Woody Paige: Any place better than home for Colorado Rockies
On the whole, the Rockies, as W. C. Fields advocated, would rather be in Philadelphia than Coors Field.
The Rockies woke up Tuesday morning in Philadelphia closer to last place than first place. They went to bed in worse shape. June is swooning out all over.
The road has been kinder than Home Suet Home.
But the Phillies weren't so benevolent Tuesday night, beating the Rockies, 5-4.
In the seven-game losing streak in LoDo, the Rox were outscored 69-37 by three National League West teams. They own an 11-19 record overall at The Keg and are down among baseball's bottom-feeders in home victories. At May's end, the Rockies were atop the division by 1½ games over the Diamondbacks, four over the Giants and the Dodgers and six above the pitiful Padres.
After the loss Tuesday, the Rockies are sinking lower in the West.
The Philly Stakes, and three games vs. the Rangers, are most important to the Rockies because they could go from first to worst in two weeks.
Coors is advertised as baseball's best home-field advantage. The Rockies have won as many as 55 games in Denver.
However, in their 26th season, the Rockies are on pace for 27 victories, which would be their lowest total ever. Opposing teams certainly aren't afraid of the Big Bad Rox at Coors. The Dodgers got 11, 12 and 10 runs in a series, the Diamondbacks 9, 12 and 8 over the weekend. Sitting there on an immaculate Friday evening, I thought about all the Rockies giveaways this season - T-shirts, backpacks and so many bobblehead defeats.
The Rockies' ballpark has become a toxic waste dump reminiscent of old Rocky Flats.
And the club's bullpen, the shining light for almost two months, has transformed into a pigsty, where coach Darren Holmes doesn't want to answer the phone. Nobody's home.
Take Bryan Shaw. Please. The setup reliever's ERA is 7.03, and he has allowed 30 runs in 32 innings. On Saturday, in two-thirds of an inning, Arizona scored six runs off Shaw. Only one was earned, but, then, Shaw committed two errors himself.
Mike Dunn had a 9.00 earned-run average when he was placed on the DL the other day. He and his $27 million contract have earned cents on the dollar and hasn't made sense.
Chris Rusin is unreliable (7.81), and Brooks Pounders, a recent addition, possesses an ERA that resembles a convenience store (7.11). Jake McGee has returned to his 2017 funk (4.70). Extraordinary closer Wade Davis has become ordinary lately; Adam Ottovino, with a miniscule 0.95 ERA, has been on the 10-day disabled list for 15 days, and newbie Jerry Vasto relieved for the first time in the majors and gave up three runs in less than an inning (40.50).
The rotation amazingly hasn't missed a start in 66 games. Four of the five starters have been to the mound 13 times. Jon Gray was in his 14th start in Philadelphia. The group has a combined mediocre 23-21 record. The results have been striking at times, unimposing the rest of the season.
Kyle Freeland has emerged as the real ace and pitched better than a 6-6 mark. Jon Gray, who is 50 shades on his pitching days, is 6-7 after another setback in Philadelphia. Chad Bettis and Tyler Anderson are 4-1 and 3-1, but inconsistent, and German Marquez, at 4-6, worked 20 innings in three starts before an indifferent effort Friday.
The Bud Black Quintet has won only eight games at Coors Field. Bettis has no decisions in Denver.
Of their battery mates, starting catcher Chris Iannetta is hitting his weight exactly (230), but Tony Wolters is 39 points below his. The Rockies had shown no faith in Tom Murphy (.289 with 16 homers and 45 RBIs in Albuquerque), but finally elevated him Tuesday. Murphy was 3 for 4.
General manager Jeff "The Brain'' Bridich has made some mindless mistakes, led by the ultimate $70 million blunder at first base.
Rox owner Dick Monfort told me in spring training that if the Rockies were in the division race in July, he'd consider making deals. Next month can't get here soon enough.
The Rockies should acquire first baseman Jose Abreu and reliever Joakim Soria, in exchange for three minor-leaguers, from the White Sox now. They can't wait until it's too late.
Mercifully, the Rockies do have 10 more games on the road in June. But, on Tuesday, they played as if they were home - and, naturally, lost.