Not quite one year ago, I wondered about the dilemma for the Colorado Rockies as they tried (and continue to try) to build a successful contender in the National League West. Do you go all in on home field advantage and try to mash your way to a huge win total there? Can you do that and still post a serviceable record on the road? Or do you try to stack up pitching and try to keep up with the deep pitching staffs in the rest of the division? From that article last January:
“Can the Rockies ever have the best of both worlds, or are they forced to go all in one direction or the other? That is the dilemma with the home parks of the NL West being on such extreme ends of the spectrum.”
I also said in there that we “feared the Rockies would not have enough pitching in 2012.” Talk about putting it mildly…
This is still the dilemma, right? It is easy to forget that we are not that far removed from Rockies teams that pitched (pretty) well and could not come up with enough offense. Whether because of health or simply a lack of situational hitting, there were Rockies teams not that long ago (2010 and 2011) that struggled on offense. The struggles grew to be so alarming that any intimidation factor at home started to disappear. Opposing teams aren’t scared of Coors Field anymore, and it’s not just because of the awfulness that was the Rockies in 2012; the process started before that.
So now hitting coach Dante Bichette wants the team to swing sledgehammers. Post some serious offense at home. Treat the home crowd to enjoyable 4.5 hour marathon games. Make pitchers scared to pitch there and make opposing teams dread playing there.
But we still circle around to the same question: can the Rockies enjoy that type of offense and still pitch well enough, especially in a division that includes excellent pitching staffs in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Arizona, not to mention the pitcher-friendly parks in California? With all that need to pitch well, will it even matter how big a sledgehammer you swing at home? And will they ever freaking hit on the road?
One year ago I couldn’t answer that question for you, and now we are only farther from an answer. The current pitching staff is so truly “in progress” that nobody in Colorado should be trying to answer any large, philosophical questions.
Not that that’s going to stop them…