If history has her way, today should be very fun indeed. In a de-ja-vu that would make Phil Connors smash the snooze button, the Rockies postponed Monday’s game in order to play a doubleheader on Tuesday. Last week it was against the Mets, who the Rockies swept with a walk-off thrown in for good measure.
Today’s foe is a bit more formidable.
The Atlanta Braves visit Colorado standing atop the MLB rankings as the first place team, with a record of 13-5. What’s a surprise to everyone being honest with themselves and their fellow neighbor, is that the Rockies find themselves in the same exact position – first place in the MLB, 13-5.
The press is, understandably, leery of the Rockies good fortune. There have been article after article calling the run a fluke, undeserved (based on opponent) and short-lived at best. On power-ranking charts the Braves sit firmly atop at first place on many lists, even though they dropped three against the Pirates and four of their past five games. While the Rockies moved into the top 10 in many lists, as high as fourth in the MLB.com power rankings lists, the feeling is “it won’t last”.
Whether or not it lasts, nobody knows. But having fun games in April sure beats the “road to 100” last September.
Today the Rockies begin a three-game, two-day series against the visiting Atlanta Braves. It will be Colorado’s seventh and eighth games on their current nine-game homestand vs. NYM (3-0, 4/15-18), vs. ARI (2-1, 4/19-21) and vs. ATL (4/22-24). The Rockies were defeated by the Diamondbacks, 5-4, on Sunday after allowing two runs in the top of the ninth. The loss snapped Colorado’s eight-game win-streak and was their first home loss of 2013. Despite losing Sunday, the Rockies have now won five of their first six series to begin 2013.
• The loss on Sunday vs. Arizona snapped Colorado’s longest win streak since they won 10-straight games from 9/3-12/10. Sunday also marked the end to a perfect home record. Their 8-0 home record to begin the season was the best home start for a team in the Majors since the LA Dodgers started 13-0 at home in 2009.
• As mentioned above, this will be Colorado’s second doubleheader in seven calendar days. They only other time in franchise history they’ve had that type of turnaround was when they played doubleheaders on 8/13/99 & 8/15/99 vs. Montreal.
• LHP Jeff Francis will start the first game and make his fourth start of the season. It will be his sixth career start against Atlanta but first since 8/3/07 at Turner Field. LHP Jon Garland will make his fifth career start against the Braves. In four career starts vs. ATL he’s 1-2 with a 7.25 ERA (22.1 ip, 18 er).
• LHP Mike Minor will make his third career start against the Rockies and second at Coors Field. The Braves are 2-0 in the games he starts. Starting the night-cap will be RHP Julio Teheran who will be making his first career start against Colorado.
The Rockies went 0-3 against Atlanta at home in 2012, and 1-6 overall. The Rockies have lost seven of their last eight games and 12 for their last 15 against the Braves. The last time the Rockies won a series vs. Atlanta was a three-game sweep 8/23-25/10 at Coors Field. They split a four-game set 7/18-21/11 in Denver. Their 60 total wins over Atlanta is the least amount against any National League team.
• The last Colorado-Atlanta doubleheader was on 5/1/04 at Coors Field with the two teams splitting the games.
• Todd Helton has the fourth-highest batting average (.331) against Atlanta among active players but carries highest clip for anyone with more than 275 at-bats.
• Atlanta-native Dexter Fowler has five career triples against Atlanta pitchers in 95 career at-bats. His five triples are tied for fifth-most among active hitters but the only one with less than 116 ABs.
HITS, HITS AND MORE HITS:
The Rockies continue to rank among the National League leaders in the hits category. Their 174 hits are the third-most in the NL (see Chart) and are fifth in the Majors. At 9.6 hits per game so far, they are on pace to finish the month of April with 260 hits. If so, that would be the most hits in April since they had 260 in 2006.
• The Rockies have had five or more hits in 15 of their 18 games this year. They own a 11-4 record in those games. When they have 10 or more hits in a game, they’re 7-1.
• Colorado has had at least two extra-base hits in each game this season. Their 61 extra-base hits are the third-most in the NL behind Arizona’s and Cincinnati’s 62.
DIGGIN’ THE LONG BALL:
Colorado has already clubbed 28 home runs this year, the most in the month of April since they hit 29 in 2006. Their 28 home runs are tied for the second-most in the Majors (with the Yankees) just behind Atlanta’s 29.
• The Rockies have hit at least one home run in 16 of their 18 games. They are 12-4 in games with a home run. Two or more home runs have been hit in eight games.
• Troy Tulowitzki belted his sixth home run of the year in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game vs. Arizona. His six homers are tied for fifth in the NL. He’s now hit a home run in three of his last four games going 6-for-13 with six RBI and four runs scored. It was game #17 for Tulo this year. His sixth home run last season came in his 41st game (5/23/12 at MIA).
• Not only are the Rockies among the league’s best in hitting balls out of the park but they are among the league’s best in preventing them. Colorado’s pitching staff has only allowed 12 home runs, which is the third-best in the NL behind Atlanta’s and St. Louis’ 11 home runs allowed
ROCKIES LINEUP (GAME 1)
|2. Josh Rutledge (R) 2B|
|3. Carlos Gonzalez (L) LF|
|4. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS|
|5. Michael Cuddyer (R) RF|
|6. Wilin Rosario (R) C|
|7. Jordan Pacheco (R) 1B|
|8. Chris Nelson (R) 3B|
|9. Jeff Francis (L) P|
ROCKIES LINEUP (GAME 2)
|2. Dexter Fowler (S) CF|
|3. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS|
|4. Michael Cuddyer (R) RF|
|5. Jordan Pacheco (R) 1B|
|6. Josh Rutledge (R) 2B|
|7. Reid Brignac (L) 3B|
|8. Yorvit Torrealba (R) C|
|9. Jon Garland (R) P|
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