Master of Coors Field

June 06, 2005
June 06, 2005

Table of Contents
June 6, 2005

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Master of Coors Field


Has Jeff Francis solved one of baseball's biggest riddles? Through Sunday the Rockies' 24-year-old lefthander, who made his major league debut last Aug. 25, was 5--0 with a 2.78 ERA in his first six career starts at Coors Field, a graveyard for pitchers. How has Francis thrived where so many others have failed? "I don't know," says the 6'5", chopstick-thin Canadian, who this season was 3--0 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts at home. "I approach hitters [at Coors] the same as I would anywhere else: Go right after guys, try and get them to hit the ball."

This is an article from the June 6, 2005 issue Original Layout

In Francis, whom they selected ninth overall in 2002, the Rockies hope they finally have a homegrown pitcher around whom they can build. Though he rarely tops 88 mph on the radar gun, Francis's success is a result of using pinpoint command to locate his two-seam fastball and looping curve. Says an NL advance scout, "There's no real secret to why he pitches well [in Colorado]. The bottom line is, he's a very smart pitcher with very good stuff." --Albert Chen

COLOR PHOTOBEN MARGOT/AP (FRANCIS)SOFT TOUCH Francis succeeds with superior control rather than overwhelming velocity.