Consider the following numbers: 0, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 0, 0, 1, 4, 1. Those are the number of runs the Rockies have scored in their last 12 road games. If it wasn't for a three run ninth inning rally that fell short of tying the game on Saturday, the Rockies would be dealing with a situation where they failed to score more than two runs in 12 consecutive road games.
Two weeks ago, I touched on how awful the Rockies' offense was on their last road trip to San Francisco and Arizona. Somehow, this trip was even worse. Without going into specific player details (because now we can make that an off season thing when all the road numbers are tallied), the Rockies as a team posted a .507 OPS on their trip east. Jordan Lyles has a .513 OPS on the season.
We've discussed at length the struggles the Rockies are always going to experience on the road, but this is a new level of ineptitude even this franchise has never seen before. This team's 20-55 road mark already ties it for most road losses in franchise history, and there's still six games away from Coors to go.
David Martin suggests it's poor plate discipline as evidenced by the team's 16 strikeout performance yesterday. Patrick Saunders notes that the chemistry may not be what it once was late in this piece, citing that it was not uncommon for more than half the team to go out to dinner on the road together back in 2007 and 2009.
It's probably not one thing, but a bunch of things coming together perfectly, because I have no idea how else a team can have a wRC+ of 114 at home and a wRC+ of 74 on the road. The Coors hangover? Guys not playing as a team? Guys not using the opposite field enough? Some of the best road hitters not being healthy? Players sleepwalking through the final month of the season and getting overwhelmed? A bunch of guys slumping at the same time? All possibilities, but none by them self can explain THIS atrocity.
Losing every game on the last road trip wasn't the only thing that's gone wrong for the Rockies over the last week. Many fans have given up on the season, but it looks like the injury bug has not. Nolan Arenado left yesterday's game with what's currently being called a chest contusion, and he'll get further evaluations today. If there's anyway this can get worse at all, I would shut him down for the season.
Meanwhile Justin Morneau, who's missed three of the last for games with pain in his left lat, could be back in the lineup as soon as today. Morneau's batting average currently sits at .315, just two points behind Josh Harrison of Pittsburgh who currently leads the National League.
If you want some good news, the Asheville Tourists (the Rockies' Low-A affiliate) won the South Atlantic League championship over the weekend. So there's that.
Draft Selection Watch
There's now 13 games left in the season regular season, and just two games separate the Rockies (59-90) from the Texas Rangers (57-92) who currently have the worst record in the majors and are in line to select No. 1 overall in next year's draft. Looking in the other direction, the Rockies are two games below the Arizona D'Backs in the standings (61-88) who currently hold the second worst record in both the division and the National League as a whole. Above that, it's another two games up to the Minnesota Twins who currently sit at 63-86.
The Rockies are now just about guaranteed to have one of the four worst records in baseball this season, meaning they're just about guaranteed a top five pick. (The Astros have the No. 2 overall pick in next year's draft for failing to sign Brady Aiken this season summer) If the Rockies finish in a tie with either Texas or Arizona, they get the better pick, but if they finish tied with Minnesota (unlikely at this point, but still possible), the Twins grab the better selection.
The Rockies still have a four game set to finish off the home stretch of the season later this week against Arizona (expect some stunningly awful baseball in that series), so there's a good chance they will pick up some ground on the snakes there, but if the Rockies fail to pull off anything better than a split, they're pretty unlikely to be picking behind the D'Backs next June as all of the other games are either on the road, against the Dodgers, or in the case of the last series of the season, both.
If this scenario presents itself, then it's probably a good idea to root for the Texas Rangers over the next couple of weeks. If they could finish the season with a little hot streak and jump up to or over the Rockies in the standings, Colorado might be able to steal the No. 1 pick instead of having to pick third with the second worst overall record. That's going to be a tall order though. The Rangers play seven more against the A's who desperate need these games, three against the Angels who have the best record in baseball, and three against the Astros who quietly have a record close to .500 (49-51) over their last 100 games.
Of course, the other thing the Rockies could do is beat the Dodgers few times and play spoiler, but I really can't get into that because any sort of winning there only helps the Giants. I mean, imagine a scenario where the Rockies win a tightly contested extra innings game 162 where they not only drop from first to third in the draft order, but also clinch the division for the Giants.
That's right! - Striking out 16 times and getting completely shut down on the road again doesn't sound like such a bad way to end the season after all now does it?