DENVER (AP) — Tough times and bad timing defined the Colorado Rockies’ hugely disappointing season that began with high hopes of ending the Dodgers’ dominance out West but unraveled under the dual demons of frustration and failure. The pitching was horrendous, from the starters to the closers. Ace Kyle Freeland’s mystifying plunge produced a cascading effect on the pitching staff and led to a bullpen implosion.

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 29: Sam Hilliard #43 of the Colorado Rockies reacts to scoring in the 13th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers as Ian Desmond #20 of the Colorado Rockies congratulates him at Coors Field on September 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Colorado won 4-3 in 13 innings. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)

The bats couldn’t bail out the Blake Street Blunders once superstar Nolan Arenado endured a mid-summer slump.

“This is obviously not the season that we wanted to have,” shortstop Trevor Story said as the Rockies wrapped up a 71-91 campaign that ended their two-year playoff run and sent them into an offseason of uncertainty. “We had some high expectations that we really didn’t come close to meeting.”

DENVER, COLORADO – SEPTEMBER 28: Trevor Story #27 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated by Nolan Arenado #28 after hitting a walk off home in the tenth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on September 28, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“I thought we were going to be good,” Arenado agreed.

Although, he acknowledges that the Rockies sort of saw this coming when the front office let DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino leave last winter, not only hurting the Rockies’ lineup and bullpen but taking something away from the clubhouse culture.

DENVER, COLORADO – SEPTEMBER 28: Trevor Story #27 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a walk off home in the tenth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on September 28, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“To be honest, no Ottavino, no DJ, I thought that would have an effect,” Arenado said. “And it kind of did. But I thought we were going to still win. I thought we still had a chance to be good, but we lost a lot of pieces.”

A lot of games, too.

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 16: Jon Gray #55 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the Miami Marlins in the eighth inning of a game at Coors Field on August 16, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The Rockies finished 35 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, their biggest hole since their inaugural 1993 season when they finished 37 games behind the Braves in the old West Division.

The Colorado castoffs helped the Yankees win the AL East with LeMahieu (.327, 29 homers, 102 RBIs) and Ottavino (1.90 ERA over 66 1-3 innings) making Rockies fans rue their departures.

Major injuries included those to All-Star outfielder David Dahl (ankle), left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson (knee) and top prospect Brendan Rodgers (shoulder).

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 17: Charlie Blackmon #19 of the Colorado Rockies makes a diving catch for an out in the ninth inning of a game against the Miami Marlins at Coors Field on August 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

“Baseball’s a tough game, and I think we had just kind of a weird, bad year to where we didn’t hit at the right times, we didn’t pitch at the right times,” Story said.
“Just bad timing.”

Other takeaways from the Rockies’ rocky 2019 campaign:

JUNKYARD JULY

The Rockies overcame a 3-12 start to get to 40-34 only to see it all fall apart in July when they went 6-19, the worst full month in the franchise’s 27-year history.

Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates after hitting a ninth inning walk off two-run homer against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on August 14, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

“We didn’t hit much in July. We didn’t pitch (well) in July, either,” manager Bud Black said. “That’s a bad combo.”

JUNE SWOON

SAN DIEGO, CA – AUGUST 10: Raimel Tapia #15 of the Colorado Rockies reacts after striking out during the during the eighth inning of a baseball game agains the San Diego Padres at Petco Park August 10, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Two games against San Diego in mid-June foretold of the problems that lay ahead. The Rockies led by six runs heading into the ninth of the June 14 game and lost in 12 innings. Two days later, Wade Davis gave up four in the ninth in a 14-13 loss.

DAHL STALL

Dahl was putting together a solid year when a high right ankle sprain on Aug. 2 ended a breakout season in which he hit .302 with 15 homers.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – JULY 09: David Dahl #26 of the Colorado Rockies participates in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field on July 09, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“The numbers speak for themselves. I wish it could’ve been through the end of the year and it really could’ve been something,” Black said. “But that’s a lot to build on.”

FUTURE FUEL

“Times like this, it’s hard to see if we’re going to recover or not. Time will tell,” Arenado said. “I mean, we have to. We have to get better because these teams in our division are getting way better.”

Story, for one, will use 2019 as a motivation for 2020.

“I know this year is going to make us super hungry for next year and our offseason workouts,” he said.

By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Sports Writer

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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