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Rockies’ offense let them down in NLDS

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The Rockies had a great season. They won 91 games, which was just barely too few to win the NL West as they lost a division tiebreaker game to the Dodgers in game No. 163 of the regular season. But the Rockies were a flawed team and it came to light big time in the NLDS against the Brewers.

The Brewers swept the Rockies in three games, outscoring them 13-2. The Rockies failed to score in 27 of 28 innings. At first blush, it’s surprising since the Rockies had the second-best offense in terms of runs scored per game — their 4.79 rate was second-best in the NL, trailing only the Dodgers at 4.93.

However, everyone knows there’s that a team’s offense can look totally different away from Coors Field and the Rockies are no exception. At home, the Rockies collectively slashed .287/.350/.503. On the road, they collectively slashed .225/.295/.370. More comprehensively, OPS+ (or adjusted OPS) accounts for league and park factors and sets the scale such that 100 is average. As a unit, the Rockies’ offense came in at 90 on the regular season. Nolan Arenado (133), Trevor Story (127), and Charlie Blackmon (115) were big contributors, but everyone else hovered around 100 or below.

In the three NLDS games, Blackmon mustered just one hit in 12 at-bats. Story had two in 12. Arenado had two in 11. Everyone else accumulated nine total hits in 61 at-bats. The entire team drew eight walks in the series. In the rare moments the Rockies had a runner in scoring position, they went 1-for-17.

The Brewers’ pitching staff certainly deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Rockies’ offense on ice. The trio of Corbin Burnes, Corey Knebel, and Josh Hader combined to throw 9 1/3 scoreless innings. But below the surface, the stats showed the Rockies’ offense to be flawed and it definitely showed.

In the offseason, the Rockies will watch second baseman DJ LeMahieu head into free agency, as will Carlos González. Gerardo Parra‘s 2019 option may be declined. Ian Desmond may no longer be deemed starting-caliber. In order to maintain relevance in the NL West, the Rockies will have to make quite a few decisions heading into 2019 and the offense will have to be a major focus.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”