2017 Colorado Rockies
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2017 Colorado Rockies / Franchise: Colorado Rockies / BR Team Page
Clinched Wild Card: September 30, 2017
Managed by Bud Black
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2017 Colorado Rockies got off to a fast start largely on the strength of a completely revamped bullpen. After their relievers had put up a dreadful 5.13 ERA with 28 blown saves in 2016, the Rockies rebuilt their bullpen around former Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland and veteran Mike Dunn. The two proved outstanding the first couple of weeks of the season, Holland gathering saves in his first seen appearances while Dunn did not allow a run in his first 7 1/3 innings. Other contributors were Adam Ottavino and Jake McGee, both back from injuries. As a result, after two weeks of play, Colorado was atop the NL West standings with a 9-5 record, which also happened to be the best in the National League. While the Rox had had some good starts before, this one did not fizzle after a couple of weeks. At the end of May, they had briefly fallen into second place, but they were back in first place by June 4th, with a record of 36-23. Even more impressive, they were playing extremely well on the road - the bane of Rockies teams since their coming into existence - with a record of 21-10 away from Coors Field. Not only was Holland still perfect as the closer, having made good on his first 21 save opportunities, but CF and lead-off hitter Charlie Blackmon had emerged as one of the best players in the league, batting .328 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs in 58 games. In early June, they racked up a seven-game winning streak, including winning the first three games of a four-game series at Wrigley Field against the defending World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs. One of the most impressive thing about the team's early success was that it was achieved with a starting rotation that included four rookies: Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland had both been among the best pitchers in the league up to that point, and German Marquez and Jeff Hoffman were both doing fine as well, while the sole veteran in the group, Tyler Chatwood, was the only one to have a record below .500.
The Rockies hit a bump in the road in late June, going 2-12 from June 21 to July 5th. They were in first place, half-a-game up, when the skid started, but had fallen to third place, 7 1/2 games back when it was over, as their cold streak coincided with the Los Angeles Dodgers being nearly unbeatable. They still recorded their 50th win before the All-Star break, and were well-positioned in the wild card race. One of the positive factors was the return of the previous year's ace, Jon Gray, who had been sidelined since April with a broken foot. He won his first two decisions after his return, taking some of the load off the rookie pitchers who were feeling the pressure of having to carry the team on their backs. The Rockies were rewarded for their excellent first half by having four players named to the All-Star team, including 3B Nolan Arenado and OF Blackmon, who were both voted in by fans; they were joined by Holland and 2B D.J. LeMahieu, who had gone a bit under the radar while teammates were grabbing the headlines but continued to be a strong presence up the middle both on offence and on defence.
The Rockies had a tough month of August, going just 12-15 and as a result lost ground on both the Dodgers, who were playing lights out, and the Diamondbacks. They then lost their first three games in September and were starting to feel the breath of two pursuers from the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals, both vying for the second wild card slot. That seemed to be a wake-up call for the Rockies, who proceeded to win 8 of their next 10 games, including a four-game sweep of the now-reeling Dodgers on the road from September 7-10. The stretch included the first win of the year by Chad Bettis on September 9th, a strong contributor the previous year who had made it back from missing more than half the season while fighting testicular cancer. It continued to be a roller coaster season for the Rox though, as immediately after a six-game winning streak, they lost five of seven to see Milwaukee move within one game of the second wild card spot on September 20th. But the Brewers were never able to close that last gap, and they finished one game back of Colorado in the wild card standings, giving the Rockies their first postseason appearance since 2009.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Greg Holland and D.J. LeMahieu
- NL Gold Glove: Nolan Arenado (3B) and D.J. LeMahieu (2B)
- NL Silver Slugger Award: Nolan Arenado (3B) and Charlie Blackmon (OF)
- NL Comeback Player of the Year Award: Greg Holland
- 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: German Marquez (RhP)
- Associated Press: "Dodgers secure home-field advantage throughout playoffs", ESPN.com, October 1, 2017
- Bob Nightengale: "Rockies on track to end six years of futility: 'We're for real'", USA Today Sports, June 5, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez believe Rockies are playoff contenders", USA Today Sports, February 22, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Greg Holland, Rockies relievers unhittable so far", USA Today Sports, April 16, 2017. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Rockies' rookies face tall task as mid-summer approaches", mlb.com, June 28, 2017. 
- Tracy Ringolsby: "Magic No. at 2, Rockies close to postseason goal: Black's club on verge of Wild Card berth", mlb.com, September 28, 2017.