Baseball is a game of attrition. With six months and 162 games, it’s a grind. Often times, true talent wins out. This is why the Dodgers have been successful the past four seasons — their talent has been unmatched in the National League West.
This year, though, the Rockies (and Diamondbacks, but I’m focusing on Colorado for now) started off hot and have yet to cool off. Their longest losing streak is three games, which they’ve achieved three times. Other than that, they’ve been consistently good the entire season.
Ken Rosenthal tweeted a tremendous stat on Wednesday.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 22, 2017
That’s unheard of. Rookies provide energy, a spark, etc. Sometimes a rookie comes in and helps to carry a team (Dodger examples include Yasiel Puig, 2013; Corey Seager, 2016; Cody Bellinger this year), but rarely do rookies comprise that much of a team and lead to that much winning. And it’s even rarer that it comes from the starting rotation.
Since that tweet, the Rockies have lost two games started by rookies — Jeff Hoffman on Wednesday, Antonio Senzatela yesterday — so that winning percentage has dipped a little. Still, the Rockies’ rotation has been comprised of mostly rookie pitchers. Of their 75 games, 46 have been started by rookie pitchers (61.3 percent). The other rookies to draw starts are Kyle Freeland and German Marquez, both of whom have sub-4 ERAs and are slated to start this weekend (Freeland tonight).
But if you look at the rookie starters a little more in depth, it turns out they haven’t actually pitched that well.
First, Hoffamn is clearly the best of these rookies. It must be noted that he hasn’t been exposed as much as the others (just 34 1/3 inning so far), and he has also been extremely lucky with his fly balls so far. Also, these guys don’t strike out a lot of hitters, nor do they miss many bats as a whole. And, they haven’t gotten unlucky with balls in play (and some have even outpitched their peripherals so far), so there appears to be regression incoming at some point.
They have been without their ace Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson is struggling and Tyler Chatwood has been decidedly mediocre. Unless these guys can continue to defy the numbers, the Rockies’ rotation should be coming back to earth soon.
The Colorado bullpen has been strong, and that has been a key to their success. Their four-most used relievers all have FIPs between 2.52 and 3.50. That’s pretty good. Greg Holland has been a great signing so far, while Jake McGee is pitching like his old self. But, unless you’re the 2015 Royals, a bullpen can’t carry a pitching staff for the majority of the season.
Oh, right, this is a Dodgers’ blog. Well, they’re playing extremely well. And if you think Dave Roberts and Co., don’t think this is a gigantic series, he intentionally flipped Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood so the Dodgers would have their three-best starters for this series. This is the first of 10 remaining games with the Rox (and only three left in that godforsaken place known as Coors). The Dodgers are one of the hottest teams in baseball and the offense is rolling. This is the time to put some distance between themselves and the competition in the NL West. This is the biggest series of the season to date for both teams. The Rockies will hang around for a good part of the season because they have a potent offense, but the Dodgers should probably be more concerned with Arizona’s staying power.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 14, 2017
Fox Sports, home of the #HotTakes. Since that article, the Dodgers have scored 68 runs in 77 innings and just finished hitting 15 home runs against the Mets in a 4-game series. In this time, the Dodgers, as a team, own a .284/.384/.587 with a 154 wRC+ and a .303 ISO. That’s not sustainable, but this offense is rolling in a way that I can’t recall (not even the fabled 2013 team that had a ridiculous 42-8 stretch).
Baseball is fun. This series should be fun. It looks like it could end up being ugly for Colorado, but if you invoke #Baseball, then you realize anything can happen.
Enjoy the weekend.