Tuesday Rockpile: Breaking Down the Rockies' Issues Against Left-Handed Starters

DENVER, CO - APRIL 16: (L-R) Dexter Fowler #24 and Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies lookk on from the dugout as they were defeated by the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on April 16, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

After last night's pathetic performance against Cory Luebke and the San Diego Padres, the Rockies currently sit at .198/.241/.278 in four games against left-handed starters. Sure, the putrid .519 OPS is only across 137 plate appearances, but to this point, the Rockies' numbers against southpaws has been utterly frightening. In case you're wondering, the Rox have a .900 OPS against right-handed starters, so there's obviously a huge platoon split to get to the bottom of. You might think that everyone in the league performs poorly against lefties, but the Rox are about 50% worse than every other team in the league in this area (their sOPS+ against LHP was 47 entering last night, and might have improved slightly, hence the guess).

What is it going to take to improve in this area? Well, regression to the mean is one theory; last year, the Rockies posted a .730 OPS against southpaws, which was actually in the upper-echelon of the league. And, that was with guys such as Ian Stewart and Seth Smith, who were notoriously bad against lefties. This year, with the additions of right-handed hitters Michael Cuddyer and Marco Scutaro, among others, you'd think that number would get better. Not to mention, oddly enough the Rockies' K% and K-to-BB ratio is better against lefties than against righties. And, their BABIP against southpaws currently sits at .198. All of that stuff is a good sign that simply having a larger sample size will ease some of the pain.

Another theory is that the lefties the Rockies have faced are some of the toughest around. On the surface that sounds like a lie, but Luebke and Barry Zito both have given the Rockies fits in the past couple of seasons, and Wandy Rodriguez has been no slouch in his career. And Madison Bumgarner ? He's one of the top young southpaws in baseball (and was rewarded for it yesterday). So, while some of these guys aren't necessarily world-beaters, it's not the biggest surprise in the world that they've been able to shut down Colorado's fairly explosive lineup.

Still, the Rockies need some work. They cannot continue to hit badly at home and expect to win with the current shape that the rotation is in. When they go on back out on the road, they'll no doubt have some issues at the plate. It happens every year. So, let's just hope that they can get their heads right against the Padres before then.

Off-topic.

Links after the jump...

Rockies Mailbag: Sunday games a real issue for Jim Tracy, Colorado - The Denver Post
A Lakewood resident asks Troy Renck the question we've all been fighting with for a year now. Hopefully Jim Tracy does decide to retool his Sunday rest strategy.

Rockies ground-breaking at academy in Dominican Republic | ColoradoRockies.com: News
The Rockies, who have been reaping the benefits of international scouting for years, took another step in that regard by breaking ground on their state of the art facility in the Dominican. The $6 million project will be ready around this time next year.

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