Rockies’ defense — without Nolan Arenado, with Ryan McMahon — has been very good – The Denver Post
Rockies manager Bud Black was discussing the elements to the Rockies’ remarkable success at Coors Field this season. The defense was one of those key ingredients.
“Overall, we’ve been pleased,” Black said prior to Saturday night’s game against Arizona at Coors, where the Rockies owned a 42-21 record. “But we are going to try to get better. We are going to try and improve on that over the next six weeks. And we’ll see what happens this offseason as far as our roster going into next year.
“But you’ve got to play defense. There is the old adage that you can’t afford to give teams extra outs and I think that is really, emphatically emphasized here.”
Sure, the Rockies have booted the ball a few times at home and on the road, but overall, their fielding has been pretty golden. According to the Fielding Bible’s website, the Rockies’ 51 overall defensive runs saved are tied with Houston for most in the majors.
Leading the way has been the stellar work of third basemen Ryan McMahon and Joshua Fuentes, who’s now at Triple-A Albuquerque working on his hitting. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Rockies have not missed the glove work of Nolan Arenado, who was traded to St. Louis in February. Arenado has won eight consecutive Gold Gloves.
“Ryan McMahon and Joshua Fuentes have played Nolan Arenado-like defense at third base,” Sports Info Solutions’ Mark Simon wrote recently. “But Arenado hasn’t been Arenado-like this season, at least not by our measures.
“Fuentes and McMahon are ranked second and third in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at the position. Arenado is only slightly above average.”
Simon went on to write: “McMahon and Fuentes have combined for 25 ‘Good Fielding Plays’ at third base this season (think ‘Web Gems’). Arenado, who typically leads third basemen in the stat, has 16.”
Player of the month? First baseman C.J. Cron, whom Black said has markedly improved his defense since the beginning of the season, is a prime candidate for the National League’s player of the month for August.
Cron’s numbers are eye-popping. Entering Saturday night’s game, Cron led the majors in RBIs (27), batting average (.431) and slugging percentage (.897). His seven home runs were tied for the most while his .507 on-base percentage ranked second.
Cron has been a monster at Coors Field. In nine games in August, he’s hit .559 (19-for-34) with six home runs, four doubles, 23 RBIs and a 1.821 OPS.
Entering Saturday, he had seven consecutive multi-hit games at home, the longest home multi-hit streak by a Rockies player since Larry Walker had a string of seven consecutive multi-hit games at Coors Field in 2002. The franchise record is eight, accomplished four times, the last time by Todd Helton and Vinny Castilla in 1999.
Diamondbacks RHP Taylor Widener (1-1, 4.59 ERA) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (7-9, 3.93)
1:10 p.m. Sunday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T Sportsnet
Radio: KOA 630 AM/94.1 FM
Gray will make his 12th start at Coors Field this season and fifth start against the Diamondbacks. He’s 1-1 with a 4.01 ERA in his previous four starts against them. In his career vs. Arizona, Gray is 5-6 with a 4.97 ERA in 16 starts, including a 1-3 record with a 6.33 ERA in eight starts at Coors. Gray had a so-so start in his last outing, giving up three runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings at San Francisco. Over his last three games, all losses, he has a 6.14 ERA. Widener pitched well in his last start but didn’t factor into the decision on Tuesday against Philadelphia. He pitched five innings of one-run ball, giving up two hits and three walks while fanning five. The right-hander has given up two or fewer runs in each of his last two starts, but he’s given up at least one homer in six straight starts. In four games (one start), Widner is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA vs. Colorado.
Trending: Entering Saturday night’s game, the Rockies’ .242 (44-for-192) pinch-hit batting average was the fourth-highest in the National League and their 44 pinch hits were the fifth-most.
At issue: Although the Rockies’ bullpen has pitched better of late — a 3.61 ERA over its last 15 games entering Saturday — relievers are still walking 4.46 batters per nine innings, tied for third-most in the NL.
Monday: Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-9, 4.58) at Cubs LHP Justin Steele (2-2, 3.22 ERA), 6:05 p.m. ATTRM
Tuesday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (11-9, 3.80) at Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (14-5, 4.04), 6:05 p.m., ATTRM
Wednesday: Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (9-7, 4.15) at Cubs TBA, 12:20 p.m., ATTRM
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