Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Strong start no fluke for talented Rockies

MLB.com @TracyRingolsby

The Rockies had just put the finishing touches on their first three-game sweep of the Giants at home in 15 years. They had matched the second-best start in franchise history, a 13-6 record that is one win shy of that early-season surge in 1997 and in line with what they did to open the 2011 and '13 campaigns.

And early in the postgame media session, manager Bud Black, in his first year with the Rockies, was asked why this year would be any different than those previous years -- when Colorado faded following that April elation.

The Rockies had just put the finishing touches on their first three-game sweep of the Giants at home in 15 years. They had matched the second-best start in franchise history, a 13-6 record that is one win shy of that early-season surge in 1997 and in line with what they did to open the 2011 and '13 campaigns.

And early in the postgame media session, manager Bud Black, in his first year with the Rockies, was asked why this year would be any different than those previous years -- when Colorado faded following that April elation.

"This," he said, "is a different team."

Black's message was clear: He is looking at what's ahead, not worrying about a 2013 team that wound up 74-88 and in last place in the National League West, or the '11 team that went 73-89 and finished in fourth place -- or even that 1997 team that was 83-79 and finished in third place.

This is, like he said, "a different team."

Here are 10 things to know about the 2017 Rockies:

• The club's projected No. 1 starter (Chad Bettis), starting catcher (Tom Murphy), starting first baseman (Ian Desmond) and starting left fielder (David Dahl) opened the season on the disabled list, where they remain. They have since been joined by Opening Day starter Jon Gray.

• The rotation is the youngest in the big leagues -- with an average age of 24 years and 300 days -- and with the anticipation of fourth-ranked prospect German Marquez being called up to replace Gray for Tuesday's start, that average age drops to 24 years, 252 days.

Video: Top Prospects: German Marquez, RHP, Rockies

Carlos Gonzalez is the only player on the roster who was a part of those fast starts in 2011 and '13. Adam Ottavino and Gonzalez are the only Rockies who were around to begin the '13 campaign. Nolan Arenado, Tyler Chatwood, Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu arrived after the season had begun to unravel.

• Colorado's hot start has included winning nine of 12 games against the Dodgers, who have won the past four NL West titles, and the Giants, who have made four postseason appearances and won three World Series championships in the past seven seasons.

• Discounting the 1995 season -- in which a player strike limited the Rockies to five April games -- their .684 winning percentage going into Monday would be the second best in an April in franchise history, after their .708 mark in 1997.

• Colorado relievers lead the Majors with 10 saves and the bullpen has the third-lowest ERA (3.59) in the NL, behind the Mets (3.50) and Pirates (3.54). Greg Holland has converted his first nine opportunities, the second best season-opening streak in MLB history, three shy of the record Lee Smith set with the Orioles in 1994.

Video: SF@COL: Holland gets Crawford swinging for the save

• It's early, but the Rockies are 7-3 on the road, including taking three of four from the Giants. They have had a winning record on the road only once in their previous 24 seasons of existence -- 2009, when they claimed the NL Wild Card spot and were 41-40 outside of Coors Field.

• Known for its offensive abilities with Coors Field as the club's home, Colorado ranks 16th in the Majors with 80 runs scored in 19 games. The team has won seven games in which it has scored four runs or fewer.

• The Rockies' pitching staff has limited the opposition to a .303 on-base percentage, which is down 42 points from last year. It is the biggest improvement in Major League Baseball, which underscores the revitalization of the pitching staff.

• Colorado has committed just five errors, tied with Cincinnati and Miami for the fewest in the NL. The Rox lead the NL having turned 24 double plays, five more than the Braves, who rank second.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com.

Colorado Rockies