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Things to Improve the 2015 Colorado Rockies: Allow Fewer Home Runs

September 16th, 2014 at 5:00 AM
By Joe Lemere

As the Colorado Rockies creep ever closer to the first 100 loss season in franchise history, we at Rockies 101 will look forward to next season. In part two of a week long series on improving the 2015 version of the Rockies, pitching is under the microscope. The Rockies always need pitching help, but the quickest fix for them is to allow fewer home runs.

Pitching in Coors Field is no easy proposition, but the staff needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. They are last in all of baseball this season giving up 163 homers on the season, clear of other teams that play in dinger-friendly parks like Yankee Stadium, Globe Life Park in Arlington and Great American Ball Park. And before you go saying the high total is a simple byproduct of Denver's thin air, Rockies pitchers have given up 78 of the home runs on the road. That's almost 48 percent of all home runs given up this year.

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Things to Improve the 2015 Colorado Rockies: Stay Healthy

September 15th, 2014 at 5:00 AM
By Joe Lemere

Today starts a new week-long series on how next year's Colorado Rockies can be better than this year's version. We're not talking roster moves or front office decisions, only how this team, as it stands, can get better next season. The first in the series is the most obvious, but also the most important. Stay healthy.

To emphasize how bad the injury bug has been to the Rockies, let's list the positions that haven't spent any time on the DL: second base, center field. That's it. Every single other position has seen at least one player spend some time on the disable list. Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu should be commended for the durability. And their luck really.

The Rockies slide into the dumps can be traced to the injury of Nolan Arenado. Michael Cuddyer has been hurt pretty much all year. Carlos Gonzalez is the same story. Troy Tulowitzki going down for the season ended any chance of a second half run. Justin Morneau missed time, as has Wilin Rosario and a whole host of pitchers. Starters, relievers, it doesn't matter, serious time has been taken by injuries.

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Colorado Rockies Should Model Themselves After the St. Louis Cardinals

September 14th, 2014 at 1:29 PM
By Joe Lemere

With all the injuries and losses suffered by the Colorado Rockies this year, the team is a bit of a blank slate heading into next year. Blank slates are fun for fan and media speculation, but it usually doesn't equal on-the-field success. So, like most youngsters in the world, the Rockies need a role model. How about the team they're playing right now? The St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals are 15 games over .500 and are beginning to pull away in the NL Central. What's curious about the Red Birds is that they, statistically speaking, mediocre. They are middle of the pack offensively, ranking ninth in the NL in runs scored per game, fifth in batting average, seventh in walks drawn and dead last in home runs. A bit average, right? But the Cardinals keep on scoring enough to win.

And don't think they do it all with spectacular pitching because that doesn't stand out either. They allow the seventh fewest runs in the National League, the eighth lowest ERA, sixth lowest WHIP and eleventh lowest K/BB ratio. All those unimpressive numbers, yet they lead the league by a good margin in team shutouts. It seems the Cards just get the job done.

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The Colorado Rockies Farm System Playing for Championships

September 13th, 2014 at 1:51 PM
By Joe Lemere

The Colorado Rockies have no hope of making the playoffs and they haven't for a long time, but some parts of the organization are trying to close out championship runs today. Both the AA Tulsa Drillers and single-A Asheville Tourists look to be kings of the Texas League and the South Atlantic League respectively. So, in a season of lows for the big league team, let's see if the minors can come through to give the Rockies a high point.

The Tulsa Drillers are up two games to one in a best of five series against the Midland RockHounds. Midland is the AA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics and will be throwing Deryk Hooker. The Drillers will counter with Jayson Aquino even though he's only made three starts since being called up a level. He's pitched well in those few games, and manager Duane Espy obviously has faith in him, though. Shutting Jon Gray down for the season also made the decision pretty easy. Cristhian Adames and Ryan Casteel will lead the position players as the take Security Bank Ballpark, home of the RockHounds. With a game to spare, expect the Drillers to play loose on the road and take home the chip.

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Official Rockies 101 MLB Playoff Prediction

September 12th, 2014 at 5:00 AM
By Joe Lemere

With the regular season winding down and the Colorado Rockies, long eliminated from postseason contention, coming off an off day, let's put our focus on happier things. The Major League Baseball playoffs. There are just a couple more weeks in the season and there are some great chases to watch. With that in mind, Rockies 101 gives its official playoff predictions.

Who's in, who's out? Let's start with the National League. The NL has three locks in the form of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers and Giants will do battle for the NL West crown — they play each other six more times — with the Dodgers winning, as they've been the far superior team in the second half. The Giants are four games clear in the first Wild Card spot, so they're in as well. The Nationals are eight and a half up on the Atlanta Braves and are the best team in the NL.

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