As usual, I get behind in my various projects and grand designs for this blog, so this post will be sparse on comment and long on conjecture, but I just want to push forward a couple of things I'm looking at.
First Point: I don't buy the popularly circulated humidor on/humidor off theory to describe the last couple of months in the season.
The main reason why is because if true, I wouldn't expect to see the Rockies' road RA average spike in conjunction with the home RA spike pointed to as the time when Coors Field started playing like Coors of old. By homestand, these are the runs allowed per game by Rockies pitchers:
Runs Allowed per game for each homestand:
Runs allowed per game for each road trip:
My guess for the reason why Rockies pitchers experienced this collapse still is altitude related, but due mainly to fatigue. Remember that the Rockies had the second most stable rotation in the majors last season, with their top four starters all logging at least 31 starts apiece, and Byung Hyun Kim clocking in at 27. This accounted for 950 2/3 innings of the total 1447 1/3 pitched by the Rockies in 2006, or 65.7%. Because of their relative success up to that point, the percentage was even higher on August 1.
This is why the prospect of Brian Lawrence coming into the rotation in the middle of May intrigues me. Why I'm hoping we can keep Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, or Greg Reynolds relatively fresh for a mid-season arrival from the minors. It seems that the deeper our staff goes into the season intact, the more perilous are chances at maintaining momentum become.
Second Point: More bad news. Take a look at the homestand run averages again. Those four wherein the Rockies kept opponents scoring below three runs per game stick out, and they were the reason for much of the speculation about humidor tampering that came about last season. I think this theory was mostly hogwash based on some fairly flimsy circumstantial evidence, but that leaves the alternative, which is just as discouraging if not more if you're a Rockies fan: that the four low-scoring homestands were a fluke, unlikely to be repeated to that degree in 2007 or any given season hereafter. Part of the reason they happened were because of the long grass in the infield, which helps Aaron Cook in particular. Another part of why they occurred likely has to do with the hitting background -which aids in the deception of pitches from Jeff Francis and Byung Hyun Kim- but there also seems to be a strong luck component involved here.
Third Point: Might as well put up the lists for run production on offense as well, as this is a bit more optimistic:
Runs scored per game for each homestand:
Just to check, though, here are the road numbers:
Runs scored per game for each road trip:
Looking at it in the context of the positive changes our lineup underwent at the time, it's a confidence boost heading into 2007 that the momentum will carry forward. I can't say the same about our pitching situation, as we'll need to monitor our arms carefully to ensure another collapse like 2006 isn't in order.