Been Down the Road Before: April Struggles, Blunders vs. Brewers
Just when it seemed like things were in place and the Rockies were ready to roll, they hit a speed bump.
They walked into Miller Park and saw the Milwaukee Brewers.
It was a flashback to nightmares from a year ago.
But do remember, there was more good than bad last year, when the Rockies advanced to the post-season for the second year in a row, and when they advanced past the wild-card for the first time since 2009.
So don't let something like a loss to the Brewers for both Kyle Freeland, who set Rockies pitching records a year ago, and the Rockies create an uproar.
Yes, we remember that a year ago Freeland won 17 games, finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting, and set franchise records for season ERA (2.75) and Coors Field ERA (2.40).
And with that in mind, it also should be remembered that Freeland had his April struggles. The only real difference? He has won two of six starts this April. Last April? He won one of six starts.
And right now the Rockies are looking for a way to wake up for what has been their biggest nightmare since the start of last season -- games against the Brewers. Milwaukee, which swept the Rockies in three games, allowing just two runs total, in the NL Division Series last October has pitched, hit and won against the Rockies at a level higher than any other NL team since Opening Day 2018.
How big of a struggle have the Rockies endured against the Brewers? Well, they go into Tuesday night's game at Miller Park with a 2-9 record against the Brewers since the start of last season -- their worst record against any NL team. The 5.16 Rockies ERA? It's the Rockies third highest against an NL team. Among NL teams, the only higher ERA for the Rockies staff is 5.57 against the Mets, and 5.41 against the Dodgers. And as for the Mets, the ERA doesn't seem as big a deal because the Rockies 6-1 record against them a year ago was their highest winning pecentage (.857) against an NL team in 2018.
At least the Rockies have hit .285 against the Mets since a year ago, the third highest Rockies average against an NL team. It's behind only the .286 against the D-Backs, and .304 against the Reds.
Meanwhile, the Rockies have hit .198 against the Brewers since the start of last year, the lowest against an NL team. Heck, it's 24 points lower than the batting average against the Pirates. Now, the Rockies did average 3.1 runs in the 11 games they have played against the Brewerss compared to 2.8 in six games against the Pirates. Those are the two least productive efforts for the Rockies offense, which by contrast has averaged 6.5 runs per game and a .308 batting average against the Phillies since the start of last season.
How tough a time has been for the Rockies offense against the Brewers since the start of last year? Well, they scored 10 runs against the Brewers on May 11 last year -- and lost the game, 12-11 in 10 innings. They have scored five or fewer runs in every other game, and in the last four games -- the three games in the NLDS and on Monday night -- the Rockies have a total of three runs on 18 hits -- 17 of them singles.
Now, Garrett Hampson has hit .500 but that's because he went 1-2 and the hit? It was a single. Trevor Story (.256) is the only other non-pitcher on the Rockies roster to have a higher average than .250 against the Brewers since the start of last year, and he checks in at .256. And Story's seven home runs against the Brewers since Opening Day a year ago are four more than the rest of the team combined -- one each for David Dahl, Tony Wolters and Nolan Arenado.
And the pitching hasn't come to the rescue of the struggling offense. The Rockies pitching staff has allowed five or more runs in seven of the 11 games. They did shutout the Brewers on May 12 last season, one of only two Rockies wins in the 11 games. The other was an 11-inning game on Aug. 5 when the Rockies pulled out a 5-4 win.
And there is plenty of blame to go around among the pitchers.
The Rockies rotation is a combined 1-6 against the Brewers since the start of last season with a 5.32 ERA. And the lone win? It belongs to Freeland, whose 3.65 ERA is second lowest among starters to the 3.60 belonging to Antonio Senzatela. German Marquez, who starts Tuesday night, is 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA against the Brewers since the start of the 2018 season.
And the bullpen doesn't even have a save. Adam Ottavino blew his only opportunity last year, and Wade Davis failed in both save situations he had against the Brewers. Davis was 43-for-47 in converting saves against teams other than the Brewers.