DENVER (CBS4)– They say “slow and steady wins the race,” and in baseball that’s almost always true. But that’s not the case in 2020.
“The approach is different because if you lose early on, you typically can make it up on the back end. There’s no back end no more,” Nolan Arenado said. “You have to get off to a good start.”
The luxury of patience that comes with a 162-game season doesn’t apply this season. One game in 2020 will be worth 2.7 times as much as a single game in a normal season.
“If you get off to a hot start, it’s going to be huge,” Arenado said. “Everyone goes through bad streaks in baseball. Bad streaks this year are going to be absolutely killer.”
Everything about this year’s 60-game season will be a sprint – except inside the batter’s box. Rockies manager Bud Black wants his players to take a deep breath, slow down, and stop chasing pitches.
“It was a point of emphasis in Scottsdale. We talked about it over the winter. We talked about it over zoom calls during the shutdown. Now we have to take that mindset into our season about our chase rate. That’s just the bottom line,” Bud Black said.
In 2019, the league average on chase rate was 28.3%. Nolan Arenado’s chase rate was 34.9%, David Dahl’s was 34.8%, and Charlie Blackmon was 30.1%. Amongst the Rockies offensive players with 400+ plate appearances, only Tony Wolters, Ryan McMahon, and Ian Desmond were below the league average.
The Rockies have played two exhibition games before the opener on Friday, and already things are looking much improved.
“If these two games are indications of that, it’s a good sign of things to come,” Black said. “As we go into Friday, we’ll continue to talk about it. It will continue to be a mantra for us. and that’s what it’s going to take for us to be the offense we can be.”
As the Rockies get ready for their Opening Day, they know the most important thing will be embracing whatever weirdness 2020 continues to throw their way.
“2020 man … whatever happens just happens. With everything that’s going on this year, you just roll with the flow,” Arenado said.