Rockies Are Finally At Home On the (Front) Range -- Again
A week ago, the Rockies were coming off being swept in a three-game series by the Dodgers, spending an off day in Phoenix, awaiting a weekend series with the Diamondbacks, the public ready to call it a season in light of the Rockies having fallen 2 1/2 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West with 10 games to play.
Oh ye, of little faith.
|Aug. 16-19||at Braves||4||25|
|June 15-17||at Rangers||3||23|
|June 5-7||at Reds||3||20|
|May 17-20||at Giants||4||20|
|*Game to play|
The Rockies completed a four-game sweep of the Phillies at Coors Field on Thursday not only having won six in a row, but having suddenly regained their offensive prowress, scoring 39 runs in the four-game visit by the Phillies, their highest scoring series of the season.
And they not only were sitting in first-place in the NL West, a game over the Dodgers, but also have the same record as the NL East champion Braves. Big deal? Yes. If the Rockies and Braves were to finish the season with the same record, the Rockies would have the home-field advantage in the best-of-five NL Division Series by virtue of having won five of seven games against Atlanta in the regular season.
at home since June 19
When the season started, the home-field was no advantage to the Rockies. They lost 20 of their first 31 games at Coors Field. But then they regained that Coors Field magic, and after the sweep of the Phillies they maintained the best home-field record in the NL since June 19.
They have won 10 of 15 home series since then, splitting two games with the Astros in one of the other five. As for Atlanta, they swept a four-game series in thier only visit to that city this year, scoring 25 runs in the four games in mid-August.
“It helps any team to be at home,” said center fielder Charlie Blackmon. “We are comfortable here. From a psychological standpoint, you are not coming of the road, adjusting to altitude.
“It helps in that sense. You are going to get tired at this point of the season, but you feel like the fan support can carry you. The momentum here can carry you.”
But the Rockies know they can’t get too comfortable.
They know that things can change in a hurry, particularly at Coors Field.
Even in their stretch of success they have hit detours, like losing two of three to the Pirates Aug. 6-8 or the Cardianls Aug. 24-26 or three of four to the Dodgers Sept. 7-9. Hey, early in the turnaround they even lost two of three at Coors Field to a Marlins team that has the worst record in the National League (62-96), and is an NL worst 24-53 on the road — seven fewer wins than the next worst road effort in the league.
“We still have three more (games at home),” said Carlos Gonzalez. “Anything can happen in three days. We have been playing the way we wanted to play all year long. In the beginning of the year, we understood at some point we would click in and play the way we want to.
“Right now our pitching has been tremendous and we are scoring a lot of runs.”
|at Coors Field|
|Since June 19||W||L||ERA|
But then the pitching has been the most consistent aspect for the Rockies this year, particularly the rotation. The current five-man alignment is a combined 19-8 at Coors Field since June 19 with a 3.34 ERA.
Kyle Freeland, in particuarly, has been a major factor at Coors Field, where he has a 2.05 ERA, a franchise record by more than half a run.
Freeland, in fact, has the third lowest home ERA among National League starting pitchers at 2.36, trailing only Jacob deGrom of the Mets, and Miles Mikolas of the Cardinals. There are only 10 NL starting pitchers with a home ERA below 3.00.
Just as importantly, the Rockies offense has regained its comfort zone at Coors Field, which doesn’t bode well for visiting pitchers.
They are leading the National League in runs scored at home. That’s not surprising given their history, but what is a bit surprising is they have regained the NL lead after they ranked 11th in the league in runs scored through June 18. They are second in the NL to the Nationals since June 19, but the combined total gives them an edge on the Nationals, even though they have played four fewer home games.
Back on Track at Home
|Thru June 18||R||AVG||Since June 19||R||AVG||Seasons||R||AVG|