deliverance can be had.
Make Ottavino the closer. Oh, Rusin and others just need to set things up between the starter and Ottavino.
Doom will ensue if Davis keeps faltering, and the Rockies keep up their average of 7 runs allowed in the first inning.
Easier said than done, but it’s possible. Bud Black can lead the Rockies into the playoffs if the pitching is managed correctly.
Daniel Paiz writes about Hip-Hop, movies, politics, local issues in Colorado, and of course, sports. Check out more of his work across the site, as he writes a majority of the articles on Cypher Sessions.