San Francisco is a city unlike any other. It’s a place where you can regularly go dolphin and whale watching during the day and catch a one-nothing baseball game at night. It is what it is; they’ve got a beautiful ballpark but it’s been a place where Rockies hitters have historically struggled.
This was absolutely the case this past weekend as the Rockies only managed to muster four total runs to the Giants’ eleven. This was in stark contrast to the 23 runs the Rockies dropped in the D-Backs series. What happened?
Coors is what happened. Well, specifically the infamous Coors hangover. Most Rockies fans are familiar with the Coors hangover but if you aren’t, here’s an excellent Fanpost that explains it. If you prefer to hear it directly from someone who’s currently going through it, here’s a clip from last year of Charlie Blackmon talking about adjusting from Coors to San Francisco. (Play until about 11 minutes)
Blackmon specifically mentions that the adjustment from hitting at home and then hitting in places like San Francisco can be overwhelming. Pitches are sharper on the road and Rockies hitters are stuck playing catch-up and trying to quickly adjust. As the first road series of the season, I’d imagine the adjustment is even tougher.
With that in mind, that would explain the especially weak offensive showing on the road opener on Friday when the offense only reached base five times. Not to completely discredit him but this was probably why a 35-year-old Johnny Cueto looked like a 28-year-old Pedro Martinez.
Couldn’t string them together
Yeah, the Rockies struggled to find ways to get on-base, but in the chances that they finally did, no one else could do the same. Over the weekend, the Rockies were an abysmal 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 21 men on base.
Failing to get runners across is as soul crushing as telling a joke and nobody hearing it and then somebody else repeating it and getting the whole room to laugh. You had the ingredients for a fun moment, but you just didn’t execute. The Rockies had 15 shots at a hilarious joke but the joke ended up being on them.
You get a walk, you get a walk, everybody gets a walk
You know what they say...a walk a day keeps the manager away. Well, the Rockies tried seven walks a day and now they can’t wait to leave the bay. Seriously though, the Rockies gave up seven walks on Friday, two of them scoring; seven walks on Saturday, two of them scoring again; and four walks on Sunday, one of them scoring.
Bud Black: "It's frustrating when pitchers beat themselves."#Rockies— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) April 9, 2021
It’s even more frustrating because even last year’s pitching staff, and all of their many flaws, managed to be 16th in walks. Now, the Rockies lead the league in walks with 52 while the next closest team is the Cardinals who have 42. It’s early, but elevation or no elevation, Rockies pitchers can’t afford to get into the habit of handing out walks.
Where’d they go?
Obviously, the Rockies don’t boast a high powered offense like the Dodgers or the Braves. The offense is very reliant on a few key guys and when they get off to a slower start it really hurts the team.
Coming out of spring training, the combination of Charlie Blackmon, C.J. Cron and Josh Fuentes were expected to produce a share of the offense. This hasn’t been the case thus far; the group went a combined 4-for-27 this past weekend. It’s still early and it’s a very long season but the Rockies are going to need them to be better on the road in Los Angeles if they want to pull out a series win against Trevor Bauer, Dustin May and Julio Urías. No pressure.
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You’ll notice I didn’t mention the starting pitchers as something that went wrong. They’ve been really good. Each of them have been going at least five innings and allowing three runs or less. They didn’t get the run support they probably expected but Bud Black and German Márquez tell Patrick Saunders that the starters aren’t bothered by it. This article also includes the story of how Alan Trejo was told he was being called up to the majors.
For more detail on Trejo’s call-up, here’s Danielle Allentuck’s story which features Trejo’s thoughts on Trevor Story. Included is also the moment Trejo and his parents broke down after he told them he was going to be a major leaguer.
Kyle Freeland continues to progress in his rehab from a spring shoulder injury. He recently shared an encouraging video of him throwing from a distance. Freeland’s return could further bolster a rotation that’s already off to a solid start.
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