FanPost

The Answer to Everything

In the comic science fiction series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", a supercomputer determines that that the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is the number 42.  Unfortunately, the computer was unable to produce the ultimate question itself leaving the mystery of everything still shrouded in darkness.  However, if we assume that the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is "how can the Rockies guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs every year?" then the computer might be on to something. 

What am I talking about? 

The Rockies seasonal record on the road. 

/Ignores the collective groan from the audience

Yeah, yeah, I know we've been over the Rockies poor, pitiful, putrid, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad road record in 2010 quite a bit, but this is an issue that needs to be explored deeper because it holds the key to our success or (and I hope this isn't the case) failure in the future.  It's not just that the Rockies have an atrocious record on the road this season or that they have the embarrassing distinction of being one of just two National League teams along with Washington to NOT HAVE A SINGLE WINNING ROAD TRIP ALL SEASON LONG (try and wrap your brain around that level of epic fail for a moment), it's that the Rockies throughout their history have always been considerably worse on the road than they have at home. 

Take a look at these startling differences between the Rockies home and road records every year since Coors opened in 1995.

 

Year

Road Record

Home Record

Difference in Games

1995

33-39

44-28

11

1996

28-53

55-26

27

1997

36-45

47-34

11

1998

35-46

42-39

7

1999

33-48

39-42

6

2000

34-47

48-33

14

2001

32-49

41-40

9

2002

26-55

47-34

21

2003

25-56

49-32

24

2004

30-51

38-43

8

2005

27-54

40-41

13

2006

32-49

44-37

12

2007

39-42

51-31

11.5

2008

31-50

43-38

12

2009

41-40

51-30

10

2010

24-38

38-20

16 (So far)

Average

32-49

45-36

13

(Note:  When calculating the average records I omitted our 2010 numbers because the season is not over yet)   

A few things should jump out at you when you look at these results.  That 27 game difference between home and road records in 1996 is one, the fact that the Rockies have never won more than 41 games on the road in a season is another, but the idea that the Rockies have been at least six games better at home than on the road every year since Coors opened is the one that amazed me the most.

I know that teams generally play better at home than on the road but to ALWAYS be at least six games better at Coors and average a 13 game difference between home and road records should be sending alarms off in the heads of any Rockie fans everywhere.  Say whatever you want about the "Coors Effect" (or the "Reverse Coors Effect" in this case) but it's clearly making a difference.  So much so that when you evaluate the Rockies, you must evaluate them not as one team playing 162 games, but as two different teams each playing separate 81 game seasons.  It's the only logical way to break down 15 years worth of Rockies teams who despite having the same people on the roster each night have never won more than 41 games on the road, or been victorious fewer than 38 times at home.

Knowing this, I choose to focus on the road Rockies because this is obviously where we can make the biggest improvement.  The goal for the Rockies from every season from here on out should be 42 road wins.  If history holds true, 42 wins by the road Rockie team means the Coors Rockie team will have at least 48 wins and should average 55 (There's always at least a six game difference between the Rockies home/road splits and they average a 13 game split).  That means all the Rockies have to do to get to 90 wins as a starting point in 2011 is go 42-39 on the road, a mere three games over .500 (42 wins on the road + at least 48 wins at Coors = at least 90 wins).  It sounds so easy, too good to be true, and you know what, with the current Rockies roster it is.

Take a look at the career road numbers of some of the everyday guys on the current roster but be careful, they are uglier than the infamous Denny Neagle hooker.

 

Player

Career Road Average

Career Road OBP

Career Road OPS

Miguel Olivo

.241

.280

.691

Chris Iannetta

.222

.347

.759

Todd Helton

.292

.393

.875

Clint Barmes

.224

.264

.616

Tulo

.271

.342

.784

Ian Stewart

.243

.316

.773

Carlos Gonzalez

.260

.302

.705

Dexter Fowler

.215

.309

.643

Seth Smith

.249

.321

.731

Ryan  Spilborghs

.260

.333

.733

Total Average

.248

.321

.731

A few things I'd like to point out.

1) Unfortunately we have to completely throw out Todd Helton's career road numbers when looking at our 2011 team because at this point in his career, I'd be thrilled if Helton could post an .875 OPS at Coors for the season, never mind on the road.

2) Once you take away Helton's numbers, you suddenly realize that road Rockies are fielding a team with a lineup that doesn't have a single guy with a career OPS over .800.  This means that the 2011 road Rockies just like the 2010 road Rockies could be nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.

3) One of the biggest reasons why the 2009 road Rockies were able to go 41-40 was because of Brad Hawpe's .890 road OPS for that season.  (He also has a career road OPS of .840 and was a huge factor in the respectable 2007 road Rockies record of 39-42)  WAR be damned; his absence is going to hurt.

I bring these points to your attention now because I see no way that a team with that lineup can get to 42 wins.  It makes a little league squad look bestial by comparison.  I'm not sure I know what the answer is at this point but the Rockies need to start looking at this issue now because if they don't, 2011 will be just as disappointing as 2010.

I'm not asking for an all world lineup, I just want one that can get the road Rockies win total to 42.

After all, 42 is the answer to everything.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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