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Past & Present: The Historical Interleague Preview

With Interleague play beginning tomorrow, a look at how the Rockies have fared against this year's AL opponents, including one who was an NL team until this year.

The Rockies were just 2-13 in Interleague games in 2012, but have historically had success against American League opposition.
The Rockies were just 2-13 in Interleague games in 2012, but have historically had success against American League opposition.
Doug Pensinger

With the balancing of the American and National Leagues at 15 teams each, Interleague play is a bit different this season in that it will last for the duration, rather than being confined mainly to June with occasional games in May and July as was the case in the past.

The Rockies, and the rest of the NL West, face all five teams in the AL East in Interleague games this season, starting with this weekend's series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The only other year the Rockies faced all five AL East teams was 2007, a year in which they got another look at one of those squads in the World Series.

The Rockies have played 57 regular season games against AL East foes, having faced at least one AL East team in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011, they currently have a 30-27 (.526) record against AL East teams all-time.

The Rockies will also face their newly-designated "natural rival", the Houston Astros.

Here is a look at how the Rockies have fared historically against each of their six Interleague opponents for 2013:

Tampa Bay Rays (May 3-5 at Coors Field)

7-5 Overall Record (7-2 at Coors Field)

Technically, the Rockies have only faced the Rays once, a series in Denver in 2009, the first three meetings between the two franchises occurred when Tampa Bay was known as the Devil Rays. Despite being swept in three games in their only trip to Tropicana Field in 2004, the Rockies have had a lot of success against Tampa Bay at Coors Field, winning all three series the teams have played at 20th & Blake.

The only one of Tampa Bay's scheduled starters with experience at Coors is David Price, who is scheduled to face Jon Garland on Saturday. Price was roughed up in his only appearance at Coors, allowing five runs on 10 hits, including home runs by Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta, in seven innings of work in a 5-3 loss to Aaron Cook and the Rockies.

New York Yankees (May 7-9 at Coors Field)

5-7 Overall Record (4-2 at Coors Field)

I'll be honest, I was going to write something completely different here, but then I came across one of the strangest coincidences I've ever seen. In each of the Bronx Bombers' previous two trips to Coors Field, Mike Mussina pitched the series opener, Andy Pettitte started game two of the series and Roger Clemens took the mound for the Yankees in the series finale. The series weren't in back-to-back years or anything, either, they were in 2002 and 2007.

The Yankees won the series in 2002, scoring almost 15 runs per game in the process, but the Rockies swept New York in 2007, a series in which the Yankees scored five runs total. Mussina and Clemens are both obviously retired, and Pettitte is currently scheduled to pitch Sunday in Oakland, which means none of the three will get a third appearance at Coors in a Yankees uniform.

Houston Astros (May 27-28 at Minute Maid Park; May 29-30 at Coors Field)

79-80 Overall Record

The Astros of course were a National League team until this year, so the Rockies have seen plenty of them. I still say if they wanted to balance the leagues they should've moved the Royals to the AL West and put Milwaukee back in the AL Central where it belongs, but I digress. The Rockies were 5-2 against the Astros in both 2011 and 2012.

Toronto Blue Jays (June 17-19 at Rogers Centre)

6-6 Overall Record (0-6 at Rogers Centre)

In another one of baseball's oddities, the Rockies have never defeated the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, but have never lost to Toronto at Coors Field. Unfortunately for the Rockies, the series between the two is north of the border. Perhaps Colorado can get its first win in Toronto in 2013, seeing as there isn't a Roy Halladay or Dustin McGowan to shut them out, as happened in visits to Rogers Centre in 2002 and 2007, respectively.

However, there is still R.A. Dickey to deal with, and Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle. Toronto does have quite the impressive team on paper this year, but so far they haven't been able to translate that into results, sitting at 10-18 so far in 2013, seven games worse than the Rockies.

Boston Red Sox (June 25-26 at Fenway Park; Sept. 24-25 at Coors Field)

7-5 Overall Record (3-3 at Fenway Park; 4-2 at Coors Field)

The most famous series between these two clubs was what used to be the only Interleague series, the World Series in 2007. That series did not go well for the Rockies, who were swept in four games by a very, very good Red Sox team. The teams have met just once since that Fall Classic, a three-game set at Coors Field in 2010 that was nothing if not entertaining.

The series in 2010 resulted in a 2-1 Rockies win, with Jhoulys Chacin out-dueling Jon Lester in a 2-1 Rockies win in the series opener and Ian Stewart and Jason Giambi hitting home runs in the ninth inning against Jonathan Papelbon, the latter of which was a walk-off. Dustin Pedroia made sure the Red Sox salvaged a win in the series finale, going 5-for-5 with three home runs in a 13-11 win for his team.

Baltimore Orioles (Aug. 16-18 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards)

5-4 Overall Record (3-3 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards)

The Rockies and Orioles haven't matched up since 2007, in a tightly-contested series in Baltimore that saw the Rockies take two of three, thanks to an extra-inning double from Kaz Matsui and a stellar pitching performance from Jason Hirsh.

If you did some math above, you'll note that the Orioles have won just one game all-time at Coors Field, and that game provided one of the greatest memories of my life, baseball related or otherwise. My dad has been an Orioles fan since the days of Boog Powell and Jim Palmer, so naturally we were at Coors when the O's came to town on Father's Day in 2004, sitting down the third-base line.

Both Joe Kennedy and Daniel Cabrera pitched great that day and the Rockies led 2-0 going to the ninth, but then Shawn Chacon got involved. In fact, he promptly walked three guys and gave up a game-winning grand slam to Brian Roberts. My dad said he would've been fine with whoever won, he's just as big of a Rockies fan as an Orioles fan these days, but I'm pretty sure he was thrilled to see Roberts hit that slam and the Orioles avoid the sweep, and I was too. It was a great day with my dad at the game; I just wish we'd get a chance to see these two teams at Coors again at some point, maybe 2016.

In the last few years, 2012 notwithstanding, the Rockies have generally out-performed their NL counterparts in Interleague play in recent years, and have a slate of AL opponents in 2013 that they have historically had success against. Another solid Interleague performance could go a long way toward putting and keeping them in the pennant race.