If anyone thought that the Colorado Rockies’ extra-innings victory in the wild-card game portended more exciting playoff action to come, those people were dead wrong. All that was true about that 2-1 win against the Cubs remained true throughout Colorado’s three-game sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers: nobody on the team could hit the ball.
The Brewers played well in this series. They effectively bullpenned their way to a victory in Game 1 and came up with enough timely hitting to carry the day in Games 2 and 3. But they still would have easily won the series even if they had played demonstrably worse, and that’s because their opponent may as well have just stayed home.
The Rockies finished the NLDS with a team batting average of .146. They scored two runs in three games, struck out 30 times, and had just 14 hits in 96 at-bats, only three of which went for extra bases. It was embarrassing, and worst of all boring. Nobody wants to tune into playoff baseball just to watch nine guys take turns weakly grounding out to third.
This performance may feel out of step for the Rockies, a franchise that has historically been able to fill out a lineup with brawny tater-mashers, but it really wasn’t. The truth is that this team hasn’t been very good at hitting for some time now. This was the second consecutive season in which the Rockies posted a team OPS+ of 90 in the regular season, putting them well in the bottom half of the league. The likes of Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story provide plenty of production, but so much of it gets tossed into black holes shaped like Ian Desmond and Gerardo Parra.
The irony in all of this is that the Rockies have been waiting 25 years to build a starting rotation capable of not embarrassing itself in the postseason. They finally got one this year—Kyle Freeland, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez, and Anotnio Senzatela all acquitted themselves nicely in their starts—but it all added up to dick because of how putrid the offense was.
The good news is that the young rotation may get even better in the coming years, the bad news is that the rest of the team has a good shot at remaining broken. Charlie Blackmon’s downward spiral may be starting earlier than the front office had hoped, Ian Desmond is still on the books for three more years, and they’ve still got $100 million tied up in a bullpen that fell flat on its face. Oh, and Nolan Arenado could begin demanding a trade at any time.
Even when the team is bad, Rockies fans have always had plenty of dingers and high-scoring games to look forward to. They might need to get used to finding as much joy as they can in watching Kyle Freeland lose a bunch of 2-1 games in the years to come.