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AZ 8, Rockies 5 - Not-so Home Sweet Home

Record: 65-78. Change on last year: +22

Just another day in Coors: four homers from four separate players. That makes seven for the series so far, with Tracy and Glaus both going deep for the second game in a row. This was a pleasant turnaround, after the first two Rockies to bat both scored, leaving us to wonder if Vargas had lost it entirely.

Fortunately, Denver is what Denver is, and the lead lasted only until Glaus and Green hit home-runs off consecutive pitches. Reset and start again. Vargas battled back, switching tactics in consultation with Stinnett, who said: "Today, I didn't feel comfortable with his slider, throwing it late in the count, because he got beat with it in the first inning. So we threw changeups and sliders early and finished them off with fastballs."

It certainly seemed to work, with Vargas then cruising through six innings without much problem. Actually, make that 6.2 innings; he got the first two outs in the seventh, but the Rockies then chased him with five straight hits, which left Vargas with a mediocre line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER. Lyon got the final out, but not before he let the Rockies pull within one.

And even though we scored two more runs immediately, on homers by Stinnett and Tracy, restoring our lead to three, the fun never stops in Denver. The Rockies brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth, forcing us to bring in Jose Valverde for a four-out save. And they did it again in the ninth, this time with one out. But a foul-out and a ground-out gave us our second series win in a row, and our second shot at a sweep. Thanks to Englishdback, Otacon, Devin and azdb7 for stopping by; some for longer than others!

This win means that only St. Louis and the Cubs now have more road wins than Arizona, which is kinda weird, for a team that's still 13 games under .500. It's because only Pittburgh has fewer home wins (28) than we do (29). Looking at the splits overall, they're as follows:

       BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Home .257 .331 .427 .759 
Opp. .289 .355 .478 .833 

Road .255 .334 .417 .751 
Opp. .276 .342 .450 .792

Not much difference on the hitting - fractionally better at getting on base, fractionally worse at hitting them out. But our pitchers have definitely shown a preference for playing away, with a road ERA (4.57) almost a whole run better than in BOB (5.43). Here are the biggest Road Warriors on the team (min. 10 innings pitched both home and away).

Name     Hm ERA   Rd ERA   +/-
Aquino   18.00      3.45  -14.55
Gosling   6.23      2.40  -3.83
Cormier   7.16      4.34  -2.82
Estes     5.74      2.73  -2.71
Valverde  4.28      1.67  -2.61
Medders   2.92      0.84  -2.08
Vargas    5.18      3.58  -1.60
Ortiz     7.24      6.16  -1.08
Vazquez   4.92      4.62  -0.30
Webb      3.87      3.80  -0.07
Bruney    6.93      8.41  +1.48
Halsey    3.57      5.36  +1.79
Koplove   3.75      7.88  +4.13
Lyon      2.87     10.32  +7.45

Estes is perhaps the most striking example, as yesterday's six inning shutout in Denver helped show. But the majority of our pitchers do perform better on the road. I know that BOB is a hitter's park - and is the second-highest in the major leagues - but it would appear to be the case that visiting hitters benefit more from it than home ones. Could this be related to our poor outfield defense, perhaps?

Anyway, calling it a night here: I should be up just about in time for first pitch tomorrow, which is just after noon. A quick preview will go up immediately, with perhaps an addition if I'm up in time. Otherwise, feel free to start without me. :-)