In the five games since the All-Star break, the Rockies are 3-2. It’s a small sample size, but baseball has been fun in Colorado over the last week.
Winning a series against the Yankees and splitting with the defending World Champion Astros is a pretty great way to start the second half of the season. Even if those teams aren’t in first place in their respective divisions, they still have winning records.
Despite only outscoring the Astros and Yankees 23-22, the Rockies out-homered them in a landslide: 11-3. Solid starts by Austin Gomber and Chase Anderson, with some great performances out of the bullpen as well, deserve applause for holding two powerhouses to three homers in five games (one per 0.6 games), especially when you consider that Giancarlo Stanton hit two of them. Before the All-Star break, the Rockies had given up the most homers in the Majors at 135 (1.48 per game). Post-All-Star Game, the Rockies are tied for second in surrendering the fewest homers.
Equally important is the power from the Rockies lineup. C.J. Cron has hit three homers, Kris Bryant and Nolan Jones have a pair each, and Randal Grichuk, Ryan McMahon, Michael Toglia, and Alan Trejo have added one bomb apiece. The 11 homers are tied for the fifth most in MLB even though the other teams have played one or two more games than the Rockies. That’s an average of 2.2 homers per game, which is a massive improvement from the 0.89 they averaged per game (ranking No. 26 in MLB) prior to the All-Star break.
But this is only over five games. And they’ve been a Coors Field. It’s not realistic to think this kind of drastic improvement is sustainable for the rest of the season.
However, it’s definitely a step in the right direction and now the Rockies fast an interesting test in their next five series. Today, the Rockies begin a three-game series in Miami (53-45), followed by three more games on the road at Washington (38-58). The Rockies will then return to host the A’s (27-71) and Padres (46-51) for a pair of three-game series and then head back on the road for a 10-game road trip that starts in St. Louis (43-53).
With the exception of the Marlins, the other three teams have losing records, including the only team in MLB worse than the Rockies. Nine of these games will be on the road and six are at home. Hoping that homers are contagious, banking on the confidence that builds after sending balls over walls, the Rockies face an important test in this first road trip.
The Rockies won’t hit 11 in the next six games, but what if they could just hit six? If they could average one homer per game on the road, it would be a big improvement from the 0.83 per away game they’ve played so far this season (39 homers in 72 games). Then the Rockies need to take advantage of an easier road test Aug. 4-6 in St. Louis to hit more home runs before going on to tougher opponents like the Brewers and Dodgers.
Once they’re back at Coors Field against Oakland and San Diego, maybe they can hit nine in six games? Before the All-Star break, the Rockies hit 42 homers in 44 games (one per 0.95) at 5,280 feet. Can you imagine if they could up that to 1.5 homers per game?
This would not only make games for fun to watch and give the Rockies a better chance of winning, but it would also give the person who runs the fountains more to do during games. If they are the same person who runs the game notes on the scoreboard, they clearly need more tasks to take their mind off their troubles.
Please Rockies, hit more homers for the scoreboard operator’s sake and for Becky’s. (If you missed the latest Becky-related scoreboard drama, check out what graced the scoreboard prior to Wednesday’s game against the Astros).
The trade deadline will hit during the Rockies series against the Padres and they could lose a slugger. That doesn’t have to impact the overall homer total though, especially considering that Ezequiel Tovar, Brenton Doyle, and All-Star MVP Elias Díaz haven’t hit post-All-Star break homers yet. It also could even out if a trade opens up more playing time for Jones and Toglia.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Rockies could keep baseball fun for the next few weeks? Homers could make it possible if the Rockies seize the chance during an easier portion of the schedule.
★ ★ ★
With only three starting pitchers on the roster, it can be a guessing game as to who might start on a given night for the Rockies. Patrick Saunders found out who’s starting on Friday when he reported that Peter Lambert is being called up from the Isotopes and will be on the mound for game one against the Marlins. Lambert started on July 1 against the Tigers — his first start in about 21 months after dealing with various injuries — and threw three scoreless innings. He then went down to Triple-A to build up his pitch count so he could transition back to the rotation. We are now seeing that plan in action, but the Rockies will continue to limit his innings for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Connor Seabold, and his 7.18 ERA will be moving back to the bullpen. As Saunders explains, “Over his last five starts, he’s 0-5 with a 14.21 ERA, giving up 10 home runs, and hitters have mashed .391 against him.” Hopefully, a move back to the bullpen will help him regain his command and efficiency.
Considering the Rockies struggles this year in the starting rotation, it’s fun to look back to July 9, 2017 when Kyle Freeland threw a no-hitter through 8 1/3 innings at Coors Field against the White Sox. It’s fun to relive the moment and read about how Freeland’s bullpen session before the game was a disaster. Kevin Henry also got some good quotes from Freeland and Bud Black recalling that game, which was in his first year as manager.
Did you know that the Rockies have a 79-year-old coach and an 82-year-old coach on their player development staff? I didn’t until reading this feature on Marcel Lachemann, special assistant for player development, by Jack Etkin. Lacheman, 82, served as a pitching coach in the past for the Rockies, and recently rejoined the team again. He holds a role similar to Clint Hurdle, being a “sounding board” for Bud Black and guide to players in the farm system.
★ ★ ★
On the Farm
Sugar Land’s offense was in full effect on Thursday, scoring seven runs in the first three innings on the way to a landslide. Coco Montes hit his 13th homer of the season and Jonathan Morales added his eighth of the year in the losing effort for Albuquerque. Jimmy Herron went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Connor Kaiser tripled
Julio Carreras, Jordan Beck, and Warming Bernable each homered to help the Yard Goats jump out to a 4-0 lead after six innings on Thursday, but the Patriots rallied back to tie the game before winning it with Tyler Hardman’s two-run homer in the 11th. Case Williams was solid in his start for Hartford, giving up one run on three hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
The Canadians Kekai Rios hit a three-run homer in the second inning and despite Sterlin Thompson recording three hits, Zach Kokoska hitting a sac fly that led to two runs, and Juan Guerrero hitting another sac fly, it wasn’t enough for the Indians to come back. Brendan Rodgers singled in three at-bats in his third rehab game.
Fresno took advantage of four Nut errors and claimed a 4-0 lead in the first inning on their way to a win on Thursday. Jean Perez hit a homer in the seventh inning that ended up being the game-winner. Andy Perez and Daniel Amarai each hit RBI singles, Skyler Messinger hit an RBI double, and Jake Snider hit a sacrifice grounder to lift the Grizzlies early. Connor Staine got the win for Fresno, giving up only one run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Modesto slowly shortened the gap with runs in the fourth and seventh inning before adding two more in the ninth, but came up short. Jesus Bugarin went 3-for-4 for Fresno.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!