You know the saying, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is from Tracy Ringolsby's wrap of last night's game:
Francis was the victim of a three-run first inning, when the first four Arizona hitters singled, then three more runs in the second when, after back-to-back singles by Randy Johnson and Chris Young, left- handed-hitting Stephen Drew drove the first pitch he was thrown - a changeup - over the right-field fence.
But that wasn't what ate at Francis.
"What bothers you is we come back and score four (off Johnson), and if I can keep it there, we have some pressure on them, but I don't," Francis said.
Maybe that first inning should be eating Francis a little more.
In the National League this season, teams are scoring an average of .059 runs in the first inning. If that same production were spread over the entire game, it would amount to a run average of 5.27. The Rockies are doing a little better than that offensively, scoring 0.62 runs for a 5.54 nine inning RA. Unfortunately, our pitching staff is starting the team on a pace to give up three runs more that, allowing 0.95 runs in the first inning, which translates to an ugly 8.54 nine inning run average. Last night marked the eighth time this season Rockies pitchers have allowed more than one run in the first, including Mark Redman's 10 run debacle at Dodger Stadium on April 26th.
Here are the run averages -both scored and allowed- of our divisional opponents in the first inning in 2008, ranked by the difference:
Allowed: 4.62 Scored: 8.54 Diff: +3.92
Allowed: 5.68 Scored: 8.05 Diff: +3.37
Allowed: 4.73 Scored: 2.70 Diff: -2.03
Allowed: 6.08 Scored: 3.83 Diff: -2.25
Allowed: 8.54 Scored: 5.54 Diff: -3.00
It should come as no surprise that the two teams doing best in the West this season are also doing best in the first inning. After the drubbings we've taken, I'm sure we've all come to the correct conclusion that the bulk of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers first inning prowess has come at our expense. Last night just continued a theme that's been developing this season of our pitchers digging a deep hole early against these teams that we just can't climb out of.
The Rockies are somewhat predictably just 2-6 when allowing two or more runs in the first. Our two wins in those situations were the April 18th 11-5 victory over Houston when the Astros graciously allowed us to outscore them 6-4 in the first, and last Wednesday's 4-3 comeback win over St. Louis. Typically, however, Rockies fans can feel confident that when the opponent jumps out in front like they did last night, they can turn away and not miss anything. This is not the message the team wants to be sending, but better than rooting for unlikely comebacks would be to have a lead in the first place.