At the end of April, the Colorado Rockies find themselves with a 16-13 record and 1.5 games behind the first-place Giants in the NL West. Considering the fact that the team was 6-8 after the first 14 days, the Rockies have certainly been on a roll for the last half of the month.
The Rockies have won every series since splitting four games at San Diego April 14-17. Since then they have mowed down the Phillies, Giants, Dodgers and Diamondbacks in succession, taking two of three from each. The encouraging fact is that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks series were on the road.
As a team, the Rockies’ offense leads the league in Runs (157), Batting Average (.293) and Slugging Percentage (.480). They are third in On-Base Percentage at .343. As of May 1 they have eight players hitting over .300.
Pitching is never going to be a strong point for a team headquartered at Coors Field, but there have been some pleasant surprises. Jordan Lyles has seemingly come out of nowhere to lead the team in ERA (2.70) and wins (3). Injuries have played a key role in Colorado’s pitching woes, as three starters are currently doing time on the disabled list. Brett Anderson has the worst of it, sitting out 60 days due to a broken index finger. Tyler Chatwood experienced some tightness in his elbow in Arizona two days ago and the team is hoping he will be back in the middle of May. The biggest reason for optimism is the possible return in the next week of Jhoulys Chacin, who began the season on the DL because of a right shoulder strain. He is currently on rehab assignment in Triple-A.
Top Rockies Player for April
There is no doubt that Troy Tulowitzki gets the nod for April. A case could have been made for Charlie Blackmon after his hot start, but Tulowitzki’s numbers so far this year should merit consideration for Player of the Month for all of baseball. “Tulo” leads the team in home runs (7), Doubles (9), RBI (22) and On-Base Percentage (.477). He makes the SportsCenter top plays on a regular basis for his plays at shortstop. With more chances in the field than anyone on the Rockies, he has committed no errors with 42 put-outs and 96 assists.
Top Rockies Pitcher for April
A lot of credit for the Rockies’ sizzling final two weeks of the month has to go to Jorge De La Rosa. He has given up only five runs in his last three starts. Compare that to the 15 he gave up in his first three games and it is easy to peg De La Rosa as April’s top pitcher. He is 3-2 in April and has reduced his ERA from 10.38 to 5.23. Even more impressive is that he has given the Rockies an average of six innings over the last three games after going only four innings in his first three. With a thin bullpen it becomes imperative that Colorado’s starting crew remain on the mound for as many innings as possible.
A Look Ahead to May
The Rockies have a lot to look forward to, as they expect to get pitchers Chacin and Chatwood, and last year’s batting champ Michael Cuddyer back from the DL. The schedule is not a favorable one, however, as they will have only 12 games at Coors Field and 15 on the road. Colorado will get their first taste of inter-league play when they begin a four-game series with the Rangers on May 5. The teams will play two games in Denver and two games in Texas.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies