Saturday, May 21, 2011

Colorado Rockies struggles on the road continue

It seemed like the Colorado Rockies had turned the corner. It seemed like they had finally figured it out. However, after a 3-2 loss in Milwaukee, the club has lost 8-out of-the-last-10 on the road.

On Saturday, the team couldn't find a way to help Clayton Mortensen, a huge surprise fill-in, his second win of the season. Despite giving up just three runs--two earned--in 6-2/3 innings, the righty was saddled with the loss.

The offense, once again, was the culprit. The club mustered only six hits, four in the first eight innings, and scored just two runs, not enough to win. Although the Rockies threatened in the ninth, scoring a run on Troy Tulowitzki's triple, the team couldn't cash in the tying run to give themselves a shot.

The Rockies started the season with huge promise away from Coors Field. They started the season with a 7-1 road trip through Pittsburgh and New York, two places that they have traditionally struggled. After finishing the 2010 season with just a 31-50 road trip, winning on the road had become one of the main focuses in spring training.

It seemed early on that the focus had worked. Instead, after the successful trip to begin the season, the Rockies have slumped back to where they were a season ago.

The Rockies have tried everything, including bringing a curveball machine on road trips with them to help minimize the effects of leaving Coors Field. Yet, despite their best efforts, the same struggles continue to plague the team. The offense cannot seem to put runs on the board.

On Saturday, the Rockies had a slight excuse. They faced Shaun Marcum, the newly acquired starter for the Brewers. He has been impressive, posting six wins to just one defeat in his National League debut. His ERA stands at just 2.37.

The issue for the Rockies is that when they face an average pitcher, their bats act like they are facing an ace. To win on the road, they must take advantage of pitchers that are not dominant. Then, when the face ace-type pitchers, they will have leeway to drop a tough game.

There is still time for the Rockies to turn things around away from Coors Field, but they must be careful to not fall into the same routines that turned into a bad streak into a bad season as it did in 2010.

The Rockies try to avoid the sweep on Sunday at 12:10 Mountain time on Sunday. The club sends Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound, still searching for his first win of the season.

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