Plenty has changed, yet plenty has stayed the same at the corner of 20th Street and Blake Street in the year 2020.
Four F-16 jets flew over the ballpark prior to first pitch, but nobody saw it from the stands. Matt Kemp is still hitting for extra bases at Coors Field, but this time he’s in Rockies pinstripes. David Dahl is still flying around the outfield, but crowd noise from MLB The Show is cheering on his catches. Trevor Story is blasting home runs again, but fans aren’t taking the baseballs home.
Charlie Blackmon still walks out to “Your Love” by The Outfield, but a crowd recording now echoes the words through locked gates, faintly spilling them onto the abnormally quiet Blake and 20th.
A few seats behind home at Coors Field have cardboard cutouts placed in them (to the dismay of Renee Dechert). The selection includes “more than 80 former players.” It’s far from the severity of cutouts in which the Rockies saw in Texas, but they are undoubtedly visible in home broadcasts.
Rockies fans are locked out of their beloved gathering place, but it didn’t prevent some from making it to the ballpark for the 26th Opening Day in franchise history:
Keeler: On Rockies’ opening day 2020, LoDo felt like loneliest place on Earth. “It’s never a ghost town.” | The Denver Post
If you read only one more thing today, read this link.
“It’s opening day, dad. We’ve got to get down there.”
Left-hander Joey Lucchesi opposes left-hander Kyle Freeland this evening in game two of a three-game set. Lucchesi has made one start on the year; he allowed two runs to the Diamondbacks on Monday over 3 2⁄3 innings and 61 pitches. One day earlier, Freeland threw 80 pitches over six innings, allowing two runs to the Rangers.
Lucchesi goes to work with a low-90’s fastball and a changeup that sometimes runs in the upper 70’s. He made two starts against the Rockies last September: for the first one in San Diego, he threw six scoreless innings. For the second one in Denver, he allowed eight runs in 3 2⁄3 innings.
A strong ability to miss bats will play well inside a hitter-friendly ballpark. Lucas Zenobi takes a deep statistical analysis into Germán Márquez, and how his pitching style fits the home environment he throws in.
Although several of Márquez’s statistics worsened from 2018 to 2019, “his elite swinging strike rate actually increased.” It was a marginal increase (0.2 percent), but his 2020 rate is even higher thus far.
Márquez has struck out 14 batters in 11 2⁄3 innings in 2020. He will look ahead to the Giants next week for his first home start of the season.
Comforts of Coors: Jon Gray Finds a Comfort Zone in What is Known as a Hitter’s Park | Sports Illustrated
It sounds like Jon Gray also sees benefits when it comes to pitching in Denver. The cowboy Tracy Ringolsby writes this Sports Illustrated article, breaking down Gray’s home and road figures over his big league career.
Gray: “I don’t know if it’s just the way the atmosphere feels. ... There’s a lot of things I like about it. I go out there knowing I’m going to outdo the other guys, knowing that our lineup is going to hit the ball. It’s a good combination that makes you feel good.”
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