Road Woes for the Colorado Rockies

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The Colorado Rockies will try to finally figure out their historic road woes for the 2014 season.

Losing 96 games in a season will cause any organization to reflect on what can be done to better the situation. The Colorado Rockies already took one big step by naming Jeff Bridich as their new General Manager.

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Many questions still linger for this team on many topics including position players, the pitching staff, and of course the bullpen. The Rockies do have one item they can be confident in for next season: they know how to win at home.

In 2014, the Rockies ended up winning 45 games at home. That is more wins than the American League Champion Kansas City Royals, and tied with the National League Champion San Francisco Giants. Since 2010, Colorado is averaging 42 wins at home per year. In addition, when the Rockies won the Wild Card, they won 51 games at home both years 2007 and 2009.

Therefore, obviously the Rockies fully take advantage of their home field. The road games, however, are a different story. While they won all those home games last season, they also lost the most road games of any team in baseball. The Rockies were 21-60 on the road, eight games clear of the next closest team in terms of losses on the road. Over the past three seasons, the Rockies have not won more than 29 games on the road in each year.

The first thing fans tend to blame when it comes to Colorado is the pitching, and it was not spectacular on the road; however, it was better than the home pitching. At home in 2014, the Rockies pitchers had an ERA of 5.05 overall, compared to 4.65 on the road. Again, Colorado won 45 games with their pitchers giving up five runs a game.

That leads us to the question: where was the offense when the Rockies went on the road?

The offense never left Denver; when the Rockies would travel, it seemed like they forgot how to hit until they would come home again. For example, Colorado hit for a .322 average at home with a .521 slugging percentage and 119 home runs. On the road, they hit only .228 with a .357 slugging percentage and had 67 home runs. Bridich will need to find players who can hit both in Colorado and away from Coors field. He will need to start with the outfielders. Here is some food for thought.

Corey Dickerson had a breakout year this season; he hit .312 at the plate and had 24 home runs with 76 RBI’s. However, most of, if not all of, Dickerson’s damage was done at Coors Field, where he hit .363, slugged .684, and had 15 of his 24 home runs.

Once Dickerson left Colorado he only hit .252 from the plate, with a .431 slugging percentage and only nine home runs. These numbers for Dickerson are a little concerning, especially if the Rockies are considering trading Carlos Gonzalez and starting Dickerson in left field for the future.

That leads us to the question: where was the offense when the Rockies went on the road?

Then you have Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies All-Star centerfielder. Blackmon also had a breakout season for Colorado. Overall he was able to hit .288 with 19 home runs and 72 RBI’s while batting from the leadoff spot. However, just like Dickerson, Blackmon was considerably better at home than on the road.

While batting at Coors Field Blackmon hit .331 and hit 13 of his 19 home runs. Then on the road Blackmon was only able to manage a .241 average, with a .269 on base percentage.

Now both Dickerson and Blackmon are young players, 25 and 27 respectively, so they can both figure out how to hit on the road. But these numbers should give Bridich pause when thinking about trading Gonzalez, who hit .332 on the road in 2013 (when he was healthier).

If the Colorado Rockies want to make playoff runs year after year, they are going to have to find a way to hit on the road, or find players who can hit on the road. The road offense will be something to watch throughout next season, especially to see if players like Dickerson and Blackmon can find a way to take their swings with them on the road.

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