The Rockies offense was in the headlines again on Saturday night.
As if Nolan Arenado setting a franchise record with a home run in his fifth consecutive road game wasn’t enough, the Rockies five-run ninth inning that gave them a 9-5 victory at Atlanta was highlighted by a two-run Charlie Blackmon double followed by Trevor Story’s three-run home run on an 0-2 count.
But don’t overlook the veterans who came off the bench to pinch-hit ahead of the home runs – Ian Desmond and Drew Butera, who worked four-pitch walks to load the bases.
And don’t overlook an oft-maligned Rockies bullpen that is forcing critics to apologize.
In Arenado’s case, he became the first player in the big leagues to hit a home run in five consecutive games since Josh Donaldson, Matt Olson and Eric Thames each did it in 2017. And he set himself apart within the Rockies, breaking out of the pack of Rockies who homered in four consecutive road games.
The rebound from a 3-12 start to 10 wins in the last 12 games has been far from a one-man effort. It has been a team effort -- at the plate, in the field and on the mound.
The long battered Rockies bullpen, however, has been the foundation for the success.
Now, the bullpen has actually been a stable part of the Rockies this season. Rockies relievers have the third lowest ERA among NL teams this season, and while Wade Davis has all four of the Rockies saves. The team has failed in only one save opportunity.
And while there is still plenty of season to be played, the Rockies bullpen so far is setting a level of success unmatched in franchise history. Not only is the ERA lower than ever, but so is the batting average allowed. A look at lowest bullpen ERA in franchise history:
The Rockies three most active relievers this season have ERA's below 1.50, and batting averages allowed to .200 or lower.
Bottom line, however, remains that success and failure is a team effort
In the team's 3-12 start, the Rockies hit only .203 and scored just 42 runs -- 2.8 runers per game. In winning 10 of the last 12 games, however, the Rockies averaged 6.0 runs per game, more than double the average of the slow start.
And the pitchers have lowered their ERA by 1.29 runs per nine inning from that 15-game beginning to the last 12 games.