If you were told that the Colorado Rockies pitching staff held the New York Yankees to six runs in a recent three-game homestand, you would assume that the Rockies swept or at least took two in the series, no?
However, struggling with runners in scoring position, Colorado would score no more than two runs in each of the three games, winning just the series’ opening game.
The explosive offense that propelled the Rockies to the top of the NL West standings has been on a temporary hiatus. Traditionally, the Rockies’ offensive struggles take place on the road and home stands are the place the bats are resuscitated.
Following a recent road stand in which the Rockies offense scored 21 runs in hostile Dodgers Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers, conventional wisdom said the offense would only continue its success with six games in Colorado.
Well, conventional wisdom is apparently not always an accurate prognosticator in baseball.
The Rockies would in fact only enjoy one game in which their offense struck for more than four runs during the homestand. Returning to the lineup, Troy Tulowitzki had three hits and three RBIs and rookie Nolan Arenado hit his first Major League grand slam, opening an onslaught of runs in a thumping of the Tampa Bay Rays. The bats did not collectively strike again during the home stand.
The opening game of the homestand, in retrospect, would be a reflection of four of the next five Rockies games at home. Colorado finished the opening game with Tampa Bay recording zero hits in nine attempts with runners in scoring position, including the bottom of the eighth inning when the Rockies were unable to plate a single run after loading the bases with one out.
Despite the absence of offense, the Rockies remained competitive in all games due to excellent pitching from the starting rotation and the bullpen. If Colorado can consistently put together complete games of solid pitching and explosive offense, the sky would be the limit.
The team now leaves the comfort of home for a six-game road trip against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Colorado appeared to have left the bats at the edge of city limits when returning home from the previous road trip, so hopefully they can pick them up on the way out of town and return to form as one of baseball’s most explosive offenses.