Image By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Colorado Rockies) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Our boys of summer are back at it! The 2017 Colorado Rockies are looking pretty good with a lot of upside this year. And, while in years past, the Rockies were a little tough to tolerate, it is still hard to beat watching a ballgame at 20th and Blake. However, as your Denver cardiologists, we think this team will not put you into afib or break your heart. But, we are always optimists when it comes to our boys in purple pinstripes, but we wanted to weigh in on where the Rockies will finish this season.
Last year, the Rockies had a prolific offense, which is not unusual. Nolan Arenado hit over 40 home runs and had a .294 batting average. Second baseman, DJ LeMahieu, was the National League batting champion with a .348 average. Carlos Gonzales hit 25 dingers and posted a .298 average. And, in a shortened season, Trevor Story made us Rockies fans forget Tulowitzski as he hit 27 home runs in only 97 games.
But, while the Rockies had little trouble at the plate, it was the pitching that was the problem. Specifically, the bullpen. The Rockies bullpen had the highest ERA in baseball and had the 4th highest blown saves.
Heading into 2017, the bullpen was an area of focus and the Rockies made some pretty good moves. Specifically, they added Greg Holland who has 152 career saves. Already, this year, he has seven saves! And, with guys like Adam Ottavino and Jake McGee there to pitch the seventh and eighth innings, the Rockies look solid if the starting pitching can get the team through six innings.
As of now, the Rockies are a solid 9-5, coming off of winning 3 out of 4 in San Francisco. The wins in San Francisco were thanks, largely to great pitching and timely defense. With Tyler Chatwood taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Giants, we anticipate a big year from him, assuming he can straighten out his record at Coors Field. LeMahieu and Arenado continue to show why they are gold glovers at their positions. But, the Rockies will only get better.
The fact is, the Rockies left spring training with several key injuries, including slugging first baseman (and key off season acquisition) Ian Desmond. He should return to the club in May, but for the time being Mark Reynolds has been filling in very well. And, Jon Gray, while pitching well this season with a win over the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, was put on the disabled list with a stress fracture. He should be re-evaluated in a few weeks and hopefully he returns as strong.
Lastly, even with the great record and standing at the top of the NL West standings, the offense for the Rockies has not really locked in. Arenado is leading the club with four home runs and hitting over .300. And, recently, LeMahieu has started to hit after struggling the first part of April at the plate. To date, the offense has largely been driven by contributions and key hits from guys like Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds.
But, we have several guys still not hitting to their potential, including Gonzales and Story. But, we know it is only a matter of time before they get it going. Gonzales is showing signs of pulling out of his slump after the weekend series in San Francisco. Story finally notched a homer and his swing is coming around. With those guys getting it going and Charlie Blackmon anchoring the leadoff spot, we fear for the rest of the NL West.
The Rockies are the sleeper team in baseball. While it is easy for the “experts” to pick the Dodgers or the Giants to win the NL West, we do think our Rockies will make a playoff run this year. At the very least, they should compete for a Wild Card berth. Most in baseball agree the moves in the bullpen have solidified a glaring weakness from last year, and we agree. Plus, with the team looking to get healthy in May (and hopefully Jon Gray comes back shortly thereafter), Rockies fans will have actual baseball to cheer about at Coors Field versus just spending a sunny day at the ballpark.
How to Use This Information
Regardless of the Rockies season, we do hope you take some time this year to get out and see a game or two. It is always a pleasure watching a game at Coors Field and a great way to relax an afternoon away. And, when it comes to heart health, relaxing a bit can be good and help reduce stress. Another way to reduce stress is knowing your calcium heart score. Call us at 303-744-1065 for more information on how you can learn your heart score.