Pictured above, Adam Ottavino has given up one hit and posted 14 strikeouts in 7 relief innings this season.
I know it’s early and that things will round into whatever form the Rockies will take this year but the revamped long-relief bullpen has not performed as-advertised.
The idea that starting pitching doesn’t want to come to Denver and Coors Field is nothing new. Reliving Mike Hampton and Bret Saberhagen scenarios can’t be too attractive for players or the organization. The Rockies have taken a smart step and stocked up on middle-relief pitchers. Taking quite a bit of burden off the starters, the strategy is sound. It does require the relievers to perform and so far, only Ottavino, Scott Oberg and Jake McGee have been that dominant factor.
Among the starters, Chad Bettis has had the most success, posting a 2.53 ERA over two starts. Ace John Gray has notched 17 strikeouts but has also given up 20 hits. His ERA ballooned to 5.63 on the heels of a 10-hit, seven-run onslaught over five innings against San Diego on Sunday.
The Rockies have been built to take pressure off starting pitching with several quality middle-relievers. For that strategy to pay off, the confidence and command of those middle guys has to improve.
It’s just over ten games into the season and there’s a lot going on in Denver with the Nuggets and Avalanche making playoff pushes. The Rockies are in that sweetheart zone where they aren’t getting much scrutiny.
Let’s hope they put it together before we all turn our attention to them for the summer.