5 Ways For Colorado Rockies To Keep Up Their Early Success
The Colorado Rockies are off to their second-best start in franchise history. They sit at 10-4 and are in first place in the National League West.
Expectations were little to none for this team. Keith Law of ESPN.com predicted that the Rockies would win only 53 games. Several publications picked the Rockies to be the worst team in the National League and only the Houston Astros would keep them from being the worst in the whole league.
Through the first 14 games, the Rockies are looking like the old Blake Street Bombers teams of the 1990s. They mash the ball with no problem and get good enough starting pitching to win games.
If this success is to continue, the Rockies must play the same way they are playing now. While the start is surprising, there was never any doubt that the Rockies had talent. Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler are all hitting and showing they are superstars. Todd Helton has come around after a terrible start and catcher Wilin Rosario is showing he belongs in the big leagues.
The starting pitching has kept scores closer than expected and with the bats Colorado trots out there, they are never out of a game.
Is the good record a sign that this team is not as bad as thought, or is it just a hot start that will fade away? Only time will tell, but at the moment, the Rockies look pretty good.
5. Walt Weiss can't get nervous
The only time Walt Weiss has been a manager was at the high school level in Colorado. He was a special assistant in the Major Leagues and was also a longtime player, but never a manager.
Weiss has to keep his cool and not show that he is a rookie manager. The Rockies can not make mistakes that can cost them games. Weiss has to make the correct pitching changes and not overwork his bullpen.
4. Rafael Betancourt keeps shutting the door in the 9th
Closer Rafael Betancourt has been a rock in the bullpen. Even with the Rockies losing 98 games last year, he saved 31 games. He has converted all five of his save chances this season and also has a win on his record.
Betancout is a tough-minded veteran that adds leadership to the pitching staff. When save chances come up, he needs to convert.
3. Dominance at Coors Field
If the Rockies are to have any success, it has to start at home. Last year the Rockies struggled at home for the first time since Coors Field opened in 1995. Currently, the Rockies are undefeated at home and are starting to rev up some of that Mile High Magic once again.
2. Stars need to stay healthy
Troy Tulowitzki played in 47 games last season because of a groin injury. As Tulowitzki goes, so do the Rockies and to an extent, that applies to Carlos Gonzalez too. Gonzalez is a much better hitter with Tulowitzki behind him in the lineup. When the two of them are healthy, they provide the Rockies with one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball.
1. Good performances by starters
The starting pitching is the weak link of the Rockies but through 14 games, they have found a way to look better than they seemed.
Jyoulys Chacin has pitched like an ace. There were questions about him being the Opening Day starter, but he has proved his worth. He has two wins and a 1.96 ERA through his first three starts. The staff ranks eighth with eight quality starts as well. If the Rockies get anything from the starters, they could compete all season.