The Colorado Rockies are dead last in the NL West. They have a winning percentage of just .430, they’re on a two-game losing streak, and they are 13 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When you look at their hitting, though, it doesn’t seem like things should be nearly this bad. They’re second in slugging percentage, at .434. They’re third in batting average, at .272. They’re scoring runs (9th) and getting on base (8th).
And yet they’re losing. More than any other team in the NL West and more than most teams in the entire league. And this just goes to show that the only thing that matters in modern baseball is pitching.
Hitting is fun and exciting. Home runs make great highlights for the fans. But they don’t win games.
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The Colorado Rockies rank very near the bottom in most pitching categories. They’re 30th in Earned Run Average, 30th in Quality Starts, 29th in BAA and 29th in WHIP.
Hit all the runs you want, but you can’t win if you can’t pitch. Just look at Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers. The Rockies drove in eight runs and still the game was tied in the 9th. Then Elvis Andrus connected with a single, pushed two runs in, and got the Rangers a 10-8 win.
Most teams with even moderate pitching would win if they put up eight runs. Those are the types of games you have to take. You can’t ask your batters to do more than that.
But the Rockies fell short, because eight runs isn’t enough if you’re going to give up 10.
It’s simple, but it really underscores the need for balance, which they have to address going forward. Getting guys on base is great, driving runs in is excellent, but they’d be better off with fewer runs if it meant a higher quality of pitching.
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Without changing that, it’s going to be hard to claw their way out of last place.
If the Rockies don’t make some moves going forward, they can at least look to address things in next year’s draft. They just got more picks through the competitive balance lottery. It gives them some ammunition to build things up and turn the ship around.
Still, baseball isn’t like football or basketball, where that first-round pick makes a huge difference right away. It’s far more like hockey, where guys work their way up through the system. The long-term implications of the draft are huge, but more immediate steps need to be taken if they want to fix things this season—or at least by next year.