What Is Happening with the Colorado Rockies?

Don't look now, but the Colorado Rockies have somehow won six games in a row. Let's take a look at what's been going right for them.

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 12: Elehuris Montero #44 and Ezequiel Tover #14 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate their win against the Texas Rangers at Coors Field on May 12, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The hottest team in baseball right now?

That would be the Colorado Rockies with a 6-game winning streak that includes sweeping the defending champion Texas Rangers last weekend — just as we all predicted.

Seriously, how does, literally, the worst team in baseball less than a week ago go from that to being the hottest team in the sport?

Well, it’s complicated.

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To be clear, the Rockies are still a bad baseball team. Their 14-28 record is no aberration, and it’s unlikely that they’ll be following in the footsteps of the 2019 Washington Nationals. Plus, any time the Rockies and San Diego Padres play a series, weird things are going to happen. It’s just a fact.

Maybe it will involve a swarm of bees. Maybe there will be some kind of plumbing mishap. Maybe there will be a rare rain delay at Petco Park. And there will surely be more strange scoring swings than it’s possible to recount here (including a game with 11 walks that the Rockies would eventually win).

The only sure thing when these two teams meet is chaos.

In the course of the last week, the Rockies have gone from being the only team without a series win to sweeping the Rangers and winning a series with the Padres. It’s a big change.

Have the Rockies suddenly found that “LoDo Magic” that’s been missing since 2018?

Probably not. But they are getting better. Here’s how.

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How are the Rockies Putting Together a Win Streak?

Ryan McMahon has become consistent — The Rockies’ Gold-Glove finalist third baseman always had the power, but the consistency was missing. He would get flaming hot followed by periods of being unable to hit. Something’s changed this season. He has a K% of 27.5%, down from 31.6% last season. His BB% is a career high 12.1%. And he just keeps making contact, leading the Rockies with six home runs. McMahon has discussed his swing adjustments, and they’re working. This season, he’s easily been the best player on a bad Rockies team.

Brenton Doyle is getting on base — Doyle, who won a Gold Glove last season as a rookie, was one of MLB’s best defensive players. His offense, however, was not good — as in a wRC+ of 43 (yes, you read that right). Like McMahon, Doyle made significant swing adjustments, and he’s become one of the Rockies best offensive players. This season, he’s slashing .282/.335/.450 with a wRC+ of 108. You read that right, too. In short, Doyle’s offensive game has been transformed. One of his best offensive tools is his speed, but it’s difficult for a player to steal bases unless he’s able first to get on base. Even with those dismal offensive numbers, Doyle managed 22 stolen bases in 2023. This season, Doyle has already grabbed eight bags. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of his improved offense.

Ezequiel Tovar is becoming a more mature hitter — Tovar’s defensive chops were never in doubt (he was a Gold Glove finalist last season as a rookie), and hints of offensive skill were there, but he just couldn’t lay off those outside breaking pitches. Despite a K% of 27.0% and a wRC+ of 70 in 2023, Tovar still finished the season with 15 home runs and seven stolen bases. Perhaps most remarkable, he hit 37 doubles. At Coors Field, a ballpark that is all about doubles, Tovar has the makings of a hitting wizard. He’s still striking out too much (31.1%), but the wRC+ is up to 99, and he’s making more consistent contact. In short, he’s becoming more dependable offensively.

Brendan Rodgers has survived another cold April — Rodgers is a notoriously slow starter. Seriously, for Brendan Rodgers, April truly is the cruelest month. He has a career OPS+ of 40 in April; when the calendar flips to May, that rises to 113 — and it will stay around that mark for the rest of the season. Like clockwork, in 2024, the calendar turned, and Rodgers found his swing. He’s still working on improving his numbers (.267/.313/.348), but a Rodgers at-bat no is no longer destined to be a K or a groundout to short. Meanwhile, his defense remains exceptional. Rumor has it that the Rockies would like to trade Rodgers to make room for top prospect Adael Amador, who will become a free agent in 2026. If Rodgers can continue to improve offensively and stay healthy, that could happen this season.

Cal Quantrill was what the rotation needed — In 2023, the Rockies’ starting rotation was devastated. By the end of the season, none of the organization’s starters remained with Germán Márquez and Antonio Senzatela lost to Tommy John surgery. That the Rockies would be looking for starting pitchers in the offseason was clear, and Quantrill was the first one they acquired. The arrangement has worked out. Still, it’s difficult to evaluate Quantrill’s early starts with the Rockies given shoddy defense and little run support. But that’s changing. Quantrill’s won his last three starts by striking out 19 and allowing only two runs through 19 2/3 innings. That’s a 0.92 ERA. Whether he can continue at this pace remains unknown. After all, Coors Field is absolutely brutal on pitchers. But Quantrill has been a bright spot in an otherwise-uneven starting rotation.

There are other things working for the Rockies, too. For example, their defense has improved. (It was very bad at the start of the season.) Like Rodgers, Elehuris Montero, whose underlying hitting metrics are sound but has terrible luck, is beginning to make contact. Nolan Jones, who led the team in 2023, has missed the last two weeks with a back injury but should be back soon.

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The bullpen, however, remains volatile. Tyler Kinley has yet to return to his 2022 form, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will close a given game. Will Nick Mears or Justin Lawrence find the strike zone? Who knows? But when they do, they’re very, very good.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how long the winning can continue. Part of this new trend stems from younger players getting more time and improving; part of it is just in the nature of baseball. Still, for a beleaguered Rockies team and their fans, this winning streak has been welcomed like a Coors beer on a hot summer day.