Bud Black delivers his ‘State of the Rockies’ midway through the 2022 season – Greeley Tribune
LOS ANGELES – Albert Einstein once said that failure is progressive success.
The Rockies hope the genius physicist was right. With the club reaching statistical mid-season on Tuesday night, their progress is harder to understand than relativity.
The Rockies went into the game against the Dodgers with a 35-45 record in last place in the National League West, putting them to a 71-91 finish.
That doesn’t look like progress, but manager Bud Black holds on to the belief.
Although Black is extremely pleased with some individual performances — most notably the power of first baseman CJ Cron, the stick of Jose Iglesias shortstop and the consistency of closer Daniel Bard — Black admits the Rockies have not lived up to his hopes and expectations.
Last year’s team was 34-47 at halftime and finished 74-87. The Rockies ended 2021 with just 161 games after a Sept. 16 game in Atlanta was postponed that was never made up.
The Rockies lost shortstop Trevor Story and right-hander Jon Gray to free agency, but they signed outfielders Kris Bryant and Iglesias, trading for outfielder Randal Grichuk.
Bryant’s seven-year, $182 million deal was the largest free-agent contract in franchise history. But because of a back injury, Bryant had played in just 23 games, hitting .284, posting a .684 OPS, hitting zero homers and running in five runs before Tuesday’s game.
Right-handed starter German Marquez, who was a first-time All-Star last season, started Tuesday with a 5.89 ERA, a 1.54 WHIP and a .288 average.
Bryant and Marquez head a long list of first-half disappointments. Third baseman Ryan McMahon (.237/.332/.378, seven homers, 12 major league errors), catcher Elias Diaz (.214/.268/.341, only five homers) and leftward Austin Gomber (6.53 ERA, 1st place). .45 WHIP, .294 average vs.) are also on the list.
Black, now in his fifth season with Colorado and the owner of a 384-404 record with the Rockies, has his own take on the club.
Below are some things that exceeded his expectations:
“I feel really good about how Cron and Bard have continued from last year with their performances this year. I think you can even argue that they are better this year than last year.”
Cron came on Tuesday after playing in every game (started all but one) and hit .297 with 20 homers, 65 RBIs and .904 OPS. He is the ninth Rockies player (18th all-time) to hit at least 20 homers in the team’s first 80 games and the first since Nolan Arenado in 2016.
Bard had converted 16 of 18 save chances and had a 2.05 ERA. He had conceded just one earned run in his last 15 appearances, and his .52 ERA over that span ranked second in the National League.
Chad Kuhl’s breakthrough
“Chad was, I don’t want to say, a pleasant surprise because I think (the talent) is in there. But he was solid, and there’s more to it than that. Let’s see how the second half goes… Passing the test of a season is something Chad is dying to do and that will be a goal of his.”
The right-hander, who signed a one-year $3 million deal to be Colorado’s fifth starter, was their top starter, going 5-5 with a 3.83 ERA.
Yonathan Daza’s Genesis
“What he’s done in well over 200 at-bats — average hitting, the on-base component, good pitching… All of that is really good stuff. ‘Daz’ should be very proud of how he has developed over the past few years.”
Daza, the Rockies’ best defensive outfielder, hit .314/.369/.368 despite hitting no homers and driving in just 17 runs.
Black also addressed some of the things that frustrated him.
“Overall, team defense is something that we talked about a lot. We started the first three weeks of the season very well, I thought we were playing really solid baseball. … Then it kind of went the other way.
“We’re talking about the peaks and valleys of the season and this valley was probably a little too long and too deep. That was frustrating. That seemed to be forming a bit.”
Colorado went clean in nine straight games on Tuesday, the longest clean-shooting streak of the season. However, the Rockies ranked last overall in the majors in fielding percentage (.980) while their 59 total errors were baseball’s highest.
“We didn’t have electricity at home either. Organizationally, also with the players, (we didn’t expect that). We thought we had more homers. But there is still more than half of the season left.”
Despite hitting two home runs in Monday night’s 5-3 loss to the Dodgers, the Rockies’ 20 home runs were still the fewest in baseball. They also scored .207 with runners in goal position on the road vs. .318 at home.
- Right-hander Ryan Feltner, out with a strained right rhomboid muscle, served up a simulated game Tuesday at Dodger Stadium and was feeling fine. He is scheduled to serve for Triple-A Albuquerque in Round Rock, Texas on Saturday.
- Right-hander Tyler Kinley has undergone surgery to repair his injured elbow. Black said the surgery went well, although Kinley’s recovery time is expected to be around a year.
- The Rockies have officially listed veteran right-hander José Ureña (0-0, 3.52) as a starter for Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers. To make room for Ureña in their 40-man roster, the Rockies need to make a move.
https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/07/06/bud-black-state-of-rockies-halfway-point/ Bud Black delivers his ‘State of the Rockies’ midway through the 2022 season – Greeley Tribune