Taking a closer look at Rockies’ success-laden homestand

Sep 16, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) celebrates after defeating the New York Mets at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Too often this year, the Colorado Rockies and success haven’t been synonymous.

Grueling stretches of losses have sunk the team. Season-ending injuries have thrown salt in the wound. For the first time in multiple weeks, the club finally found consistent triumph.

Against the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets and San Diego Padres, the Rockies went 6-3 on their latest homestand. In that span, they scored 52 runs and allowed an identical mark.

The real story was the low-scoring affairs with the Cardinals. In back-to-back games to open the three-game set, the Rockies won 2-1. It was the first time this year that the club has scored two-or-fewer runs in consecutive contests without losing at least one.

Tim Melville and Antonio Senzatela – two of the unlikely standouts from the stand – combined for 12 innings and allowed two earned runs. More importantly, the pair only walked two batters.

The two outings were part of a 5.24 earned run average over the nine-game stretch for the Rockies’ starters. As a team, they posted a 5.67 ERA across the 81 innings, a shade above their season mark of 5.62 – the highest allowance in the National League.

Even when their starters failed, the Rockies didn’t fall apart. Comebacks were common in the three series. In four of the six wins, they failed to score first.

Leading the charge on offense was the dynamic duo of Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado. The two hit three home runs apiece and drove in 16 combined runs.

The power surge from Arenado brought his season-long homer mark to 40 – only two shy of tying his career-high set in 2015. He’s also on pace to tally 130-plus RBIs for the fourth time in the last five years.

In the last two months, Arenado has reversed course. In both June and July, he failed to eclipse the .300-average mark. Since then, he’s hit .340. The power numbers have also seen a spike as his 18 home runs since the beginning of August are more than he’d had the previous three months combined (16).

For Story, the efforts resulted in another boost to his hardware resume. Despite being a near-lock for the Silver Slugger, the shortstop has been deadset on finally taking home a Gold Glove this year. In the final game against the Mets, he orchestrated a single-game highlight reel for the ages:

Soon after, he flashed the leather once again:

The defensive prowess for Story has become commonplace throughout his career. He’s second in the NL in dWAR (2.4) and first in range factor (4.27). His lone competition – Nick Ahmed – recently suffered a finger injury, possibly opening the window for Story to cement his first-place spot in the race.

On top of the veterans, the Rockies also received breakouts from multiple youngsters. Garrett Hampson led the charge with a .444 average in eight games.

Josh Fuentes was able to tally his first home run, while Sam Hilliard racked up his first multi-homer game against the Mets. Since May 14, Noah Syndergaard hadn’t allowed a single long ball on the road. The rookie made sure to end the streak:

The 447-foot homer and subsequent opposite-field jack later in the game were the third and fourth for Hilliard in only 45 at-bats to begin his career in the majors.

As a whole, the offense hit 17 home runs en route to a .526 slugging percentage. Their .362 on-base percentage was also a marked improvement over their season mark of .327.

One of the lone Rockies that failed to find success was Ryan McMahon. In eight games, the infielder hit a mere .143. Bud Black summed the struggles up to late-season fatigue – a leading reason for multiple days off for the third-year standout.

The Rockies will head out for their final road trip of the year after the triumphant homestand. Their postseason hopes have been dashed for multiple weeks, but the club is still finding a way to create bright spots in an otherwise gloomy season.

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