Game #60: Diamondbacks @ Rockies

Norm Hall

The Diamondbacks head for the hills and go Into Coors Field, where the Rockies have been... strangely impressive this season.

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Chase Anderson
RHP, 3-0, 4.02
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Jorge de la Rosa
LHP, 6-3, 3.66

Diamondbacks Lineup

  1. Gerardo Parra - RF
  2. Aaron Hill - 2B
  3. Martin Prado - 3B
  4. Miguel Montero - C
  5. Cody Ross - LF
  6. Nick Evans - 1B
  7. Chris Owings - SS
  8. Ender Inciarte - CF
  9. Chase Anderson - P

Yep, that's a D-backs line-up with no Paul Goldschmidt in it, for the first time this season. Nick Evans makes his first start, and will probably be glad to be facing anyone but Aroldis Chapman. But, I have to say, I'm pretty much in agreement with Steve Gilbert on the odd timing of this:

Both the Diamondbacks and Rockies have had weird seasons in terms of their home-road performances. Arizona are dead last in the league at home, at 9-22, and are 6.5 games better away from Chase. They'll need to be for this series. For Colorado may be close to the worst team in the league away from home (12-21, ahead only of the Cubs), they have been a lot better in Coors Field, where their seven defeats to date is the fewest of any MLB side in their own park. The reason is pretty clear. The Rockies hit a lot better at home than on the road. And when I say "a lot", I mean 265 points of OPS: .952 compared to .687.

Let's put that into context. Away from Coors, they are close to MLB average on the road (.692). But the Rockies have the best home offense in baseball, and it's not even close. The second-placed Blue Jays - who have the additional benefit of a DH, rather than a pitcher, don't forget - are nearer the 21st-placed Braves, than they are to the Rockies. Of course, it's Coors Field. Mile high, and all that. But the weird thing is, the conditions don't provide anything like as much a boost for visiting teams as they do the Rockies. In fact, there's hardly any at all. Facing the same pitchers, sides hit a mere nine OPS points better at Coors. The humidor appears to be doing its job - at least for them.

Part of this is down to Colorado's insane team BABIP of .369 to date. Some of this is due to the capacious outfield at Coors; since moving there in 1995, through the end of 2013, they do have the highest BABIP in the majors. However, that's only .313, more than 50 points below what they have this season. For comparison, no team anywhere in that time has reached even a .330 BABIP over a full campaign,with the Red Sox setting the best mark last year, at .329. So, we should expect the Rockies offense to regress at Coors. Doing so over the next three days would be helpful.

Having won his first three appearances in the majors, Chase Anderson looks to become a member of an even more elite club tonight. Since 1980, only six players have won their first four. Here are their details, along with Anderson's to date:

Rk Strk Start End Gm W L GS IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
1 Jered Weaver 2006-05-27 2006-07-23 7 7 0 7 47.0 26 7 6 11 40 2 1.15
2 Kazuhisa Ishii 2002-04-06 2002-05-04 6 6 0 6 36.2 26 12 12 21 41 2 2.95
Rick Honeycutt 1980-04-12 1980-05-08 6 6 0 6 51.1 39 16 14 17 15 5 2.45
4 Gerrit Cole 2013-06-11 2013-06-28 4 4 0 4 24.1 26 10 10 4 11 1 3.70
Scott Lewis 2008-09-10 2008-09-26 4 4 0 4 24.0 20 9 7 6 15 4 2.63
Mauro Gozzo 1989-08-08 1989-08-22 4 4 0 3 22.0 18 4 3 6 8 0 1.23
7 Chase Anderson 2014-05-11 2014-05-28 3 3 0 3 15.2 17 10 7 4 11 3 4.02

Anderson had pitched adequately, but not outstandingly, and his record is as much the result of copious run support, with the Diamondbacks having scored 35 runs over those three games. He has only just barely pitched the necessary five innings to qualify for the decision each time too, not having thrown more than 5.1 in any start. Doing so in Coors Field will be particularly challenging, and Chase could certainly use a little help from the BABIP gods this evening.

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