After a disappointing stint in California, the Rockies once again hope to awaken their bats in the friendly confines of Coors Field.
The Rockies have 3-game sets with the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on tap at Coors Field. The 9-game stretch is part of a homestand that covers 12 of the Rox next 15 games.
Although Colorado leads the NL West, there are a lot of question marks on the team. Only Nolan Arenado has had any consistency at the plate and the starting pitchers seem to have trouble getting out of the first.
Notorious for giving the home team an advantage, Coors Field has been somewhat less friendly to the Rockies this season. It’s almost as if it’s a team designed to hate the cavernous Colorado landmark. For certain the Rockies will need to recapture the mojo that makes Coors such a difficult park for visiting teams.
One way to do that is to hit the ball. Chris Iannetta (@Chris_Iannetta) replied to a Twitter critic beautifully on that subject. Hitting a pitched ball may be the most difficult endeavor in all of sports. Baseball players and specifically Rockies players are trying really hard to hit the ball. As Iannetta points out, sometimes that’s successful and sometimes it is not but it’s never a lack of desire or effort.
It’s an important distinction with this Rockies team. They have the talent and the desire what remains is to coalesce all of that into a consistent on-field product. Given the makeup of the team, it’s not hard to believe that awakening is imminent.
If it is, the NL West is in trouble.
That quest will have to include improvement in the home record. What better time to start and what better team to start against than the struggling Cincinnati Reds (18-33)?
Cincinnati will open festivities tonight with Sal Romano (2-5, 5.62 ERA). Big Sally leans on his 4-seamer which hits 93 on the gun. He likes to hit the corners and generally keeps the ball down and in. He represents good and bad for Colorado hitters. Good in that he doesn’t have any outrageous stuff and the Rox should be able to get the bat on the ball. Bad in that as home run reliant as the Rockies have been, Romano has only given up 9 HR on the season.
For the hometown crew, Jon Gray (4-6, 5.34 ERA) takes the start. Gray is due for another of his unhittable games. Let’s hope he finds a consistent middle-ground, the boom-or-bust that has been his style this season has been frustrating.
This is a golden opportunity for the Rockies to get well on a team that’s struggled. Let’s hope they take advantage.