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DENVER – Pace of play has been a major discussion in MLB for the last several seasons and the debate has ramped up since Rob Manfred took over in the commissioner’s office. He has started experimenting with pitch clocks in the minors and other odd rules—like not having to throw actual pitches for intentional walks—all in the name of reducing game time.
And even though the Colorado Rockies have one of the youngest pitching staffs in MLB, this hasn’t prevented them from working quickly and confidently, currently ranking at fifth (according to Fangraphs) in the National League for the fastest pace between pitches thrown.
“We don’t talk about [it] but we as a group like the fact that our pitchers are the aggressor,” manager Bud Black said before Saturday’s game against the Giants. “Get the ball, get your sign, and deliver your pitch. And our guys, that’s the natural way they do it, it’s not something we talked about in spring training or y’know any points in time since I’ve been here. Now, I can’t speak to player development, whether this happened early in the minor leagues with some of these fellas, that might be a question, I’m not sure.
Even though it isn’t by specific design, or at least not by his, Black says he is a fan of the style.
“I do like the pace these guys work at. I think that helps them. I know it definitely helps our defense. When you’re throwing strikes and getting outs and you’re in and out, I think that sets the tone for a good team feel about how to play a game.”
The Rockies have done a lot of tone-setting early. They are working fast, they are holding leads, they are 7-0 in one-run games and they are playing sound fundamental and sometimes extraordinary defense.
Sometimes the first month of a baseball season is all about establishing an identity and a deeply held belief that you can succeed based upon that identity. And that is what the Colorado Rockies feel they have done in April of 2017. There’s a lot of baseball to play, but right now the Rockies like who they see when they look in the mirror.