The lockout has had one benefit for the Rockies.
Thanks to postponing the first week of the season, the Rockies got to open 2022 at Coors Field, instead of starting the season with six games on the road—four at the Dodgers and two at the Padres.
The schedule shuffle left the Rockies hosting the Dodgers, Cubs, and Phillies, with two games in Texas at the Rangers in their first 12 games as opposed to seven games against the Dodgers, four in L.A., and two more games in San Diego. That might be some of the reason the Rockies are off to a very impressive 8-4 start, which has the Rockies in second place in a division where four of the five teams have at least eight wins.
Of course, the Rockies now face a daunting last week of the season with six straight games at Dodger Stadium, preceded by three games in San Francisco and a seven-game homestand vs. the Giants (four games) and Padres (three games). But let’s not worry about that yet. That’s very far away.
Back to the 2022 season, the Rockies are in good shape compared to last year. Through 12 games, the Rockies are 8-4. Heck, they are even 2-0 on the road. In 2021, the Rockies went 9-17 in April after a 3-11 start. Their first six games were at home, but they went 1-5 in those first six games.
Starting today, the first real road test of 2022 begins. The Rockies got to ease into action against a 2-9 Texas team and with only a two-game series. The Rockies will now travel to Detroit (5-7) for a three-game series, followed by four games in Philadelphia (5-8). While it’s not as challenging as heading to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego, it’s still the road and the Rockies are still the Rockies.
Through their game on Wednesday, the Rockies were leading MLB in team OPS (.798), slugging percentage (.449), and batting average (.284). C.J. Cron leads the league in homers with six and is second in RBI with 16. How will those stats look after this seven-game road trip?
It’s reasonable to think they will take a hit, but hopefully not a depressing drop. The Rockies will absolutely hit better and win more at home. They won’t do as well away from Coors Field. This is true of most teams in most sports, regardless of altitude. In order for the Rockies to be a .500 team and be in postseason contention this season, the Rockies have to shrink the performance gap between home and away. Instead of being .325 on the road, they need to aim for .425.
For this road trip, that means the Rockies could go 3-4, which equals a .429 winning percentage. If they come back to Coors Field and beat the 2-9 Reds in their final two games of April, the Rockies could finish the first month of the season 13-8. They would conclude the first month with a .619 winning percentage, .556 on the road and .667 at home.
I know that if I watch the next seven games and see four losses, it won’t feel good. My first instinct will be to immediately start having flashbacks to the road woes of 2021 and worrying about the departures from the R&D department.
I need to remember that 3-4 on the road is OK. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.
In previous Rockies seasons dating back to 2007, the Rockies have had two winning records in April and two losing records in their four playoff appearances. They went 17-8 in 2011 on their way to a 73-89 fourth-place NL West finish. In 2009 and 2007, two of the franchise’s best squads, the Rockies started off 8-12 and 10-16, respectively. Since 2007, no April was worse than 2021 when it comes to winning percentage when Colorado was at .346.
Rockies Records in April
|8-4 (so far)
|*made it to posteason
In the words of Rockies KOA radio broadcaster Jack Corrigan from his pregame broadcast on Wednesday, “You can’t win a pennant in April, but you can lose one in April.”
If the Rockies go 5-4 or even 4-5 in their final nine games of this month, it will be a good April. Colorado will still be in contention for a good season.
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This article has the usual narrative of a doomed franchise that can never succeed at 5,280 feet where pitchers can have temporary moments of success before the thin air consumes their talent. However, midway through this, Will Laws changes his tune because of one person: Bud Black. After listing his impressive stats as a player, coach, and manager, Laws credits Black’s approach in Colorado and his coaching style: “Fortunately, in manager Bud Black, Colorado may have the perfect manager to crack the code of pitching in Denver and, at some point, give the Rockies a real shot at winning a championship.”
History will be made when the Rockies play the Tigers on Friday. In the quest for 3,000 hits, Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-3 and was intentionally walked in his final at-bat of Detroit’s 3-0 win on Thursday. Now, the 39-year-old slugger is looking to become the seventh player in MLB history to record 3,000 hits and 500 homers. Miggy wore sunglasses in preparation for the emotional day, but still had a good attitude about having to wait another day to make history: “‘My on-base percentage went up!’” Cabrera told ESPN with a laugh when asked about getting walked. “‘And we scored two runs. That’s the beauty of baseball. ... I would rather go 0-for-3 and see my team win.’”
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On The Farm
The Isotopes were held to five hits, all singles, on Thursday as they dropped to 5-10 on the season. Albuquerque had a good opportunity when they loaded the bases in the eight when D.J. Peterson and Brian Serven both singled and Kyle Holder walked. Tim Lopes then singled to score Peterson, but the next three Isotopes were retired in order. Zach Neal (1-2) took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits in 5 1⁄3 innings with three strikeouts. Ben Bowden also struggled, giving up two runs on four hits in the seventh.
Daniel Cope hit a grand slam, Jimmy Herron hit his fourth homer of the season, and Jameson Hannah added a solo shot to lead the Yard Goats to victory on Thursday. Nick Bush gave up four runs, but only two earned due to two Hartford errors, on five hits with four strikeouts in four innings. Stephen Jones followed and gave up one run in 1 1⁄3 innings with four strikeouts before PJ Poulin struck out three in 1 2⁄3 innings and Riley Pint struck out three and walked one in a scoreless-hitless eighth. Nick Kennedy got the save with an uneventful ninth. Michael Toglia added two hits and scored two runs.
Despite having a 6-2 lead after six innings, the Indians couldn’t hang on as the Hops scored two in the seventh, the tying run in the eighth, and the eventual game-winning run in the ninth. After getting behind 2-0, Spokane rallied back with a four-run fifth, which was led by an RBI single from Colin Simpson, a wild pitch, and RBI singles by Eddy Diaz and Zac Veen. Julio Carreras added an RBI double in the sixth to put Spokane up 6-2. Spokane starter Tony Locey got into trouble in the seventh when he gave up two doubles and left the game with one runner on and Spokane up 5-3. Tanner Propst entered the game, threw a wild pitch, and the Hops cut the lead to 5-4. Anderson Bido gave up a hit a walk and a run that tied the game. Shelby Lackey took the mound in the ninth and gave up a two-out single to A.J. Vukovich, who then stole second, and scored the game-winner on a Ryan Bliss single.
Rain wiped out Thursday night’s game between Fresno and Lake Elsinore. The game will be made up on Sunday as part of a doubleheader starting at noon PT on the last day of the six-game series with the Storm.
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