Colorado Rockies' Pitching As Important As Offense In Early Success

By Jim Heath
Franklin Morales Rockies
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When you think Colorado Rockies, you traditionally think offense. That only makes sense; the Rockies play their home games at an elevation that is a mile high in a ballpark know for its hitter-friendliness.

This season is no exception to that rule. To date, the Rockies lead not only the NL, but also all of baseball in team BA, runs, hits, RBIs and slugging percentage. Yes, they are simply all that and a bag of chips. What one rarely thinks of when it comes to the Rockies is pitching. In all honesty, the Rockies generally struggle, usually boasting a rather lofty team ERA by the close of each season. ‘

However, the team is bucking that historical trend this year. You see, pitching has not only been solid in 2014 — it is in some cases the reason behind Rockies victories.

Take the current home series vs. the NL West rival San Francisco Giants. Both games were pegged by most as a probable hit parade, especially since the Giants would be facing the struggling Jorge De La Rosa and the not-always-dependable Franklin Morales. To compound this was the brutal right-handed lineup the Giants would stack against both Rockies’ left-handed hurlers.

There would be a hit parade in one game for one team, but the Giants certainly weren’t that team. In fact, thus far the Giants have scored just one and two runs respectively vs. Colorado in two games at Coors Field. In game one, De La Rosa threw five innings, giving up one earned run on five hits with five strikeouts. On Tuesday, Morales held the Giants bats at bay, throwing seven innings and surrendering just one run on five hits and seven Ks.

Not only was the starting pitching solid, the bullpen held its own as well. Adam Ottavino threw 1.1 innings through both nights, giving up just two hits and no runs. LaTroy Hawkins took the mound at the top of the ninth on Tuesday to secure his sixth save in as many efforts. Arguably the most impressive hurler out of the Rockies’ pen had to be Tommy Kahnle. In just two innings of work, Kahnle allowed no hits, no runs and fanned five Giants.

This wasn’t simply a two-day trend for the Rockies. In their last seven victories, the Rockies have surrendered a total of just eight runs. Indeed, the offense is a large reason for the Rockies’ early success in 2014. But don’t discount the Colorado hurlers — they are certainly a contributing factor.

Jim Heath is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath or add him to your network on Google

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