Rockies Have to Prove They Can Play With the Big Boys Rest of the Way
The Rockies have played themselves back into the NL West race.
They have done it the hard way.
|June 29-July 1||at LAD||2||1|
|July 13-15||at Sea||3||0|
|July 20-22||at Ari||2||1|
The returned home on Sunday night, prepared to open a two-game series against the defending world champion Houston Astros at Coors Field on Tuesday night having won a franchise record six consecutive series against teams with a winning record. They went 14-4 during that stretch, winning five of six from the Mariners, four of six from the Diamondbacks, two of three from the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, and sweeping three games from the Giants.
That, however, is just the start of what will be an even more challenging finish to the season. With 63 games remaining to play, the Rockies have 18 of their final 20 series against teams that are currently .500 or better.
The only exceptions are two series -- one home and one away -- against the Padres. They have two other series with teams that are .500 -- two games at the Angels, and the season-ending three-game visit to Coors Field by the Nationals.
Rockies Are Facing A Winning Hand
|Tues-Wed||vs. Astros||66-36||1st ALW|
|Fri-Sun||vs. Athletics||57-43||3rd ALW|
|Mon-Aug. 2||at Cardinals||50-49||4th ALC|
|Aug. 3-5||at Brewers||56-45||2nd NLC|
|Aug. 6-8||vs. Pirates||51-49||3rd NLC|
|Aug. 9-12||vs. Dodgers||55-44||1st NLW|
|Aug. 14-15||at Astros||66-36||1st ALW|
|Aug. 16-19||at Braves||53-43||2nd NLE|
|Aug. 21-23||vs. Padres||41-61||5th NLW|
|Aug 24-26||vs. Cardinals||50-49||4th ALC|
|Aug 27-28||at Angels||50-50||4th ALW|
|Aug 30-Sept.2||at Padres||41-61||5th NLW|
|Sept 3-5||vs. Giants||51-50||4th NLW|
|Sept 7-9||vs. Dodgers||55-44||1st NLW|
|Sept 10-13||vs. D-Backs||54-46||2nd NLW|
|Sept. 14-16||at Giants||51-50||5th NLW|
|Sept. 17-19||at Dodgers||55-44||1st NLW|
|Sept 21-23||at D-Backs||54-46||2nd NLW|
|Sept 24-27||vs. Phillies||55-43||1st NLE|
|Sept 28-30||vs. Nationals||49-49||3rd NLE|
There is, however, a benefit in that the Rockies have 35 of their final 63 games at Coors Field. Don't get misled by the fact they are only 23-23 at home this year. The fact they were able to get back to .500 at home by the All-Star Break is an accomplishment in itself.
The Rockies have won 12 of their last 15 games at Coors Field, and they have done it primarily because of a strong effort from the pitching staff. Rockies pitchers have a 3.60 ERA in those 15 games.
Getting Comfortable at Home
A key, manager Bud Black said during the weekend, is to become most consistent in throwing strikes. The Rockies definitely walk fewer batters in wins than losses.
The Rockies do have the challenge of home games being played at Coors Field, but ranking eighth in the NL in walks issued adds to the problem, and plays into the fact they have allowed the second highest average and second highest ERA in the National League. Both of those factors are due in part to high walk totals, which creates more pressure situations for pitchers.
Who's In Control