The Colorado Rockies got off to a hot start this season, but have scuttled since with injuries, poor pitching and a sporadic offense. After a high-water mark of eight games over .500, the team is reeling at seven games under. Losers of six straight and welcoming the St. Louis Cardinals into town, the Rockies need to turn things around. But can they? Can they not just get back to .500, but can they get back into the playoff chase?
The Rockies' bats have always been the centerpiece of the team, and this season is no different. The Rock Show offense is averaging five runs per game, tops in the National League, second in the Majors, but most of that damage is coming at home. On the road this season, they are only pushing an average of 3.69 runs across the plate. Away from Coors Field, the team's batting average is nearly 100 points lower and they've hit 16 fewer home runs and driven in 90 fewer runs than they have in the friendly confines of 20th and Blake. For a team that relies this heavily on the lumber, the boys in the lineup need to find their groove out on the road.
A team that averages five runs a game should be better than seven games under .500, but that is where the pitching staff has let the side down. Sporting a Major League worst ERA of 4.86, Rockies pitchers are getting abused out on the mound. That ridiculous ERA can't just be blamed on a shoddy bullpen or shaky starters as only half a run separates their respective earned run averages. The same half a run is the difference between the staff's home and road averages. It isn't Coors Field, they can't pitch anywhere.
Both the pitching problems and the hitting woes can be traced to the same root cause. The Rockies have four of the team's top pitchers and three All-Star ability position players on the disabled list. Put any team in that circumstance and they will struggle, but as the recent 5-game winning streak showed, this team can still flash that early season brilliance. So when this team gets healthy, they can most assuredly contend for a playoff spot. But that needs to start with some momentum before the team is all healed up. Tonight against the Cards would be a nice start.
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