The Diamondbacks just got done beating up on the Rockies. I can’t stand the Rockies mascot Dinger, mostly because he’s stupid. So taking two games in one day from an NL West team after having to be deprived of baseball unnecessarily for two days was extra special. Tyler Matzek really helped in game one with a game score of terrible (actually it was a 30, which is terrible), but the hitters took advantage and did major damage. In game two, Robbie Ray was impressive and bullpen was solid. They scored enough runs to get the job done and hey, it was a clean sweep. Nothing wrong with that. Especially since it made Dinger cry.
And as everyone knows, Coors is the place to score runs. With 18 combined runs in the two games, the D-backs did just that. A.J. Pollock went 4-7, Ender Inciarte was 4-11, David Peralta had a key two-run double in game two and both Mark Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt homered. Even Tuffy Gosewisch and Cliff Pennington had multi-hit games. You get the idea, the Diamondbacks were raking. After getting swept by the Dodgers and scoring only four runs in three games, all in the second game of the series, it was time for the team to break out.
“Baseball is tough,” Hale said. “And offensively, when you’re not swinging the bat as a group, it kind of starts to pile up against you. I think guys try to do too much. We’re going to have a talk [Monday] as a group of hitters just to kind of dial it down and let things kind of come to them a little bit.”
A.J. Pollock acknowledged the team’s attempts to do too much:
“Every team is going to go through that at some point. It’s tough when you’re in it to figure out exactly how to stop it. Obviously you want to care, I mean everyone cares. It’s kind of trying to back off because you can care too much sometimes and that causes pressing. It’s a tough one to get out of it.”
During Wednesday’s broadcast, Steve Berthiaume pointed out that there’s really no better place to wake up the bats than Coors Field, and he was right on. The Diamondbacks didn’t disappoint. Playing in the most hitter-friendly park did the trick, for now. But the D-backs are back in Phoenix today and it’s worth considering: will the jump start in Denver last? I figured this was worth exploring.
To do this, I looked at the team’s average runs scored over the last six seasons. I deducted the runs scored in games at Coors to find their average performance outside of Coors Field. Each year, the Diamondbacks play three series there and those series certainly have a way of inflating numbers. I used this number as the team’s adjusted average offensive performance. Here’s what those totals have looked like since 2009:
There’s been some seasonal variance as you’d expect as the team’s offense has waxed and waned. By deducting the Coors Field performance, the runs scored average dropped from the true season totals counting the Coors Field games in every season but one. Generally speaking, playing in Denver helps expand the team’s season average run scoring above what they’ve done outside of Coors. This is what we’d expect.
Now, let’s have a look at what they’ve done in he series following their games at Coors Field:
Wow, there’s clearly a boost on average, but looking closer, it’s really kind of a crap shoot. In three of those seasons, the runs-scoring increased significantly. In three of them, they dropped some. About half of those series that followed games in Denver were at Chase Field, where run-scoring is also elevated as compared to league average, and about half of them were on the road. One series was on the road against an American League team where the DH was used, but all others were against National League squads. So this is an unadjusted sample, but the point remains: sometimes there’s a carry-over and sometimes there isn’t.
And if the results are that inconclusive, maybe we shouldn’t call it a carry-over at all. Instead, it seems that the team has been prone to the usual volatility of baseball. Sometimes you’re hitting, sometimes you’re not. That’s the way the game works. On the average, it looks like the team has scored about a third of a run more per game in the series following playing at Coors, which is certainly of value. But the inconsistency of it is something to consider. Also worthy of consideration is that we’re dealing with just 18 series of games in the post-Coors category, which isn’t the largest of samples (57 games total).
So I’d love to say that Chip Hale’s talk and the players’ acknowledgement of the problem, coupled with a timely visit to the best place to hit in the game, will lead to an “awakening” of the Diamondbacks’ offense. But I don’t feel comfortable making that proclamation. Yes, hitters are often streaky and momentum is surely a thing. We can’t measure that and I certainly hope the team continue scoring nine runs a game over the course of the season, but that’s obviously unrealistic.
Will the offensive outpouring carry into their series against the Padres that begins today? Who knows. If it does, I’m not convinced having played at Coors Field will be the reason. For the record, I’ll take it no matter what, even if it’s not at Dinger’s expense.
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