Mothers’ Day turned less celebratory for Moms of Colorado Rockies players and fans on Sunday as St. Louis completed a three-game series sweep with a 2-0 blanking of the Rox at Busch Stadium.
As if the sweep wasn’t enough, it came at the hands of the team for which former Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado now calls home after the February 1 trade that sent the All-Star to the Cardinals.
Arenado certainly made his presence known during the series. After slapping a double and scoring in St. Louis’ 5-0 victory in the opener Friday night, Arenado followed with a solo home run Sunday in the Cardinals’ series-clinching 2-0 win.
The setback Sunday left Colorado with a 12-22 overall record, including a 2-14 mark on the road. The Rockies have now played essentially 20 percent of their scheduled 81 contests away from home this season.
With just two road wins, the Rox have the worst road record in the Majors this season. The Chicago Cubs have the second-worst road win total with four.
While Colorado sports a respectable 10-8 record at Coors Field in 2021, life on the road has proven to be less than rosy.
Let’s take a look at 3 reasons for the Rockies woes on the road thus far this season
1. Inability to score runs
What do the following series of numbers have in common?
1, 3, 0, 0, 2, 5, 0, 7, 3, 3, 2, 14, 4, 0, 8, 0
No. Those digits aren’t the secret combination to get into Fort Knox.
Rather, those numbers represent the number of runs Colorado has scored in each of its road contests in 2021.
The Rox have been outscored 95-52 away from the friendly confines of Coors Field this season.
After being blanked in two of the three contests against St. Louis, Colorado now has been held scoreless in five of its 16 road games. In all but four games, the Rockies have failed to score more than three runs.
If you guessed that Colorado’s two road wins came from their two highest single-game scoring outputs on the road thus far (14 and 8), you would be only 50 percent correct.
The Rox actually dropped the game in which they scored eight runs, a 9-8 loss to St. Louis on Saturday afternoon.
How would you like to be a member of the Rockies starting pitching rotation entering a game, knowing that the team’s offense is scoring runs on the road at an average of 3.25 per contest and that there was a 75 percent chance that the team may not score more than three times to support you?
2. Pitching has been suspect
While the Rox offense certainly has struggled in the club’s early road woes, there is more to the story.
The team’s pitching corps—both starters and relievers—have contributed as well.
Following the series with the Cardinals, Colorado hurlers have notched a 6.05 earned run average (131 IP, 88 ER) in 16 road games.
Rockies starting pitchers have added to the team’s inflated ERA having posted a 6.85 mark (76.2 IP, 58 ER). This total comes even after German Marquez allowed only one earned run in six innings in Sunday’s loss to St. Louis.
With a Rockies offense plating an average of 3.25 runs per game on the road and a pitching staff, as a whole, permitting 6.05 earned runs a road contest, well, you can do the math.
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3. Inability to win low-scoring and close games
This point comes as a result of points 1 and 2 just mentioned. We will define low-scoring games as those in which the Rox or opponents have scored three or fewer runs and close games as those with a final run differential of two or less.
In low-scoring games on the road, Colorado is 0-11 while opponents are 2-0 (one of those wins coming by St. Louis on Mothers’ Day).
Meanwhile, in close games on the road, the Rockies are 1-7.
All is not lost, however. With 65 more road games yet to be played this season, the club has plenty of opportunities to right the ship and improve on its current road mark.
But before Colorado returns to the road again, the team will open a seven-game homestand on Monday night when National League West rival San Diego comes to Coors Field for the first of a three-game set.
First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. (Mountain time) and the Rockies will activate right-handed pitcher Antonio Senzatela off the 10-day IL to make the start
Following San Diego’s appearance, Cincinnati will take on the Rox in a four-game series beginning Thursday to complete the homestand.