Disastrous. Ugly. Awful.
Disappointing. Pathetic. Mind-blowing.
These were just some of the words used to describe the way the Rockies lost two games at Coors Field this weekend against the Padres. And they were all fitting.
On Friday night, Colorado held an 11-6 lead heading into the ninth inning. They eventually lost 16-12 in 12 innings.
And on Sunday afternoon, the Rockies were up 13-10 when the final frame rolled around. Before they could get three more outs, however, they were down 14-13.
In both instances, the club’s closer, Wade Davis, was on the mound for the meltdown. Given that his job is to lock down wins late in games – usually in tight, pressure-packed situations – blowing seemingly insurmountable leads is cause for concern.
But are there reasons to be worried? Should the Rockies hit the panic button? A look at history suggests it might be premature to get too concerned.
In 2014, Davis officially transitioned from a starter to a relief pitcher. After starting 24 games for the Royals the year before, he became a fixture in Kansas City’s bullpen that season; and he quickly established himself as effective in that role, eventually developing into the closer on a championship-caliber team.
During the next four seasons, Davis converted 79 out of 87 save opportunities with the Royals and Cubs. Along the way, he was nearly un-hittable; his stats from 2014-17 were eye-popping:
2014 = 1.00
2015 = 0.87
2016 = 1.87
2017 = 2.30
OPPONENTS BATTING AVERAGE
2014 = .151
2015 = .144
2016 = .210
2017 = .186
Since coming to Colorado, however, Davis hasn’t shown that kind of dominance. After this weekend, Davis now has as many blown saves in a season-plus with the Rockies as he had in the previous eight seasons combined. And his ERA has ballooned to 5.21 on the season, even worse than last year’s hefty 4.13 number.
In his defense, however, those numbers are inflated due to a terrible series against the Padres. During his three outings against San Diego this weekend, Davis gave up seven runs; he’d only given up four in 19 prior appearances. Davis was also a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities before Friday night.
And last season, despite the semi-ugly numbers, Davis did post a league-leading 43 saves. That’s not exactly a number posted by someone who is unreliable.
So while the short-term has been ugly, a longer view tells a different story. It’s at least earned Davis the chance to fix what ails him.
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) June 17, 2019
Right now, fresh off a pair of painful losses, it’s understandable that fans would want change. But the Rockies would be wise to pump the brakes a bit; larger sample sizes that 48 hours show that Wade Davis is a pretty darn good closer.