Rocktober has come to an end. After defeating the Chicago Cubs in the NL Wild Card game the Colorado Rockies were handed a three-game sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. In a week where Colorado had the opportunity to win the NL West and host a divisional series, they now find themselves at home watching the rest of the playoffs. After finishing second in the NL in runs scored, the Rockies offense failed when it was needed most.
Over the course of the NLDS, Colorado scored only two runs against the Brewers. They also hit for a .186 average and struck out 35 times. Even with these awful offensive numbers Colorado still had a chance to win thanks to their pitching staff. Starters Antonio Senzatela, Tyler Anderson, and German Marquez combined to throw 16 innings and allow five runs. Anderson, in particular, was fantastic, pitching six innings giving up one run.
Power Outage: Rockies Offense Failed in NLDS
It’s no secret the Rockies offense was very top heavy this season. The big three of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon are the bats Colorado relied on the most. Bud Black hoped the big bats would get a lead, and his bullpen would protect it. Unfortunately, Black never had that option.
Over their four playoff games Arenado, Story, and Blackmon hit a combined .199 and drove in only three runs. Without any production from the top of the lineup, the Rockies struggled to put any men on base. If it wasn’t for a seeing-eye ground ball from Tony Wolters in the Wild Card game, Colorado may have missed out on the NLDS. Seems that a collective slump hit them all at the worst possible moment.
The Rockies brought in Ian Desmond in 2017 to be the production that was lacking in the middle of the lineup. However, the 70 million dollar man has failed to live up to the hype. Colorado must be wondering if he can turn it around or if it is time to search elsewhere. In the playoffs Desmond produced on two hits in 13 plate appearances. At 33 years old Desmond is looking like he may be a waste of money.
While the 2018 season ended in disappointment there remains much to be excited about going forward. Colorado seems to have finally found quality pitching talent. Kyle Freeland and German Marquez are looking like two mainstays in the rotation for years to come. Both are under contract for the next four years. Freeland is going to show up on Cy Young ballots after completing the best pitching season in Rockies history. Marquez broke the Rockies record for strikeouts in a season.
After breakout seasons at the plate, Trevor Story and David Dahl will return. Story made a late-season run at MVP, in helping Colorado’s Wild Card run. Story is also an excellent defender and just might receive a Gold Glove this season. Dahl showed his potential when healthy by hitting nine home runs in September.
Charlie Blackmon will surely improve after a down season.
With all the excitement comes uncertainty. Nolan Arenado will be entering the final year of his contract and if the Rockies are not able to sign him to an extension will be a very intriguing trade candidate for most teams in the league. Veteran DJ LeMahieu is likely gone as his contract is up and top prospect Brendan Rodgers looks ready to take over at second base. And after ten seasons with Colorado Carlos Gonzalez may be looking to join a different playoff contender.
Even though the 2018 season will go down as a success in the eyes of Rockies fans. The team won the second most games in club history and won a thrilling Wild Card game on the road against the Chicago Cubs. Much of the same team will return and should set their hopes at winning the division and making a run at the World Series. Top to bottom this is the most talented team the Rockies have ever had and if they are serious about winning a title improvements need to be made. An upgrade at catcher is needed and they will likely need to fill an outfield position and add a strong starting pitcher.