Even though they are 20 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West race, the Colorado Rockies currently hold the #1 spot for one of the two the N.L. wild cards.
The Rockies were not a pre-season pick to make the playoffs, but one aspect of their play that has impressed experts is their starting pitching, and specifically, the work of a trio of rookie hurlers. Rockies rookie pitchers have started 77 of Colorado’s 123 games this season.
Kyle Freeland, German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela have each won 10 games in their rookie campaigns (Freeland leads the group with 11 victories) and another rookie, Jeff Hoffman, has started 16 games for the club and has six wins.
The Rockies rookie trio is the first since the 2006 Florida Marlins to win 10 or more games in their first seasons. The Marlins had four rookie pitchers win 10 or more games in the ’06 season: Josh Johnson (12), Ricky Nolasco (11), Scott Olsen (12) and Anibal Sanchez (10).
Here’s a look at the number of rookie pitchers who won 10 or more games in a season for each club since 2000:
7: Rays, Rockies, Twins
6: A’s, Braves, Marlins, Orioles
4: Astros, Blue Jays, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Indians, Rangers, Tigers
3: Cardinals, Giants, Phillies, Yankees
2: Mets, Pirates, Red Sox, Royals
1: Cubs, Mariners, Nationals, Padres
0: Reds, White Sox
If Brewers fans are wondering how their team has so quickly lost the 5.5 game lead they had at the All-Star break, there is a simple answer…
… since the All-Star break, the Brewers are 3-7. In the three games they won, they scored 9, 9 and 3 runs (an average of 7 per game). In the seven games they lost they scored a total of 15 runs, an average of 2.1 per game.
Since July 1, the Brew Crew is 10-9. In those 19 teams, the Brewers are 1-9 in games when they scored three runs or less and 9-0 in games when they scored four or more runs.
This date in baseball: Thirty-four years ago today is when the infamous George Brett “Pine Tar Bat” incident took place in a game between the Royals and Yankees. Do you know who the starting pitcher for the Yankees was in that game?
If you answered Racine native Shane Rawley, you win!
How important is it for a team to hit a home run in a major league game?
At this point in the 2017 season, MLB teams are 246-580 in games when they do not hit a home run. That’s a paltry .298 winning percentage.
The San Francisco Giants have the most games this year without a home run with 45. The Houston Astros have the fewest games without a home run, 16.
Twenty-six of the 30 MLB teams have a winning record in games when they do hit a home run. The four teams that are under .500 in games when they have one or more HR: New York Mets, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Of the six teams that have at least one home run in 70 or more games this season, three are leading their division… L.A. Dodgers. Milwaukee and Houston.
The Cubs have added White Sox ace Jose Quintana to their pitching staff via a trade. With this acquisition, the defending champs are certainly not sitting still in their attempt to overtake the Milwaukee Brewers in the N.L. Central and hopefully make a return trip to the World Series. History (and stats), however, has shown that winning the N.L. Central and getting back to the World Series might take a historic second half for the Cubs.
The Cubs are 43-45 (a .489 winning percentage) at the All-Star break. Since 1913, only four teams that were .500 or worse at the All-Star break played in the World Series that season. The five teams: 1914 Boston Braves (they had a winning percentage of .434 at the All-Star break when they made the World Series that year), the 1973 Mets (.452), the 1964 Cardinals (.494), the 1991 Braves (.494) and most recently, the 2007 Colorado Rockies, who were at .500 at the All-Star break and then made it to the World Series that year. Of these five teams, only the 1914 Braves and ’64 Cardinals actually won the title that season.
Since 2000, only four teams with a winning percentage under .500 at the All-Star break were able to win their division that season… the 2013 Twins (.473), the 2015 Rangers (.477), the 2008 Dodgers (.484) and the 2015 Blue jays (.495).
The second half of the 2017 MLB season begins tomorrow. Based on past history, that may be good news for the Chicago Cubs and bad news for the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the last three seasons, the Cubs have had the best cumulative record over the second half of the season. They were 133-83 (.616 winning percentage) after the All-Star break from 2014-16. The Brewers, the team ahead of the Cubs in the standings, on the other hand, were .94-119 (.441 winning percentage) after the All-Star break from 2014-16. That ranked 24th of the 30 MLB teams.
The N.L. West-leading Dodgers, who have the majors best record this season, had the second best record after the break the last three seasons… they were 121-87 (.582).
Of the other four teams currently leading their division, the Washington Nationals ranked fifth in second half winning percentage the last three years, the Cleveland Indians ranked sixth, the Red Sox ranked 15th, and the Houston Astros ranked 17th.