Against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Urena certainly didn't have the look of a guy who entered the game with a 7.24 ERA.
Urena, much like his teammate Tom Koehler on Friday, kept the Rockies' offense off-balance for the majority of his start, allowing just a run on three hits in six innings. It's not like Urena -- or Koehler, for that matter -- faced the kind of Rockies lineups we're used to seeing come July or August. In both of those games, Colorado started All-Stars Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon in addition to future star Nolan Arenado.
But Urena and Koehler had their way with Colorado's bats, which by now should have the whole home field advantage thing figured out. That's not the way this season has played out, though. At all.
The Rockies entered Sunday hitting .303/.353/.469 at home, so it's not like we're witnessing some bizarre case of missing offense at 20th and Blake. The team, on the surface, is hitting like it always does: often, and for power. The pitching, as always, is the unit that has really struggled when looking at the numbers. Rockies hurlers entered the series finale against the Marlins with a 5.63 ERA at Coors Field, easily the worst home ERA of any team in the National League.
So, there's your answer. Or is it? Well, yeah. Despite the events of Sunday, it is.
The Rockies have been very much feast or famine at Coors Field this season. Colorado has been held to four or fewer runs in 10 of its 27 home games and is just 1-9 in those contests. That means the Rockies are essentially forced to reach the five-run threshold to even have a chance of winning at Coors. The Rockies do average 5.14 runs per game at home; the problem is, even when they do reach five runs in a game, they're still a middling 10-8. By comparison, when other teams around the NL score five or more runs in a game at their home ballpark, they are 131-26.
Pitching remains a huge issue for the Rockies, Kyle Kendrick's strong outing on Sunday notwithstanding. That $5.5 million problem fortunately didn't manifest itself in the series finale against the Marlins, but another one did.
Two-out runs have absolutely killed the Rockies in 2015. No team in the NL has allowed more runs with two outs in an inning than the Rockies (the Phillies are tied at the bottom with Colorado). Each of the three runs surrendered by Rox pitchers on Sunday came with two outs, including Adeiny Hechavarria's go-ahead homer in the 10th inning.
The inability of Rockies pitchers to strike out batters -- the team is dead last in the NL at 6.5 SO/9 -- certainly plays into it. But there's a mental toughness issue there, as well. It's up to the Rockies to correct that before it starts to affect future pitchers making their way through the system and up to the big league level.
This article isn't what you thought it was going to be, and I'm sorry about that. The Rockies' offense was certainly bad on Sunday, just as it was on Friday against Tom Koehler, who has inexplicably dominated Colorado hitters during his career. I just thought you should know that the same old elephant in the room is still here, and it doesn't appear to be going anywhere.