While the pitching for the Colorado Rockies has been a weakness all season, research shows that the beginning and the end of the game are particularly problematic.
Sporting a 4.90 ERA heading into Friday’s series opener against the Cincinnati Reds, the Rockies rank last in Major League Baseball in ERA. They also rank next-to-last in opponent batting average (.278) and WHIP (1.47). Only the Philadelphia Phillies rank behind the Rockies in those categories.
Here’s a look at each of the Rockies’ ERA for each of the nine innings and how it compares against the rest of the league. Spoiler note for Colorado fans: It isn’t pretty.
First inning — 6.48 ERA (29th in MLB)
Second inning — 4.55 ERA (24th in MLB)
Third inning — 4.06 ERA (19th in MLB)
Fourth inning — 3.48 ERA (9th in MLB)
Fifth inning — 6.19 ERA (30th in MLB)
Sixth inning — 5.56 ERA (29th in MLB)
Seventh inning — 3.52 ERA (16th in MLB)
Eighth inning — 5.28 ERA (30th in MLB)
Ninth inning — 4.81 ERA (29th in MLB)
Extra innings — 6.35 ERA (27th in MLB)
When the first inning holds the team’s highest ERA of any frame, it shows that Colorado is often playing from behind, much like it did in Wednesday’s 10-8 loss when the Texas Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead against Jorge De La Rosa. That outing jumped De La Rosa’s first-inning ERA to 9.00 … and that’s not the worst on the team as David Hale’s first-inning ERA is 10.13.
“Yeah, the four-run first hurt,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said after Wednesday’s loss. “Playing from behind is tough. It limits you with what you can do offensively.”
De La Rosa’s fourth-inning ERA dips to 1.80, helping the Rockies post their best overall frame at 3.48, ranking them ninth in MLB for that inning. Only three pitchers have higher than a 5.00 ERA in this inning (Kyle Kendrick at 5.50, Hale at 7.88, and Christian Friedrich at 15.00).
In contrast, eight Colorado pitchers have an ERA over 5.00 in the fifth inning, ballooning the team’s overall ERA to a league-worst 6.19 ERA for the frame.
Perhaps the most disturbing statistic of all is Colorado’s ERA from the seventh inning on, with the Rockies posting a league-worst 4.55 ERA. Over the last 30 days, John Axford’s ERA has skyrocketed to 8.22 with a 1-3 record.
For the Rockies to improve this season (and as a franchise in the future), astronomical ERAs have to be eliminated. When a team is starting and ending the game with those ERAs shadowing them, the results won’t be good … as can be seen from Colorado’s 40-53 record.