Home Sick Rockies Look for Road Redemption -- Again
The Rockies had run off their first four-game Coors Field winning streak of the season. They had clinched a winning homestand for the first time in 2018. They had climbed back to .500, and they had two more home games against a Marlins team that had the worst record in the NL.
There was a buzz about a chance to get back into the mix of the NL West title chase.
And then. ...
Well, the Marlins still have the worst record in the NL, but everything else has changed. The Marlins swept the final two games of the weekend series at Coors Field, the Rockies falling 6 1/2 games back in the NL West.
And this week. ...
The Rockies embark on a six-game visit to California -- three games against the Giants at AT&T Park, where they are 63-104 (.377) all-time, starting Tuesday night, and three games at Dodger Stadium, where they are 79-130 (.378) all time, for the weekend.
It's not pretty, and the Rockies know it, particularly after back-to-back losses of 6-2, and 8-5 to the Marlins.
"It's not a good homestand, winning homestand or not," Nolan Arenado said in the aftermath of Sunday's rain-delayed loss. "We lost this series, and to lose like we did. The last couple of days have been bad. It's been frustrating, but guys are working hard."
The results, however, aren't there.
Even with that first winning homestand of the season -- 4-3 -- the Rockies are 15-22 at Coors Field, the second-worst home record in the NL. The only team worse? The Marlins at 14-21.
Concern? Well, since 1995, the year Coors Field opened, the Rockies had a losing record in only eight of the 23 seasons, and their combined .549 winning percentage at Coors Field is the fifth-best home mark among NL teams in that time, behind only the Cardinals, Braves, Giants and Dodgers.
|At Coors Field|
|Tyler Anderson||2018||1||3||0.25 0||5.26|
The bullpen has been a focal point for the failures, but the rotation has had its challenges, too, particularly at Coors Field. Denver native Kyle Freeland was successful at home a year ago, and is even better this year. The four other starters, however, have struggled at Coors Field, their ERA in 2018 significantly higher than in the past.
Chad Bettis, in fact, was 12-5 with a combined 4.68 ERA in 25 starts at Coors Field in 2015-16, the two full years he spent in the rotation prior to his battle with testicular cancer last year. Bettis, Jon Gray and German Marquez all have seen their ERA at Coors Field increase by more than three runs per nine innings this season from their previous career totals.
Freeland, meanwhile, has seen his ERA drop below 3.00 to 2.75, and is 4-2 at Coors Field, the only starter with a winning record at Coors Field this year.
The Rockies do have some options they can consider if the struggles continue. Antonio Senzatela came off the disabled list at Triple-A Albuquerque during the weekend, and returned to the rotation. He opened the season in the Rockies bullpen but was sent to Albuquerque so he could start and get stretched out.
Jeff Hoffman has been working in relief with the Rockies lately, but he, too, is considered a starting pitcher and could be inserted into the rotation, as well, if the Rockies decided to make a change.
The bullpen, meanwhile, figures to get a remodel beginning this week. Scott Oberg and Mike Dunn will make rehab assignment appearances Monday night for High-A Lancaster at Modesto, rejoin the Rockies in San Francisco on Tuesday, and be ready to be activated Wednesday.
Carlos Estevez, meanwhile, joined Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday to begin his medical rehab, which will start with him making three relief appearances with two days in between each one, and then adjust to pitching every other day, after which a decision will be made on whether to activate hi at the big-league level or assign him to Triple-A Albuquerque.
|Ian on a Roll|
Offensively, the Rockies have addressed issues, starting with a resurgence by Ian Desmond, and then the call-up of catcher Tom Murphy, who provides an offensive threat behind the plate. In the last 14 games, Desmond has hit .319, raising his season average from .190 to .223, and he has a .473 on-base percentage, compared to .263 prior to the last 14 games.
Murphy has appeared in only nine games since his recall, but he has hit .306. He hit .289 with 16 home runs at Triple-A Albuquerque before his call up. Chris Iannetta, meanwhile, has hit .234 this season, and Tony Wolters has a .149 average.
Every regular in the lineup -- other than catcher and first base -- is hitting .264 or higher.