Renck: Shocked if Rockies aren’t playing ‘meaningful games’ in Sept.
As the MLB season wraps up its May slate, the collective anxiety of Colorado Rockies fans is palpable as club heads into what normally is expected to be a “June swoon.”
But there may be a reason to not panic through the summer months.
Though 50 games, the Rockies not only had the best record in the National League at 32-18 but it’s also the best start in franchise history.
The Rockies are 32-18 this season, the best record in NL. It’s the best 50-game start in franchise history.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 27, 2017
Moreover, since the first full Wild Card season in 1996, 58.7 percent of division winners led or were tied for the lead in their division on Memorial Day, per ESPN’s Kevin Winter.
As of Monday night, Colorado had a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
So, yes, it would be a shock to Denver 7’s Troy Renck if the Rockies weren’t playing “meaningful games” in late September.
“I think they’re going to hang around through the end. Now, I’m not going to say they’re in the playoffs because that’s a different animal,” Renck told “Schlereth & Evans” on Friday. “But based on how far they’ve been over .500, how they’ve played on the road, their ability to pitch and keep themselves in games, yeah, they should be in it and playing meaningful games in September.
“That would shock me if they’re not playing meaningful games in the second or third week of September.”
Renck said pitching could end up being an issue as the season rolls on, with the bulk of innings going to rookies Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland and second-year pitchers Tyler Anderson and German Marquez.
Those four starters have accounted for nearly half (215.1) of the Rockies 477.1 innings through Tuesday afternoon, with only Tyler Chatwood (64.1) having tossed more.
“The problem they’re going to run into how they manage this pitching staff in terms of innings from a starting standpoint with four rookies taking the bulk of these innings,” Renck said, adding they need to address the middle relief as well.
Colorado has only a .555 winning percentage at home while bolstering a .692 road winning percentage.
“You can’t keep up that pace on the road. They’ve had one winning road record in franchise history in 2009 at 41 wins.,” Renck said. “So, you can’t keep thinking we’re going to stay on this .600-.650 win percentage rate on the road.
“They need to get dominant at home. That starts with just better offense.”
Renck pointed to slow starts from shortstop Trevor Story, who before landing on the 10-day disabled list in early May had a .180 average and .685 OPS, and Carlos Gonzalez, who batted .216 through April before raising his average to .240 as of Tuesday.
“You play long ball at home, and Trevor Story and Cargo have just not performed at home yet,” Renck said. “That’s two big pieces that change games that really haven’t been hot at home at all.”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.