The 20% Mark: Starters

Because I tend to write waaaaay to long of posts, I am going to break the 20% season returns into a series of posts. Tonight is game 32, which is 20% of the games. At the 10% point I said this was a very average team…which it appeared to be, though they had played far more road than home games at that point. So, with tonight being the 20% point, here is one person’s review:

 

               Things You May Not Know About Your Colorado Rockies on May 3rd, 2014

The Rockies have played 31 Games so far, tonight will make the 20% mark in the season, so its time for another review on how this team is doing. And the best spot to look at with the Rockies is….pitching? No really!

Through 14 games at home the Rockies are having their best pitching season at Coors yet. They have a 3.87 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29.  That WHIP puts them at 15th in the major leagues – right at dead middle, though only 12th out of 15 in the NL.  That is where their ERA also sits…it sounds poor – down in the bottom 20%, but that is because offense is really down around the league. But since Coors is always Coors, I am going to choose to celebrate their performance. Their .252 BA allowed, granted for just 14 games, is incredible. They have given up 20 homers at home in just those 14 games, which is tied for last with the DBacks, but still, a great start to the home pitching performance.

Now what is really weird is that on the road, their ERA is 4.38 – despite pitching in Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and then just 3 at a hitters park in Arizona. Their ERA is really .5 better at Coors?  After giving up 10 (8ER) to the Phils, 15 (13ER) to the White Sox and 12 (12 ER) to the Giants. Weird…but it may be a sign that this team has the confident at home to challenge their opponents knowing that there offense will bail them out if things go bad.  Their WHIP on the road is almost identical  – 1.30, so somehow those same runners are not scoring at Coors but are scoring in traditionally pitching parks. Those three bad games of course have been off-set by 7 games of 2 runs or less allowed at home.

 

The starters have been particularly good so far. Starters ERA is 4.13, which is more impressive than it sounds when you consider 1) Chacin has thrown 0 innings 2) Jorge De La Rosa after three starts had an ERA of 9.69 – he is 3-1, 2.63 in past 4 starts 3) Brett Anderson who does have a 3.60 ERA has thrown only 15 innings 4) they have gotten 36.2 innings from a guy coming into this year with a career 5.25 ERA (thank you Jordan Lyles and your 2.70 ERA) 5) Franklin Morales who has never had more than 9 starts in his career has given the team 5 starts and a 4.40 ERA going into the game tonight, #32, 6) Tyler Chatwood, whose 3.15 ERA in 20 strarts last year (around minor leagues and late season elbow issues) has given them 24 innings of 4.50 ERA and finally 7) Juan Nicasio whose prior two years featured ERAs of 5.28 and 5.14 has given them 6 starts and 34.1 innings (almost 6IP/start) of 4.19 ERA.

Read all that together and you know what….aside from Jordan Lyles performance, which while far better than the two years in Houston is not unbelievable based on his prospect status coming-up, this team has not been pitching out-of-its-mind. It has been just good. Very solid. And it means that, assuming Coors doesn’t become hot and dry this summer (please, stay normal and no wild fires this year), that a decent/average amount of health from their starters and a return to norm for Chacin and DLR….this team could actually pitch even better! And we know they have some arms that – Tyler Matzek, Eddie Butler, Tyler Anderson and Daniel Winkler  – might be able to make solid contributions later this summer in ways like 2007 or like the Cardinals of the past few years.  And that is without expecting much from Anderson and Chatwood, who though badly injured right now are not lost for the season and could be back this summer to give the Rockies a quality veteran boost. Imagine getting the equivalent of a trading deadline arm without having to do anything.

Starters Grade Heading to Game  32 on May 3rd: Solid B+ (A- at Home). The grade might be stingy. After all the starters got through the 6th against SF, to the 6th against the Phils, and the White Sox game got out of hand when the relievers took over. But A- just because they are still capable of more. The Road would average at a B, based on the fact that if you can throw that well at home, you should be able to do it on the road as well.

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Articles like these put the consumer in the driver seat-very imtptoanr.