Pitching in Coors Field is difficult. There’s no mystery there. The immense acreage and thin air combine to create the ultimate hitters park - even with the addition of things like the humidor or Bridich Barrier.
The pitchers who call Coors Field home likely do not come in with expectations of having career-best seasons with the Rockies. Kyle Freeland’s 2018, Cy Young vote garnering season and Ubaldo Jimenez’s All-Star campaign in 2010 remain the only two seasons in which a Rockies starter ended the year with an ERA under 3.00 (2.85 and 2.88, respectively). Between Coors and then traveling back to sea level on the road, Rockies pitchers are fighting an uphill battle on the mound.
Multiple former Rockies pitchers have found sustained success once leaving Denver. Among others, Tyler Anderson (104 career ERA+ in a Rockies jersey, 151 ERA+ in a Dodgers jersey) and Yency Almonte (94 career ERA+ with the Rockies, 361 ERA+ in one season with the Dodgers), are two of the most recent and striking examples of an ex-Rockie turning things around. Anderson just earned his league leading 13th win of the season, and his ERA sits at 2.72, a career best and well under that 3.00 mark.
How does a turnaround like this happen? Hard to say. But it’s been tough to swallow for Rockies fans seeing Anderson and Almonte specifically pitching at by far career best values. Maybe it’s not having to defend and pitch in a park like Coors Field. Maybe it’s a combination of a new pitching coach and not having to deal with the old. Maybe it’s the Rockies lack of analytics manifesting itself. Maybe it’s just another weird baseball quirk, or more likely a combination of all of the above.
Pitching in Coors Field is hard. It can beat up pitchers and break their confidence. But it’s a place that the Rockies have to use to their advantage if they have any chance of being successful. Even if the Rockies play the most games there, their opponents have to come and play there too. Because if their home field advantage continues to look more like a disadvantage, the team is in a deeper hole in a division where their rivals don’t need any more help.
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Wyton Bernard continues to do it all in Albuquerque. The 31-year old former 35th round pick has spent his entire career in the minors but has been enjoying a career year in 2022, yet is still stuck in AAA. His year has already received coverage and his consistent offensive production has landed him in the top five for the Pacific Coast League in batting average, hits, RBIs, runs scored, and stolen bases. Yet, due to the logjam in the Rockies outfield, he remains a long shot to see any big league time. Each of the four former Isotopes to win PCL Player of the Month eventually reached the big leagues, a lesson to show that the talent and hard work do eventually win out, but as of now his path to the show looks bleak.
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On The Farm
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes at El Paso Chihuahuas, Postponed (weather)
The Isotopes will play the Reno Aces (ARI) for their next series, starting Tuesday.
Michael Toglia (no. 7 PuRP) smacked his 23rd home run of the year, a Hartford franchise record, to give his team the early lead, but the Fightin Phils (PHI) chipped away at the lead and came back to win. Toglia had two hits and two runs scored on the day, but the offense besides him didn’t show up with their top game - the team totalled five hits on the day. Mitchell Kilkenny (no. 23 PuRP) started for the Yard Goats and threw well, leaving after allowing two runs in four innings. Riley Pint was the pitching highlight on the day, flashing signs of the excellence that made him a top draft pick as he struck out the side in the sixth on just ten pitches. Hartford will try to shake off the series loss to the Phils and move on to their next opponent, the Somerset Patriots (NYY).
Eugene (SFG) got out to an early lead, scoring seven runs in the first two innings, and never looked back on Sunday. Despite Spokane pitchers striking out 14 batters, the Emeralds knocked in 12 runs on 12 hits. The Indians had 14 hits of their own, led by Hunter Goodman’s (no. 27 PuRP) four hit night, but were unable to capitalize when given the chance, leaving 13 runners stranded on base. This loss split the series with the Emeralds. Now, the Indians will go on the road to Oregon, kicking off a set with the Hillsboro Hops tomorrow.
The Grizzlies saved the minor league affiliates from a sweep Sunday, taking the game and the series from the Giants (SFG). Yanquiel Fernandez (no. 25 PuRP) went 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Yorvis Torrealba went 2-3 with an RBI, two runs scored, and a walk. Tuesday, the Grizzlies will play the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA).
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