After getting little relief of the pitching kind on a nine-game road trip, the Colorado Rockies look forward now to the relieving comfort of a string of ten games immersed in the welcome surroundings of their Coors Field home. The past two weeks saw the Rockies go 2-7 against Atlanta, Philadelphia and Cleveland, as their league-leading offense scored just over two runs per game. When it is taken into account that 10 of those runs came in the final two games, it is downright unacceptable.
There are any number of other low points realized during the stretch. The failure to win any games in Cleveland marked the first time all season the Rockies have been swept in a series of more than two games. At 28-28 on the year, the team is at .500 for the first time since April 18. After leading MLB in runs and on-base percentage, the Rockies have dropped to third in both of those categories. Pitching was no better. Colorado hurlers surrendered 46 runs in nine games, and their team ERA is now 18th worst in baseball, giving up 4.24 runs per nine innings. Neck-and-neck with the Giants for first place in the NL West when they left Denver, the Rockies return home in third place, 8.5 games behind.
The long baseball season is a series of streaks, however, and a return for 10 games at Coors Field brings reasons for the Rockies to be optimistic. Probably at the top of the list is the free day before beginning a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, against whom they are 4-2 this season. Calling the recent road trip “one of the toughest parts of the schedule,” Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez says “We’re happy to go home and just feel rested…rain-delays, a lot of late-night sleep, it’s tough on the body.” The Rockies are 16-7 at home this year–best in MLB.
In addition to getting back to familiar surroundings, Colorado will have one of their most reliable pitchers on the mound Tuesday for the first game of the series. Jorge De La Rosa has won six straight decisions after losing three in a row to begin the season. After giving up 15 earned runs in his first four games (19 innings), De La Rosa has become quite stingy. In a six-game span, starting with a win over the Giants on April 21, he has allowed only 8 runs in 37 innings of work. It all adds up to an ERA of 1.95 during his winning streak. (It should be noted that De La Rosa is the pitcher of record in a game against the Giants which was suspended after three innings with the score tied 2-2. Neither of the San Francisco runs, however, was earned.) De La Rosa’s 3.66 ERA is second-best on the team behind only Jordan Lyles (3.45).
In the hitting department, even though it was a dismal nine games for the offense, Troy Tulowitzki continues to have an MVP-type season. Tulo leads the team in batting average (.350), home runs (14), on-base percentage (.450) and hits (63). Charlie Blackmon leads the team in the other major offensive category, RBI, with 38. For all the hitting woes suffered by the Rockies on the road, it was no fault of Corey Dickerson, who hit homers on Saturday and Sunday at Cleveland. Dickerson went 6 for 18 in the nine road games (.333), with three of hits going for extra bases.
The welcome relief of a return to Coors Field begins on Tuesday with De La Rosa going against Arizona rookie Chase Anderson, who is 3-0 this season with an ERA of 4.02. The home stand will include two more games against the Diamondbacks followed by three with the Dodgers and a four-game set against the Atlanta Braves. Monday’s day off is the last free day for the Rockies until June 19.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies