Elsa/Getty ImagesAfter enduring the worst year of his MLB career Joe Maddon Jersey , Matt Holliday will reportedly reunite with the Colorado Rockies after agreeing to a minor league deal on Saturday with the team that drafted him, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman.Although he was an All-Star in 2012 and 2015, the 38-year-old's offense has generally trended downward following the 2011 season. He batted .296, slugged .525 and finished with a .912 OPS then, and almost every year since, his OPS fell compared to the year before.Things reached a nadir for Holliday in 2017. In 105 games for the New York Yankees, he had a .231/.316/.432 slash line along with 19 home runs and 64 RBI. And despite logging the third-fewest plate appearances of his career (427), he struck out his third-most times in a single season (114).In particular, Holliday struggled when opposing pitchers attacked him with something other than a fastball. According to Brooks Baseball http://www.chicagocubsteamshop.com/authentic-willson-contreras-jersey , he had an 8.72 percent whiff rate on fastballs. That number climbed to 18.38 percent for breaking balls and 22.09 percent for off-speed pitches.Some expected Holliday to have a bounce-back 2017 after he batted .253 on balls in play in 2016, per FanGraphs. Instead, it may be fair to wonder whether the fractured thumb he suffered in August 2016 had had a long-lasting effect on his swing.In the team's press release announcing his signing, the Yankees noted Holliday had an average exit velocity of 94.7 mph, which was third-best among hitters with at least 100 batted balls in play. According to Baseball Savant, his average exit velocity fell to 89.9 mph in 2017.No slugger is immune to the aging curve, and the thumb injury may have accelerated his inevitable decline.Holliday's 19 homers illustrate he still boasts plenty of power. The problem is that power came far more inconsistently than it did when he was in his prime with the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals.In September, NJ Advance Media's Brendan Kuty speculated Holliday wouldn't be back in New York in 2018. In addition to the player's underwhelming offense, Kuty noted he is almost exclusively a designated hitter now since he can't regularly play one of the three outfield positions anymore.However Albert Almora Jr Jersey , Kuty also wrote that Holliday "has been a huge mentor to Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier and likely other hitters we don't know about." As well as hoping for Holliday to turn things around at the plate in 2018, the Rockies may be counting on him to have a similar impact inside their clubhouse.Stats are courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted. Harry How/Getty ImagesThe Los Angeles Dodgers are National League West champions for the sixth straight season.Los Angeles defeated the Colorado Rockies 5-2in Monday's divisional tiebreaker game at Dodger Stadium behind a brilliant performance from starter Walker Buehler. He allowed just one hit and three walks in 6.2 scoreless innings while striking out three to ensure the Rockies didn't win their first NL West crown.Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy provided much of the offense with two-run homers, and Buehler even helped himself with an RBI single. One-Two Punch of Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw Makes Dodgers NL FavoritesThe emergence of Buehler in the Dodgers' rotation means the team that represented the National League in last year's World Series is primed to do so again this year.Buehler came out firing heat while mixing in filthy breaking balls to keep hitters off balance. It may have been the biggest start of his young career, but he has done nothing but thrive in the pressure-packed division race as evidenced by the two combined earned runs he allowed in his final three September starts.Jon Morosi jonmorosiWalker Buehler鈥檚 first eight pitches were fastballs. The slowest traveled 97 mph. The Dodgers ascendant ace looks sharp early. MLBNetwork MLBChad Moriyama ChadMoriyamaBuehlers new slider is filthy. Not necessarily cause of the movement but you have to cover 99 mph four and 93 mph cut as well.MLB MLB.buehlersdayoff can do it all. #Game163 ClrGL9Rp6pRockies manager Bud Black knew what he was up against."This kid is a really good pitcher鈥攁 big fastball at 97, 98 miles per hour with a good curveball, and he's athletic with a good feel for the slider while also mixing in the change," Black said, perKyle Newmanof theDenver Post. "He's a [first-round] pick Kyle Hendricks Jersey , a college pitcher who's been built the right way."The right-hander entered Monday's game with a 2.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 130.2 innings and gives the Dodgers another ace alongside Clayton Kershaw.The one-two punch of Kershaw and Buehler can control a series by starting up to four games. They need little run support as it is, and a powerful Dodgers lineup featuring the likes of Justin Turner, Muncy and Manny Machado, among others, is capable of providing it in spades.There is plenty of talent on the Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs, but any of them face an uphill battle dealing with Buehler and Kershaw multiple times throughout a series while attempting to trade punches with the Los Angeles lineup.Rockies' Offensive Road Woes Will Cost Them Shot at World SeriesSometimes sports narratives are based on truth http://www.chicagocubsteamshop.com/authentic-mike-montgomery-jersey , and the idea the Rockies can't hit away from Coors Field was on full display Monday with the division title hanging in the balance.Colorado was second in the National League in runs scored this season, but playing in the thin Denver air bolstered that production. Buehler silenced the visitors' bats throughout the game, and the Rockies couldn't get to Pedro Baez or Kenta Maedafrom the bullpen either before Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story homered off Kenley Jansen.Rick Krajewski Rick_K21The Rockies averaged 5.50 runs/game in the month of September...however most of that production took place at homeRockies offense (in September)At home =7.12 runs/game amp;lt; - - 1st in NLOn road = 3.00 runs/game amp;lt; - - 13th in NL#Dodgers have held them to 0 so far todayMcCovey Chronicles McCoveyChronRockies since August 1st:HOME: 5.833 runs/gameROAD: 3.58 runs/game (shutout 3x)The Rockies won't have home-field advantage against the Cubs in the Wild Card Game or the Brewers in a potential Division Series, meaning their offensive woes on the road will linger over them as they pursue their first World Series championship in franchise history.DJ LeMahieu, David Dahl, Carlos Gonzalez and Ian Desmond combined for zerohits in Monday's loss, which is a formula that cannot happen if Colorado hopes to play deep into October.Unfortunately for Rockies fans, that decreased offensive production away from home is a familiar formula.Jon Lester, Schedule Leave Rockies in Even Bigger HoleColorado's offensive road woes will be under the spotlight again with its back against the wall heading into Tuesday's elimination contest.Not only do the Rockies have to fly to Chicago from Los Angeles in an immediate turnaround following a disappointing showing Ian Happ Jersey , but they also have to face Cubs ace Jon Lester in a must-win scenario. They won't be able to counter with German Marquez after he started Monday's contest and allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out nine in 4.2 innings.Tony Andracki TonyAndracki23What gives Steve Cishek confidence the Cubs are gonna win the wild-card game?Two words: quot;Jon Lester.quot;Chris Emma CEmma670Daniel Murphy: quot;Well come out tomorrow at 7:00 and hand Jonny Lester the ball, [and] I dont know if theres anybody better in the big leagues in a situation like this.quot;Colorado would love to have him at its disposal after he wasnamedNational League Pitcher of the Month in September for posting a 2.14 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 33.2 innings during the month.Lester has cemented his legacy with his postseason performances. He sports a World Series crown and National League Championship Series MVP on his resume and has a 2.55 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 25 playoff appearances.He has been an anchor for Chicago's recent success, tallying a 1.88 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in three postseason appearances last year and a 2.02 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in six postseason appearances in 2016 as the Cubs won the World Series.There is nobody Chicago would rather be pitching in Tuesday's single-elimination clash, which spells trouble for the Colorado lineup.What's Next?The Rockies' season will be on the line Tuesday in the National League Wild Card Game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, while the Dodgers turn their attention to a Division Series showdown with the Atlanta Braves.
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