3 things that went wrong for the Colorado Rockies in 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 13: Manager Bud Black #10 of the Colorado Rockies removes Chad Kuhl #41 of the Colorado Rockies during the seventh inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Rockies 4-2. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 13: Manager Bud Black #10 of the Colorado Rockies removes Chad Kuhl #41 of the Colorado Rockies during the seventh inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Rockies 4-2. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Key injuries, an inability once again to win on the road, and an underperforming pitching staff all contributed to a disappointing 2022 season for the Colorado Rockies.

The Colorado Rockies’ campaign came to a merciful end Wednesday in a 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The setback left Colorado with a 68-94 record and a whopping 43 games behind the 111-win Dodgers in the National League West.

The 2022 season was a rough one for fans of the Colorado Rockies.

Led by manager Bud Black, who recorded his 400th win in his sixth season with the Rox, the 94 losses are the most for the franchise since 2015 when Colorado also dropped 94 contests.

After finishing fourth a year ago, the Rox slumped to the cellar in 2022 after finishing fourth in the five-team division for three consecutive seasons. The 68 victories this year is six less than in 2021 when the Rockies went 68-74.

The team’s final loss of the season Wednesday night to the Dodgers was, in many ways, a microcosm of the entire 2022 campaign.

Saddled with inconsistent hitting throughout the season, Colorado managed just two hits in the season finale. The Rox whiffed 17 times in the contest (nine via the left arm of Clayton Kershaw) with the team’s final six outs of 2022 and eight of the last nine outs coming via strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Colorado pitchers allowed three home runs with five of the six runs being tallied off the Rockies bullpen.

As has been the case in recent years, Colorado started the season on a roll capturing four of its first five and eight of its first 11 games. The team was still 16-11 as late as May 7, but a five-game losing streak and a stretch of eight setbacks in nine games followed dropping the Rockies below the .500 mark for good. They would never recover from there.

Colorado capped the season with a season-high seven-game losing streak before taking three straight road games from the Dodgers — the squad’s longest road winning streak of 2022 — in the Rockies’ final series of the season (six games vs. the Dodgers).

Ironically, Colorado’s eight victories in 19 meetings with Los Angeles marked the most wins for a team against the Dodgers in 2022.

Here’s a closer look at key parts of the Rockies’ dismal season:

1. Key injuries

All teams have injuries throughout a season and Colorado certainly had its fair share — three in particular.

After signing a seven-year contract in the offseason, four-time NL All-Star Kris Bryant was hampered by injuries (back injury followed by plantar fasciitis in his left foot) throughout the season that resulted in the 2016 NL MVP playing just 42 games. While he did hit .306 and had an OPS of .851, Bryant finished with just 181 plate appearances and did not see any action in the final two months of the season.

On the pitching side, injuries shelved the seasons for reliever Tyler Kinley and starter Antonio Senzatela.

Kinley was having a banner year out of the bullpen with a sterling 0.75 earned run average in 25 games after notching a 4.73 ERA in 70 contests in 2021. But Kinley, used as a setup reliever for closer Daniel Bard, went down with a season-ending right ulnar nerve injury in mid-June.

Senzatela, after missing some time earlier in the season with a lower back strain, had his season come to an end in mid-August with a left ACL tear. After going 156.2 innings in 28 starts in 2021, the right-hander saw action in only 19 contests this season, tossing 92.1 innings while finishing with a 3-7 record and 5.07 ERA.

2. Another tough season on the road

Colorado followed up last year’s 26 road wins with one more road triumph in 2022 to log a 27-54 road mark. The .333 winning percentage was the second-worst road mark in the Majors, trailing only Kansas City’s .321 mark (26-55). The Rockies were outscored by 155 runs on the road (397-242) and the team’s 51 road home runs were the fewest in the Majors in 2022 — seven less than Detroit in 29th place.

Besides the woeful road record, the Rox also struggled to win in the friendly confines of Coors Field this season. Colorado eked out a winning record at home with a 41-40 mark while losing six of its final seven home contests. Colorado’s .283 hitting percentage at home ranked 28th in franchise history while its 98 home runs at Coors Field were the fewest since 2013 (excluding the pandemic-shortened 2020 season).

3. Underperforming pitching

The season-ending injuries to Kinley and Senzatela helped contribute to a less-than-stellar season on the mound for Rockies pitchers, who fashioned a 5.07 ERA on the season (803 earned runs in 1,425.1 innings pitched). A year ago, Colorado hurlers finished with a 4.82 mark.

But there were other members of the Rox mounds corps who pitched in to the higher ERA this season.

German Marquez, an All-Star Game selection in 2021, carded a 9-13 mark (31 starts) and 5.00 ERA after going 12-11 (32 starts) with a 4.40 ERA in 2021. Austin Gomber, who started 2022 in the starting rotation, was ineffective early in the year and was moved to the bullpen, although the left-hander did start the team’s season finale against the Dodgers. Gomber permitted 134 hits in 121.2 innings while compiling a 5-7 record and 5.62 ERA.

Two additions to the starting rotation this season — Chad Kuhl and Jose Ureña — proved inconsistent. After a good start, Kuhl logged a 6-11 mark and a 5.72 ERA in 27 starts (155 hits allowed in 137 innings). Urena, a mid-season acquisition, registered a 3-8 record in 17 starts with the Rox. He permitted 102 hits in 89.1 innings with a 5.14 ERA.

There were a couple of bright spots, though, for the Rox this season.

C.J. Cron had a second straight productive season at the plate, finishing with a career-high 102 RBI to rank in the top 10 in the Majors and Top 5 in the NL in that category. The total included a Major League-best 75 RBI at home. The first baseman also amassed career highs for games played (150), total bases (269), and hits (148) in 2022. His 504-foot moonshot home run September 9 against Arizona at Coors Field was the longest for a Colorado player in the Statcast era (since 2015) and tied for the longest by any player in Coors Field history.

Daniel Bard blossomed into one of the most consistent closers in the Majors this season with 34 saves. The total placed him in the Top 5 in the NL and was the sixth-most in a season in franchise history. With 34 saves in 37 chances, his 91.9 save percentage was the highest in the Majors and the second-highest for a season in franchise record books. The right-hander, who inked a two-year contract extension covering the 2023 and 2024 campaigns at the end of July, ended the year with a 1.79 ERA (60 IP, 12 ER) — the second-lowest ERA in a season in franchise history trailing the 1.74 mark of Rex Brothers in 2013.

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But, unfortunately for the Colorado Rockies, the less-than-desirable aspects of the season outweighed the positive and led to a 2022 season that many will soon try to forget.