June has arrived and the Colorado Rockies remain on pace for their best season in franchise history. Despite losing three games in a row to close out the month, May was still a major success.

Colorado finished the month with a .600 overall winning percentage, good for second place in the NL West, a half-game behind the Dodgers and tied with the Diamondbacks.

Heading in, May looked to be a tough one for Colorado. The scheduled featured a stretch of 14 consecutive games, followed by a season-long, 10-game road trip. The Rockies lucked out a little with some weather, giving them a couple of bonus off days during that stretch, but the result in those off days was a pair of double-headers during the month.

The month of May has not been good for the Rockies, historically. Now in their 25th season, the Rockies have posted a winning record just six times – the latest being here in 2017. In fact, Colorado’s 17-12 record (.586 winning percentage) in May this year ranks third in team history.

Colorado used a mix of strong starting pitching, outstanding fielding, timely hitting and solid performances from key figures in the bullpen to make themselves the buzz of the town through May. But they also showed a few signs for concern as the season rolls on. Here’s a quick look at what the Rockies did exceptionally well as a team during May, and where they need to shore things up if they want to stay in the race for the NL West through June and beyond.

Team Batting

As a club, Colorado hit an NL-best .278 in the month of May. They scored 157 runs, just two behind Los Angeles. They were buoyed by monster months from Charlie Blackmon (.359 average, 22 RBIs) and Mark Reynolds (.319, 21), while key offensive weapons are still trying to find their form.

Nolan Arenado hit only .264 for the month, but he did drive in 18 runs. Carlos Gonzalez (.255, 11) started to turn things around after one of the slowest starts to his career. Trevor Story missed much of the month due to injury and has struggled overall, but his replacements played well in his stead.

Pat Valaika hit only .200 in May, but he did drive in nine runs. Combine that with Alexi Amarista‘s .340 average and nine RBIs and it was a productive month from the duo filling in for Story.

DJ LeMahieu hit .296 in May, and appears to be heating up. Ian Desmond started to come around, as well, hitting .278 with 10 RBIs for the month.

If sluggers like Gonzalez and Arenado can shoulder a heavier load in June, Colorado should be in great shape.

Strikeouts / Walks

Perhaps the biggest area of improvement for the Rockies in June and beyond is their strikeout to walk ratio. Colorado hitters struck out a total of 239 times in the month of May, good for fifth in the National League. They took a league-low 73 walks, however. In fact, they tied Baltimore for the fewest walks in baseball in May, more than 20 below the major league average.

Despite playing in only 41 games this season, Trevor Story leads the team in strikeouts with 54. Mark Reynolds (47) and Charlie Blackmon (46) rank second and third, compiling 24 and 25 respectively over the month of May. Together they took only 16 walks, 12 coming from Reynolds.

Reynolds actually leads the club in walks, followed by Story and DJ LeMahieu tied for second. The Rockies have been solid this year at driving in runners – they averaged 6.0 runners left on base in May – so getting more men on the bases will be key to keeping up the run totals in June.


The Rockies tied with San Francisco and St. Louis for the most saves in May with nine. Closer Greg Holland continued his dominance, converting all eight opportunities to extend his MLB lead to 19. He allowed just one run on three hits in the month, striking out 17 and walking just one.

Holland earned a couple of “gimme” saves, coming into two games against the Twins in which he needed to earn only one out to pick up a save. That’s a good and a bad thing for Rockies manager Bud Black.

On one hand, he has a reliable closer that he can call on in any situation. On the other, it shows that some other members of the bullpen aren’t fully doing their jobs. In both those instances, Holland came in with a three-run cushion and runners on base after the pitcher originally tabbed to finish off the game couldn’t get it done.

Colorado has been very good in close games thanks to Holland and the bullpen. They’re 9-2 on the season in one-run games, but just 1-2 in May.

Starters’ Innings

One of the biggest keys to Colorado’s success in May was the starting pitchers working deeper into games. The 1-2 record reference above is actually identical to the win/loss record for Rockies relievers in May. That means the starters accounted for a 16-10 record over the past month.

Colorado’s starters logged 170.2 innings in May, nearly a 19 percent increase on their innings total for April. That helped ease the burden on the bullpen, especially Holland, who is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery.

Of the Rockies’ five starters, only Tyler Anderson did not reach the 30-inning mark in May. (He came up just one out short at 29.2 IP.) Rookie Antonio Senzatela led the way with 35 innings pitched and a 4-1 record. Tyler Chatwood was hot and cold in May, going 2-4 while giving Colorado 33 innings. German Marquez was lights out, going 4-1 over 30.2 innings and Kyle Freeland was 2-2 adding 30. Another rookie, Jeff Hoffman, chipped in a pair of wins with 12.1 innings in two starts.

The staff scuffled down the stretch, but May was largely a success for the starters. The lessened work load on the ‘pen translated to a better ERA for the relievers. If they can get back on track after a tough last few days, it bodes very well for their chances over the next month.


Colorado is the top fielding team in the National League, with a .989 fielding percentage. In the month of May the Rockies allowed only five unearned runs. They were 2-2 in games in which they allowed an unearned run.

Rockies historians will remember that the 2007 Rockies team was the best fielding team in the history of baseball. This current bunch has the potential to be every bit as good, and they’ll need to be to keep in the race.