The Colorado Rockies entered their season-long 10-game homestand with a 22-26 record, sitting at fourth place in the National League West.
There is no denying the Rockies underwhelming start to this season, but the homestand represented a perfect opportunity for the club to reverse their fortunes and get back on track with series versus the Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays.
“We need to take it upon ourselves to take a look in the mirror and make a change,” Rockies’ Nolan Arenado said ahead of the Rockies series finale versus the Orioles. “Right now, we are not playing to great.”
Arenado’s words echoed around the Rockies’ clubhouse, and the team has since managed to win five consecutive games to post a cumulative record of a 6-1 thus far on the homestand.
“It’s very important to keep the momentum that we have,” Manager Bud Black said. “I like the way we are swinging the bats and some of the efforts on the mound. We need to be more consistent on the mound. That’s going to be critical as important as us winning.”
The Rockies were able to crawl back to .500 on the season with a 5-4 victory versus the Diamondbacks Wednesday.
Getting back to .500 was the first step in the Rockies climb back to postseason contention.
“In order to make the playoffs, you can’t be hot the whole year,” Chris Iannetta said. “There are too many games. You just have to play .500 ball, get hot in a couple of short spurts, win five games at a time, three or four times, get 15-20 games up and usually, that’s enough wins to get you in the playoffs.”
The Rockies managed to post their first winning record since the beginning of the season with a walk-off victory versus the Diamondbacks Thursday afternoon.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 30, 2019
The Rockies have now earned walk-off victories four times in their last seven games which is a franchise record.
After a sluggish start to the season, Colorado has appeared to get over the hump and have started to play consistent, sound baseball.
“We are a really good team,” Iannetta said. “Our record has not shown it, but if you look at the collection of guys, it’s a really talented group of offense, defense, and pitching. It just has not shown up all at once.”
The starting rotation was the Rockies’ strong suit last year, posting the second-lowest earned run average in franchise history. Unfortunately, the rotation has regressed this season with Tyler Anderson likely out for the season after undergoing left knee surgery, Chad Bettis being demoted to the bullpen and Freeland’s inflated 7.13 earned run average.
With the exception of Freeland, the Rockies have received quality starts from each member of their rotation on the homestand. For the first time this season, the rotation looked relatively competent which in turn has led to better overall team success.
The offense has also turned things up a notch, averaging 6.9 runs per game so far this homestand. The Rockies have received contributions for just about everybody in the lineup from heavyweights Arenado and Trevor Story to role players Tony Wolters and Raimel Tapia.
Even Ian Desmond has helped the Rockies tremendously recently. The veteran is hitting .389 with three doubles in his last six games.
Rockies’ hitters have done a better job of being patient at the plate, generating 88 walks in May which is within the top-10 in the National League.
“We have done a better job as a group of selectivity (at the plate),” Black said.
The Rockies are finally putting things together all at once this season and are starting to resemble a team that could do some damage in the standings moving forward this year.
“In most wins, there is a combination of timely hitting, good pitching, good defense and we have done that,” Black said. “We have to continue. There is a long haul left, we still have 100-plus games, but I feel this group of players is very capable of playing consistent baseball, but it starts with the starting pitching.”
Following back-to-back series victories versus Baltimore and Arizona, the Rockies are 28-27 this season with the rebuilding Blue Jays coming to town for a three-game set beginning Friday. The Rockies are currently in third place in the NL West and are 1.5 games back of a Wild Card spot.