During spring training, on a bulletin board inside the Rockies' clubhouse at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz., a chart detailed each pitcher's ability to induce groundballs. There also was a chart tracking strike-throwing efficiency. The charts were labeled "Rockies Absolutes." In the bullpen areas on the complex's back fields, parallel lines of string extended across home plate, with the top string at knee level and the bottom string 6 inches lower. The idea was for pitchers to hit their targets and keep balls low in the strike zone. It may have been seen simply as a rite of spring, and perhaps a little gimmicky. But the thing is, the Rockies' pitchers bought into it — heart, soul and sinker. Perhaps that helps explain why the Rockies have opened the season with a 5-1 record, have five quality starts and have a rotation with a 2.78 ERA. OK, it's early in the season. But considering that last year's Rockies starters had a mile-high ERA of 5.81, the progress is heartening. Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin certainly has embraced the club's groundball mantra. Masterfully mixing his changeup and two-seam fastball, he held the San Diego Padres to one run and six hits over 6 innings Sunday as the Rockies rolled to a 9-1 win and competed a three-game sweep at Coors Field.
Rockies' ground game from starting rotation off to strong start
Denver Post | Apr 8