Rockies Take to Road, Looking to Build Off Late-Inning Magic
Rockies manager Bud Black preaches the one game at a time mentality.
He talks about how the Rockies know how to celebrate a big win, like those three late-inning victories the last three games at Coors Field against the Dodgers, which included back-to-back walk-off wins, without suffering a hangover the next game.
Now they are in Houston, opening a two-game series against the AL West-leading, defending world champion Astros on Tuesday night.
"What's important is each and every game is a new entity, and our guys come to play each and every night," he said after Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers. "On the flight to Houston (Sunday night) we will feel good about this game, but our guys also know we are in for a tough test this week, the Astros and the Braves. It's part of August and September when you are in it."
And yes, the Rockies are "in it" after taking those final three games from the Dodgers, they are in second place in the NL West, a game back of the Diamondbacks and percentage points ahead of the Dodgers.
They are 3 1/2 back in the NL wild-card race.
There are, however, 44 games remaining. There is no time to kick back and relax. Celebrations are for October, not August. And as much as a physical game, right now it's a mental challenge, and Blacks gives the Rockies a passing grade, so far.
"Mentally we are doing the right things late in the game," he said. "This time of year guys can get a little physically tired from the dog days of August and the heat. I want to make sure mentally we are ready for the later part of the game. We are doing everything we can to keep these guys physically fresh. the mental part is the challenge."
And the Astros are certainly a challenge. They have dominated the Rockies since moving to the American League.
Rockies vs. Astros in Inter-League Play
|July 24-25||vs. Hou||1||1||0||0||19||11||10||8||2||7||17|
|June 17-18, 2015||vs. Hou||0||2||0||0||18||26||16||16||6||6||22|
|June 15-16, 2015||at Hou||0||2||0||0||16||20||14||14||6||7||19|
|Coors Field||ERA 6.05||1||5||55||58||39||37||11||19||56|
|Minute Maid||ERA 4.42||1||3||1||1||36.2||34||18||18||6||14||31|
Since the Astros made the move to the AL in 2013, their 8-2 record against the Rockies is the fourth best winning percentage of any AL team -- the best of any AL team that has played more than six games against the Rockies in that stretch.
Rockies vs. AL Teams Since 2013
The visit to Atlanta will be interesting. While the Rockies lost two of three to the Braves at Coors Field in the first home series of the season, the Rockies have actually had success in recent years against the Braves. It is a stark contrast from the Rockies early years, when the Braves were in the midst of winning a record-setting 15 consecutive division titles.
The Rockies went 6-30 against the Braves in their first three years of existence, including losing all 13 games in the Rockies inaugural season of 1993.
The Rockies have won the season series from the Braves the last three years.
A Brave New World
In fact, since the start of 2015, the Rockies have a higher winning percentage against the Braves than any other team in the National League.