Colorado Rockies' middle relief should improve after bad 2014 – Purple Row
The likes of Matt Belisle, Nick Masset and others have been replaced by better options to bridge the gap between the starting pitchers and the back end of the bullpen.
The bullpen, like most areas of the team, was a weak spot for the Colorado Rockies in 2014. Two pitchers in particular killed the Rockies’ efforts to keep games in hand between the time the starting pitchers usually exited the game and the back end of the relief unit took over.
Three pitchers in particular were extremely bad — and in a fairly decent sample size — when pitching to opponents in the fifth through seventh innings:
The sixth inning wasn’t great, but the seventh inning? Absolutely atrocious. More than a third of the total batters in the seventh inning against the Rockies last season faced either Belisle, Brothers, or Masset, and the results of those plate appearances were most often somewhere between All-Star level and Hall of Fame worthy. It’s no coincidence that the Rockies allowed sixth- and seventh-inning runs at a rate of nearly double the league average, per Baseball-Reference, and lost 23 games in which they were either ahead or tied entering the seventh frame.
The good news is that the front end of the bullpen has undergone a bit of a facelift, either by new acquisitions or shuffling of the incumbent staff, and should also benefit from help on the horizon.
Middle relief ace
Tommy Kahnle had a very good, very underrated rookie season after the Rockies selected him in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. Things went off the rails a bit when the club began using him in later innings, but there was hardly a more dependable guy on the roster to bridge the gap than Kahnle.
Compare Kahnle’s numbers to the guys in the table above (adding the fifth inning to illustrate his worth in the middle part of the game):
Kahnle struggled in the fourth inning and had his troubles in the eighth, but he could be counted on night in and night out to bail out the starters and give Colorado’s setup man and closer the chance to come through in high-leverage situations. Now that Kahnle has been in the majors for a full year after being thrown into the fire, he should be expected to improve, especially in the area of strikeouts. His stuff is good … – Click Here To Visit Article Source