This column was updated on October 3, 2014 with corrected statistical information regarding the Rockies’ runs scored.
Ah, the first week of October: the leaves are changing and starting to cover the ground, the air is a bit more crisp and the wind starts to nip at you, and the Colorado Rockies are yet again absent from the MLB postseason after another woeful season.
With a 66-96 record in the regular season, the Rockies were only two losses away from tying their 2012 season with 98 losses. In 22 seasons, they have only finished at or above .500 seven times. And yet, somehow, the team has been home to nine National League batting champions. First baseman Justin Morneau took home the title this year, and he has a lot of time to relish in it.
It’s pretty obvious that defense is where the Rockies struggle the most. With the highest team ERA in the MLB (4.84), it is easy to dog on the Rockies’ pitching staff. Only two Colorado pitchers recorded more than 100 strikeouts this season and the team as a whole sits at the very bottom of the National League in total strikeouts this season at 1,074, which is 299 behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s nearly 100 innings’ worth of outs. A measly 24 saves is all that the Rockies closers could muster the entire 162 game regular season. A defense that allowed 818 runs, the most in the league this season, sits behind the Rockies’ lousy bullpen. Behind home plate is a meek catching core that only gunned down 16 runners stealing bases, another league low.
It’s pretty easy to muster up stats like these to exhibit the Rockies weak defense. But the offense is still deserving of some blame. As most people who like baseball and cheap tacos are aware of, if the Rockies score seven or more runs in a game, Taco Bell offers promotional deals the next day for tacos. Unfortunately for Colorado taco lovers, the Rockies gave us one of the least amount of taco deals ever in the history of the franchise or promotion. They scored seven or more runs in only 44 out of their 162 games this season. Despite the fact that the Rockies ranked second in the league in total hits at 1551, they only scored their fans cheap tacos after a little more than one-fifth of their games.
Not only is this bad from the taco lover’s standpoint, but it also highlights a major problem pertaining to team chemistry. The team can hit, there is no doubt about that. But they can’t rally off of each other’s momentum and energy. There is obviously not much to excite the Rockies from a defensive standpoint, so when it comes to the sticks, the team needs to build off of their ability to hit the ball and even carry that energy over to the defensive side.
In baseball, it doesn’t get much more exciting than a home run, and the Rockies hit the second most home runs in the league this year. Colorado needs some leaders and competitors to step up or come in this offseason and channel the energy that the team is capable of creating. So, Rockies fans, this fall and winter cross your fingers for a pitcher to come through Colorado who is ready to embrace the thin air and an offense who can bring a prosperous year of cheap tacos to Rockies fans from the Western slope all the way up to Fort Collins. In the meantime, enjoy a Pumpkin Spice latte and watch the Broncos.
Thanks for keepin’ track with Zac.
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Zac Koch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @zactkoch