Colorado Rockies off to Strong Start
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The revamped bullpen of the Colorado Rockies and the hot start of the bottom of the order has propelled them to a 7-4 record, earning them the 8th spot on ESPN’s MLB power rankings.
The Rockies weakest point last year, their bullpen, could be their best asset this year. Colorado is usually driven by offensive power but the additions of Mike Dunn and Greg Holland have made their staff elite. In Dunn and Holland’s 8 innings of work they have only surrendered one hit. Add them to a healthy Adam Ottavino and a revamped Jake McGee and the Rockies bullpen can give them a shot to compete for their first NL West Title.
Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds are driving Colorado’s offense. Combined, the two are hitting .392 with 4 homers and 14 RBI. However, the two are only starting because of injuries and it will be interesting to see how manager Bud Black sets the lineup when David Dahl and Ian Desmond return from the DL. The surprising play of the two veterans makes up for the absence of production from the top of the order. Batting champ, DJ LeMahieu is hitting a dismal .160 and Carlos Gonzalez only has 1 RBI. But Rockies fans have nothing to worry about. The first five hitters in the order will break out of their slumps, return to their all-star form and propel their dangerous offense.
There are a lot of things to be optimistic about this year’s Rockies squad, but the one thing that isn’t exciting is how good the rest of their division is. The Dodgers are a popular pick to win the World Series, the Giants are always playoff/championship contenders, and the Diamondbacks are a common underdog pick to make the playoffs. For the Rockies to come out of the league they will need to play extremely well inside their division and take care of business against the lackluster Padres.
The hot start is in large part because of the starting rotation. The young starters for the Rockies, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela both won in their first starts with great outings. Jon Gray has shown flashes of greatness so far including the first 4 innings on opening day in Milwaukee and his start against the Dodgers. Tyler Anderson struggled against the Dodgers but pitched well against the Brewers in the second game of the year. If the rotation can stay healthy and get their ace from last season Chad Bettis back later in the season it won’t have to be dominant because of the much improved bullpen. The Rockies have enough quality pitching to be a playoff team, especially if Chad Bettis comes back healthy and pitches the way he did last season.