It didn’t come as a huge surprise to Rockies fans when Carlos Gonzalez hit the 15 day DL by re-injuring his right wrist on Friday, and not because he was just recovering from hurting it a few weeks ago. An injury to a key player on the team, during this time of the year, has really only further emphasized the 2011 season for the Rockies as one filled with disappointment. For a team that was considered by many to be a legitimate contender and possibly win the NL West for the first time in franchise history this year, the Rockies have certainly tried their best to disprove that hypothesis. Although Gonzalez will be absent from the lineup for only two weeks, the Rockies are entering a crucial stretch of games that is seen by most to be their last attempt to make up some ground on the Giants in the division race. They are currently on a 9-game, NL West road trip to play Arizona, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The D-Backs have taken two of three in Phoenix, so that leaves six against the Dodgers and Padres respectively. Cargo has been batting .306 since a rough .228 April, and has really been finding his swing in the leadoff spot. The Rox are really missing a weapon both offensively and defensively without Carlos Gonzalez on the field.
Home Sweet Home?
Traditionally, the Rockies have always played great at home regardless of their overall record. It was something that they could rely on with a good home record so that the attention could pointed towards the Rockies road play. This year, however, the Rockies have been incredibly mediocre at home, posting a 26-26 record. On the road, they are 22-28, which is not great but not terrible either. If they had some home wins, they would easily be in the NL West race. Last year at this point in the season, the Rockies were 31-16 at home. If you substitute that with this year’s home record, you’d have a 53-44 team six games behind the Giants, and right in it for a playoff push. So what’s the problem? If you look at the Rockies offensive stats, you’d find that they are first in the NL in runs scored at home. However, scoring runs is meaningless unless you can prevent the other team from scoring through good pitching. The Rockies have a 4.55 team ERA at home, dead last in the NL. Coors Field is known for being a huge hitter’s park, so I’m not saying that playing a mile above sea-level with a giant outfield shouldn’t affect pitching whatsoever, but in recent years, the Rockies have found ways to pitch well at home. Scoring runs is also meaningless if you don’t get them at important times. Colorado is 14th in the NL in runs scored in the 7th inning or later. They were 2nd and 5th in that same category in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Bring back that LoDo magic!