The Colorado Rockies have played only 13 games this season, but they appear to be in trouble. The Rockies are 3-10 after losing their last six contests. They’ve been outscored by 32 runs on the season, tying them for the worst run differential in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles. It’s early, and the Rockies are by and large the same club who has averaged 89 wins the past two years, yet there is genuine cause for concern so far as their playoff aspirations are concerned.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Rockies still possess a 15.4 percent shot at making it to October. A week ago, their odds were over 30 percent. No team has incurred a larger drop in their projected odds in that time. The Rockies have earned the dip honestly behind a wretched offense. Colorado has scored 38 runs, or less than three per game. They’ve been held below that average in eight of their 13 contests.They rank last in adjusted weighted runs created.
For context on how poor the Rockies have hit, consider this: they have more players with substantive playing time (30-plus plate appearances) who have negative OPS+ (two) than who have OPS+ over 90. That’s not a joke. The Rockies have one player with any amount of playing time who has an OPS+ over the league-average mark of 100 — and he, David Dahl, is on the injured list. Nolan Arenado’s OPS+ is 59; Charlie Blackmon’s is 64; Trevor Story is at 88, yet that’s the high-water mark among active Rockies hitters.
Usually we’d warn against overreacting. Teams do slump, sometimes all at once, sometimes right out of the gate. But the Rockies have a different set of circumstances than the normal team. They were already seemingly in an awkward position, wherein they were largely indistinguishable from the rest of a crowded NL wild card race. This kind of start helps separate them — just not in a good way. The Rockies are already five games behind the NL West leader (the San Diego Padres) and have to be nervous about the other NL divisions combining to house seven teams with winning records.
The Rockies are about to get familiar with some of those teams. After concluding a four-game set with the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, they’ll play 16 consecutive games against teams with realistic postseason hopes: the Philadelphia Phillies (four), Washington Nationals (three), Atlanta Braves (three), and Milwaukee Brewers (four). You can’t clinch a playoff spot in April, but you can take yourself out of position to compete deep into the year. If the Rockies don’t start hitting and soon, they might be permanently on the sidelines within a fortnight.