Who is this team?
We were asking before this nine-game road trip started off, and we continue to ask now, even after the first-game win for the Colorado Rockies over the San Diego Padres 6-4 Monday night.
The Rockies offense has struggled mightily this season as the second-worst in the MLB in wRC+, and yet, they came alive inside the pitcher-friendly Petco Park to begin the important trip with a victory.
For Colorado, it wasn’t the huge-named players who got it done offensively, it was a group of role-playing replacement guys who pushed the team to the win on offense. With the Rockies down 2-1 in the top of the fifth, Daniel Castro homered and then Noel Cuevas hit a bomb to take the 3-2 lead. That was Cuevas’ first major league home run, a timely smash indeed.
In the bottom of the fifth, Eric Hosmer doubled off of Tyler Anderson to send Matt Szczur home and tie the game up 3-3. For Anderson, it was one of the worst pitches from an otherwise solid outing, going 5.2 innings with three earned runs and three strikeouts. Anderson eventually wound up as the winning pitcher, improving to 3-1 on the season with an ERA just over 4.23.
In the sixth, another lesser-known Rockie — Gerardo Parra — sent a three-run homer out into the seats to push Colorado ahead 6-3, which turned into the winning runs. For Parra, it was only his second home run of the season, and wow, what a massive homer for the veteran outfielder.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Freddy Galvis tripled, which sent Rockies manager Bud Black to the mound to pull Anderson, and then Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw gave up a single to A.J. Ellis for the Padres’ last run of the game.
That was partially because Shaw pitched well in the seventh and then Adam Ottavino came in and struck out three straight batters in a mere 11 pitches to end the eighth.
For the Rockies, it was their sixth straight win on the road, improving their record to 16-8 away from Coors Field, which is third best in the MLB. It also improves their overall record to 23-19, only 1.5 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks for first in the NL West.
Everything is on its head this year for Colorado. They’re winning a ton on the road, but are under .500 at home all while their pitching has been better than average historically and their offense has been incredibly bad. That trend of not knowing what will come next continued Monday night when the purple and black were able to put up six runs even at pitcher-friendly Petco.
Maybe most importantly, the win signifies the offense can put runs on the board — thanks to three big flies — even in pitchers’ ballparks. That’s a good thing, too, because it’s the first of nine games in Petco, AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium, three of the most difficult parks for batters in the majors.
Rockies – Padres Game 2 takes place Tuesday at 1:40 p.m. MT.