They May Be SI's Dream Rotations But They Suffer Coors Field Nightmares
Former Rockies pitcher Pedro Astacio, who works with the minor league pitchers during spring training, was asked one day the key to survival at Coors Field -- where he pitched before the humidor.
"Don't give up the next run," he said.
"Don't give up the next run," he repeated. "You can't take it off the scoreboard. You just focus on not letting the next run to score."
Over the years, Rockies starting pitchers haven't received much respect.
Hey, when Kyle Freeland set a franchise record two years ago with a 2.40 ERA at Coors Field, and had a season ERA of 2.85, the lowest in a full season for a Rockies pitcher, the best he could do in the post-season honors was finish fourth in the NL Cy Young voting. And don't blame it on the Rockies not being competitive. They did take the Dodgers to a Game 163 to decide the NL West champion, knocked off the Cubs at Wrigley Field in the NL Wild-Card, but then got shutdown by the Brewers in the Division Series.
But the truth is, Coors Field is a hitter's environment, and to underscore that, instead of focusing on how Rockies pitchers fare at home, it is worth taking a look at the what six members of Sports Illustrated came up with in putting together their dream rotations among active player.
Twelve pitchers had support from the six writers, including Jacob DeGrom and Gerritt Cole, who were named as part of all six rotation, and Max Scherzer was on five of the sixth ballots.
Three of the 12 have made three or fewer appearances at Coors Field -- DeGrom, Cole, and Justin Verlander. Four of the selections have never dealt with the challenge at 5,220 feet altitude -- Shane Bieber, Jack Flaherty, Luis Castillo and Tyler Glasnow.
As for the other five. . .
-- Max Scherzer is 0-3 with a 5.88 in five starts, having allowed five home runs.
-- Walker Buehlere is 1-1 with a 5.12 ERA in five appearances.
-- Stephen Strasburg is 2-3 with a 6.23 ERA in five appearances.
-- Patrick Corbin is 5-2, but has a 6.20 ERA and allowed 11 home runs in 61 innings.
-- And Clayton Kershaw is 10-5 with a 4.60 ERA and 19 home runs allowed in 22 starts.
That's no surprise to those who have regularly taken in a ball game at Coors Field, where offense is the king. It's a challenge. There have been 26 pitchers make 25 or more starts as a member of the Rockies at Coors Field, and only one has an ERA below 4.00 for those starts -- Ubaldo Jimenez, who was 30-19 with a 3.67 ERA in 67 games, 66 starts, at Coors Field.
Meanwhile, there have been five with an ERA between 4.00 and 4.49; four with an ERA between 4.50 and 4.99; five with an ERA between 5.00 and 5.49; six with an ERA between 5.5 and 5.99, and five with an ERA of 6.00 or higher.