- Hitter’s Parks – Even if you disregard the Rockies record at Coors Field last year (46-35), they performed well in hitter’s parks. They posted a road record of 18-10 (.643 Win%) in these hitter havens.
- Fair Parks – Here we can already see a bit of regression, with a record of 11-9 (.550 Win%) a year ago in ballparks that played relatively fair for bother pitchers and hitters.
- Pitcher’s Parks – The Rockies went 12-21 (.364 Win%) a year ago in the parks that surrendered the least amount of offense
As we can see, the Rockies smartly built their team in a way that would be successful where they play most: Coors Field. This unit also traveled well to similar ballparks that yield their own fair share of offense. As for the fair parks, I have no qualms with going 11-9. These are road games after all and really any time you can go .500 on the road, you’ll take it no matter how stat nerds like myself can twist it. The pitcher’s parks, however, is where things get a little shaky.
If you think back to this past season, you’ll start to remember the bad road trips. Most of them featured stops in places like New York, Miami, San Francisco and St. Louis. All of these places play heavily to the pitcher. Historically, the Rockies have struggled in these cities, and I’ll throw old Turner Field into the mix too from when the Braves called it home. I don’t think we ever won a game at Turner Field (kidding, sort of).
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I think if the Rockies want to take that next step of claiming a division title and/or advancing deep into the playoffs, they are going to have to start with tightening up their performance in pitcher-friendly environments. If they had gone just one game over .500 last season in pitcher’s parks, that solid 87-75 record turns into 92-70. That looks a lot more like a division-contending record, doesn’t it?
Not only that, but if you think about late-playoff baseball, you think of cold nights where you can see the hitter’s breath and every run is of dire importance. As September flips to October, even hitter-friendly yards can turn nasty as the temperatures drop and the stakes rise. Becoming a better team in pitching environments is key to making a deep playoff run.
So, what on Earth can the Rockies can do to improve their performance in pitching havens? I take a look at that next, as well as provide an exciting statistic from Spring Training that points to the fact that Buddy Black is already two steps ahead of me.