Stingy bullpen aiding Rockies' rise

April 12th, 2017

DENVER -- One of the Rockies' most gaping handicaps last year has transitioned into their biggest assets through the first 10 games of 2017.

A bullpen that posted an MLB-worst 5.13 ERA in '16 has more than halved that number to 2.31 after Wednesday's 6-0 loss to the Padres, in which Rockies relievers were responsible for 3 1/3 scoreless innings after the Padres chased rookie to four first-inning runs.

The bullpen has had an even stronger showing when protecting a lead. In 17 innings that Rockies relievers have pitched while winning, they've posted a 1.06 ERA with 28 strikeouts, seven hits and eight walks. New closer Greg Holland has an MLB-high five saves in five opportunities.

"I think knowing that you're a part of a good baseball team, you don't want to be the weak link in that team and we have been the last few years," setup man said. "This year we have a really big opportunity to be a strength for the team, not a weakness, so we take that to heart."

So far, Mike Dunn has been the only reliever the Rockies have called on with the game tied and he's earned a win in each of those outings, both scoreless. Before Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Padres, Holland hadn't allowed a runner to reach second base. Jake McGee, marred by a left knee injury for the bulk of '16, on Wednesday registered his hardest-thrown pitch since coming off the disabled list last July, at 97.1 mph, per Statcast™.