The Colorado Rockies have been playing much better baseball to start the second half of the season in the face of negative momentum and even more injuries. Against those circumstances, the Rockies are in the midst of a three-game winning streak, but why? Pitching. Rockies pitchers are starting to figure things out at the Major League Level.
While the pitching staff still has the worst mark for runs allowed in the Majors, it is getting better. The team was allowing 5.29 runs per game in the first half, due mostly to the shear amount of injuries. With those same injuries, and even some new ones, inexperienced guys like Yohan Flande and Tyler Matzek had to come up to the Bigs and fill in, perhaps before they were ready.
All the new guys struggled a bit, but things are beginning to go their way. Matzek won his first start in a Rockies uniform, but struggled in his next two, looking like a guy unprepared for the situation. His last six starts have been a different story altogether, however. Over those games he's gone over six innings in each with 26 strikeouts to 11 walks, all the while posting a 3.86 ERA. Unfortunately for Matzek and the Rockies, the team's record in those last six hasn't been good, but if he keeps pitching like this, things should look up in his next six.
Flande doesn't have the numbers that Matzek has, but he did look good in his last start against the Washington Nationals. He gave up only two runs in five innings, but he was left in the game a little too long and was ticketed with two more earned runs for his effort. Flande goes again tomorrow, taking on the Chicago Cubs as the Rockies will hope to be still on the winning side. We'll see if he can carry forward the momentum he garnered with his last start.
Even the bullpen has played better as of late, and if you follow the Rockies, you know how woeful they have been. Now, they have allowed four runs during the short winning streak, but they have all been scored in the ninth inning of games with big Rockies leads. They do pass the eye test, though, and will hopefully continue.
If the Rockies have any hope of continuing to win games, the pitching will have to continue to produce. And with one more with the Pirates, than a trip to Chicago to take on the Cubs, it just might.
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- Colorado Rockies First Half Report Card
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