10 May 2006

DPD: Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Colorado Rockies' Pitching Staff??!!

It's not supposed to work this way.

There are supposed to be a few things you can count on in baseball:

1) Barry Bonds is a jerk. A jerk who hits homers, but still a jerk.

2) Philly Phans boo everything and everyone, which is one reason I don't like them.

3) The Colorado Rockies couldn't pitch mittens to Eskimos.

In their not-so-long history, the Colorado Rockies have had some trouble with their pitching, to say the least. For Rockies pitchers who qualified for an ERA title (162 innings, except in strike-shortened seasons) the lowest ERA on the staff in each given year has been at least 4.00 in 12 of the team's 13 seasons. The lone exception, Joe Kennedy in 2004, was a 3.66 mark compiled in only one out more than the 162-inning minimum.

The team as a whole has only once compiled an ERA lower than 5.00 for an entire season. In 1995 they managed to get it down to 4.97. Lest you should be deluded into thinking that was actually somehow "good" you should understand that the team finished last in the National League in team ERA every year from its birth in 1993 through 1997. In 1998, they finished second to last. There was, of course, a new expansion team in the NL that year, but the Diamondbacks did not take that dubious honor from Colorado's hands. Rather, it was the Marlins, who fielded a pitching staff comprised mostly of untested rookies one year after winning the World Series, who wrested the Last Place in Team ERA Title from the Rockies' normally capable grasp.

After that, the Rockies finished last in the NL in ERA every season except 2000 and 2005. In 2000, the Houston Astros played their first season in Enron ("Home Run") Field, and their inability to make adjustments from the Astrodome helped them to bring up the NL rear in that category. Similarly, in 2005, the Cincinnati Reds played their third season in Great American Ballpark, which suddenly played like a hitter's haven, after having seemed neutral or even pitcher-friendly in its first two years. That, and the 186 innings they gave to Eric Milton (during which he compiled a 6.47 ERA) helped the team to eek out a last place finish, with a 5.15 mark that narrowly worsted (worsted?) the Rockies' 5.13 team ERA.

As a result, and not a surprising one at that, the Rockies have had a hard time winning games. In its thirteen seasons, the team has had a winning record only four times, and three of those four times were just barely over .500. They won 82 games in 2000, and 83 games in 1996 nd 1997. Their only really "good" year was 1995, when they won 77 games during a strike-shortened schedule. In a normal year, that would have worked out to something like 86 ot 87 wins, not exactly dynasty territory.

But this year seems different.

Read the rest at Double Play Depth...

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