As the postseason draws near the Colorado Rockiesare in the thick of a heated race. They are currently sitting a game and half ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers and three and a half clear of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies are hoping to claim their first-ever division title in franchise history. With a little over two weeks left in the regular season, Colorado will play 10 of its final 19 games at home. Quality pitching will be an important factor in potentially making the playoffs.
Since its first season in 1995, Coors Field has been known as a hitters paradise and a pitchers nightmare. At 5,280 feet above sea level, balls hit are likely to find more gaps and often times find their way over the fence. The high altitude makes life very difficult on pitchers. They see their ERA’s balloon with each home start.
However, the Rockies have three starter this year that have somewhat conquered the beast that is Coors Field. German Marquez, Jon Gray, and Kyle Freeland have seemingly found a way to excel at home. This trio has given manager Bud Black a three-headed monster at the top of the rotation. This is one of the main reasons the Rockies are leading the NL West.
The Rockies Three-Headed Monster
Few words can describe how impressively Freeland has pitched this season. The Denver native has been the ace of the rotation. At just 25-years old, he has worked his way into the 2018 NL Cy Young conversation. With a season ERA of 2.91 and a record of 14-7, Freeland has carried the Rockies this season. What is most impressive about Freeland has been his mastery of Coors Field. In 13 home starts, Freeland carries a 2.21 ERA and an 8.4 K/9. In his last nine starts, he has not allowed more than three earned runs and has only lost one game.
Where Gray and Marquez have struggled Freeland has found success. His first inning ERA is an acceptable 3.10. While his nerves have not been tested as often as Gray, Freeland seems to thrive off of the high energy environment. His last start in a pivotal game against the Dodgers Freeland pitched six innings, struck out eight and allowed only one run.
If there is a potential play-in game, Freeland should be handed the start. In a competitive NL CY-Young race, Freeland is likely to not be mentioned with DeGrom, Aaron Nola, or Max Scherzer but he should be. His season-long excellence paired with his Coors Field dominance deserves some recognition.
As the end of the regular season approaches the Rockies will lean on their three headed-monster to carry them to the playoffs. In a history in which Colorado pitchers have struggled at home, these three have found a way to consistently pitch well and give the Rockies opportunities to win games. Bud Black will likely continue to shuffle the rotation and start them as often as possible. If the Rockies three-headed monster can continue to excel, Colorado may find themselves in October making a run at the World Series.