Colorado Rockies: Offense has to come through in tough close to August
By Kevin Henry
Two hits in a 2-1 road loss to the Houston Astros? That’s not going to cut it for a Colorado Rockies team that started off on fire but has cooled over the last few games.
Certainly two hits in any game can be chalked up to a great pitching performance (which Brandon Bielak and the Houston bullpen did on Monday night) and/or to a questionable strike zone (which many Colorado Rockies fans did on social media on Monday night). However, the truth of the matter remains: Aside from Trevor Story‘s third-inning solo homer and Charlie Blackmon‘s ninth-inning leadoff single, the Rockies offense did absolutely nothing in the opener of a quick two-game slate deep in the heart of Texas.
And, as crazy as it sounds, it was the second time a Texas team had two-hit the Rockies in the span of four days, with the Rangers and Lance Lynn handcuffing Colorado at Coors Field on Friday night.
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As a team, the Rockies are now hitting .272 on the season (tops in Major League Baseball). However, that includes a miserable .223 batting average in nine road games that is part of a .223/.308/.339 slash line away from Denver. We all know about the troubles the Rockies have historically had shortly after leaving altitude. With a summer camp in Denver to prepare for a 60-game sprint to the postseason, the hangover appears to be lasting a little longer this year.
And the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Rockies from now through the end of the month. After a Tuesday matinee in Houston, Colorado returns home for a two-game set against the Astros before arguably its most daunting road swing of the entire season. It starts with its first encounter with the Dodgers in Los Angeles for three games before heading to Arizona for a four-game series against the Diamondbacks.
So yes, the Rockies don’t just need the offense to kick into a higher gear on the road ASAP. It also needs to happen in what will be two of the biggest series of the short season against two divisional opponents. No pressure, right?
The road turnaround has to start with All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who is hitting just .129 (4-for-31) with no extra-base hits away from Denver. Fellow All-Star outfielder David Dahl is scuffling even worse, with just two hits in his last 24 at-bats overall. He’s 14-for-74 (.189) on the season, including 7-for-31 (.226) away from Coors Field. However, when you see he opened the season going 3-for-4 at Texas, both of those slumping numbers get even scarier.
Now 22 games into the season, Colorado will officially hit the halfway point of the 60-game campaign following the Tuesday, August 25 game in Arizona. That will not only leave two contests on the pivotal seven-game swing through L.A. and Phoenix, but also will give Rockies fans a true barometer if the team’s current stumbles are just a slump … or if the 10-3 start to the campaign was just a mirage.