MLB Second Half Preview 2013: The National League West

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Colorado Rockies (46-50)

Jul 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez (5) after striking out during his at bat in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies’ season, at least in the success department, can be summed up in one word: April. After opening the first month of the season with a 16-11 mark (first in the NL West), they’ve gone 29-39 since, tumbling to third place.

What first needs to be noted is their minor improvements on the starting pitching front: They’re owners of the 10th-worst ERA in the NL. You might be thinking, “what is this guy talking about, that’s terrible.” I don’t blame you.

But the Rockies’ improvements need some context: they finished last in that department last year, shuffling a six-man rotation on a pitch count. So, I’d call a nine-spot jump in that department an improvement.

In 2013, without the pitch count limit, Tyler Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa all have ERAs south of 3.51, and Juan Nicasio has shown flashes of brilliance.

The Rockies’ bullpen has been a different story, as they have the second-highest bullpen ERA in baseball during July. That’s a bit off their regular season ranking (13th in baseball), but Rex Brothers and Adam Ottavino were solid throughout the first half.

But the problem with the Rockies lately? Scoring runs. Yeah, the Rockies are having problems putting runs on the board. Yes, even in Coors Field.

FanGraphs’ wRC+ has the Rockies as the worst offensive team in baseball over the last 30 days. OPS, wOBA, slugging percentage and on-base percentage all send the same message. Generally being known as a solid to good offensive team, the Rockies’ struggles strike us as a surprise.

However, Carlos Gonzalez continues to build his MVP reśumé. He leads the NL in wOBA, slugging percentage, ISO (measures sheer power) and wRC+. Michael Cuddyer, Gonzalez’s fellow teammate, is right behind him in most of those categories.

The other piece to Colorado’s three-man recking crew, Troy Tulowitzki, hasn’t gotten a hit in three games back from the disabled list, but I tend to chalk that up to rust. Rib injuries are tough on hitters because of the torque involved in swinging the bat, after all. Give him time.