Colorado Rockies - TeamReport
MLB Team Report - Colorado Rockies - INSIDE PITCH
DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies endured their fourth consecutive losing season, although they managed to end their streak of two consecutive last-place finishes in the National League West.
The Rockies historically struggle on the road, but they reached new depths in 2014. Losing five of six games on their final trip of the season left Colorado with a 21-60 road record, the worst in franchise history. That old mark was set by the 2003 team that went 25-56 on the road.
Colorado lost 39 of its final 45 road games, including 30 of 35 after the All-Star break.
The Rockies scored a franchise-worst 255 runs on the road, the fewest in the majors, and batted .228. Only the 2010 Rockies had a lower road batting average (.226).
Colorado lost 12 of 16 home games in June and had to win 13 of its final 15 home games to finish 45-36 at Coors Field. That was not good enough, given the ongoing difficulties on the road.
"We've got to win a minimum of 50 games at home to even get in the conversation for the division (title)," manager Walt Weiss said. "I think it's probably closer to 52 or 53, which is dominating. Which is what we need to do."
The Rockies' 4.84 ERA was the highest in the majors. The 4.89 ERA of their starters and 4.79 ERA by their relievers both were the worst in the National League. Colorado used 15 starting pitchers, tying the club record set in the inaugural 1993 season.
The Rockies actually began the season well and were tied for first on May 7 with a 22-14 record. They went 44-82 (.343) the rest of the season.
Key regulars were sidelined for long stretches with injuries. Shortstop Troy Tulowitkzi was limited to 91 games and didn't play after July 19. Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez played 70 games, the last on Aug. 8. Right fielder Michael Cuddyer missed 99 games during three stays on the disabled list.
When healthy, Gonzalez, Tulowitzki and Cuddyer were the heart of the batting order.
"We don't have the impact on the road without those guys," Weiss said. "One of them could hit a three-run homer or strike quickly. ... On the road, it seems like we needed to put together three hits to score (one) run sometimes."
Additionally, third baseman Nolan Arenado missed 37 games during the first half of the season, a stretch in which the Rockies went 10-27. He also missed the last two weeks of the season due to pneumonia.
Injuries also badly compromised the rotation, where Jorge De La Rosa was the only starter to make more than 22 starts. Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Lyles, Brett Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin all were sidelined for long stretches.
Injuries are a variable for every team. The Rockies entered the season thinking they were deeper than a year earlier, but the health woes exposed a lack of pitching depth in the system.
The bullpen was weighed down by an increased workload caused by injuries to the starters, and Franklin Morales and Juan Nicasio, both of whom began the season in the rotation, struggled and ended up in the bullpen. Ultimately, Colorado relievers worked 525 2/3 innings, the second-highest total in the NL.
The bullpen suffered because Boone Logan, whose three-year, $16.5 million contract is the largest the Rockies ever gave a reliever, was a huge disappointment. He ended up on the disabled list four times, three due to left elbow problems. Also, left-hander Rex Brothers, who had a 1.74 ERA in 72 games in 2013 and starred while setting up and closing, badly regressed, finishing with a 5.59 ERA and ending up being used in low-leverage situations as a specialist.
There were a few bright spots. Reliever Adam Ottavino became very dependable in an eighth-inning role, and reliever Brooks Brown, a 29-year-old rookie who made his major league debut in July, gained Weiss' trust and ended up pitching late in games and doing very well. Rookie left-hander Tyler Matzek, who overcame some extreme control issues in the low minors, made his major league debut in early June and seized his opportunity.