Colorado fans are in a state familiar to Mariner Nation, that of enduring a fall from contention into an abyss of chaos and ownership schizophrenia. Since the end of last season, they've changed general managers, lost their assistant GM in charge of player development and another assistant GM, and their analytics division has seen several people leave. From the outside looking in, it appears that the club is on the verge of a wholesale remake, and Rockie rooters are left to wonder what will become of their purple pinstripe brigade. For now, the Rockies are 12 games under .500 and have essentially no chance at making this year's postseason. The National League West is home to three of the top four teams in that league, with the Rockies so far out of it that the only upside is that they're not the Arizona Diamondbacks.
There is one caveat to that, though: the Rockies are a totally different team at home than on the road. The team has always had a bit of a home/road split for the entire history of the franchise, but this year's is extreme. They have a .627 winning percentage at Coors Field while barely cracking a .200 mark at lower altitude. Historically, the Colorado home advantage has been tied to hitting home runs at home in the thinner air and medium fly balls elsewhere; that's still a factor, but now their pitching is considerably better at home. Opponent batting lines, ERAs, WHIPs, even homers allowed, all much better in Denver. How? It's a mystery. Closer Daniel Bard, who is 2-3 with 4 saves and a 7.15 ERA on the road, is 2-2 with 10 saves and a 2.63 at home. The four principal starting pitchers hold a 5.25 ERA on the road, but a 3.78 at home. Everyone's numbers are somehow better at Coors. Tuesday's starter is slated to be ace and All-Star Germán Marquez, who is good anywhere—he beat the Mariners handily already once this year with an eight-inning, two-hit game in Seattle on June 23rd—and is on a roll, allowing a mere three runs in his last five starts before the All-Star break. The Rox have not announced a starting pitcher for Wednesday yet, but Chi Chi Gonzalez would be in line for it, assuming Colorado is using a standard every-five-days rotation. Unlike Marquez, Gonzalez has posted poor numbers everywhere, but even his record is better at home in almost all respects. Gonzalez's last start, on the first day back from the break, was a loss to the Dodgers, who tagged him for seven runs on nine hits in just four innings.
At bat, outfielder Raimel Tapia is the best of the Colorado lineup; the slim, speedy lefty doesn't get the headlines shortstop Trevor Story does, but he and fellow outfielder Charlie Blackmon are on-base specialists that hit for average if not power. First baseman C.J. Cron is no slouch either, with his .350+ on-base percentage. Outfielder Yonathan Daza, who leads the club in batting average, will not be a factor for the M's as he's on the COVID injured list.
More chaos is undoubtedly coming for the Rockies as the July 30 trade deadline approaches; Story, Cron, starting pitcher Jon Gray, reliever Mychal Givens, and others appear to be on the trading block, but moving them might be problematic given the state of Colorado's front office—none of the departed staffers have been replaced and other teams aren't always sure who to call on with trade interest.
Who’s Hot & Not
Last ten games
.333/.415/.444, 4 2B, 4 RBI
.333/.385/.417, 1 HR, 5 RBI
.297/.333/.595, 3 HR, 7 RBI
.184/.250/.395, 13 Ks
.189/.211/.189, 10 Ks
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|6/23/21||COL 5, SEA 2|
|6/22/21||SEA 2, COL 1|
|8/9/20||SEA 5, COL 3|
|8/8/20||COL 5, SEA 0|
|8/7/20||COL 8, SEA 4|
|7/15/18||COL 4, SEA 3|
|7/14/18||COL 4, SEA 1|
|7/13/18||COL 10, SEA 7|
Bud Black: The NL Manager of the Year in 2010 (with San Diego), Black is in his fifth year at the Rockies' helm and has done remarkably well, and if ever there was a franchise that could use a successful pitching coach in the manager's seat, it's this one. Black has brought the Rox to the playoffs twice (if you count the Wild Card game as the playoffs—won one, lost one) and was the only Colorado manager in their short history to have a better than .500 record until this year. He has experience as a player, a pitching coach, assistant General Manager (in both Cleveland and Anaheim), and field manager, giving him one of the more balanced résumés among Major League skippers.
As a player, Black was initially drafted by the Mariners and came up through Seattle's minor-league system, eventually pitching in two games for the M's before being traded away as the player-to-be-named-later in a deal for infielder Manny Castillo in 1982.
Dave Magadan: Now Colorado's hitting coach, Magadan played in Seattle for half a season in 1993. The cousin of then-manager Lou Piniella, Mags had a decent Mariner tenure, batting .259/.356/.320 in 71 games. Seattle traded him to the expansion Marlins mid-season (thanks a lot, cuz) for pitcher Jeff Darwin and cash (Darwin would throw all of four innings for the M's, surrendering six earned runs in the process). After that, Mags played for four other teams and retired as a San Diego Padre after the 2001 campaign. Since then, he's been a hitting coach for five clubs, including Colorado starting in 2019.
|Colorado Rockies||(1993 - present)|