Too much has been made of the humidor at Coors Field–this blog included. After all, Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News wrote to me toinform me that the humidor was put in place 5 years ago, not this year. So why is everyone making a big deal about it this year? Former Rox 3B Jeff Cirillo helped launch the witch hunt, calling the humidor-stored baseballs "soggy" and going so far as to accuse the Rockies of switching baseballs late in games–using the "soggy" baseballs on defense and dry balls when hitting. Clearly, Cirillo is delusionsal–the umpires rub up all the baseballs prior to the game and store them in safe place. MLB officials inspected the baseballs used at Coors Field and gave them the A-OK. The only reason people are making a big deal this year is because the Rox pitching staff can freakin’ bring it.
Taking a look at the Home/Away marks for the Rockies starting rotation offers some evidence that the credit needs to go to the pitchers and not to the humidor.
Jason Jennings’ ERA at home is 2.83 and 3.79 on the road.
Jeff Francis’ ERA at home is 2.96 and 3.71 on the road.
Aaron Cook’s ERA at home is 4.07 and 4.11 on the road.
Josh Fogg’s ERA at home is 5.37 and 3.88 on the road.
Byun-Hyun Kim’s ERA at home is 3.05 and 7.32 on the road.
Looking at these numbers, one thing becomes clear: If the Rockies could score any runs for Francis and Jennings, they would both have their hat in the Cy Young race. Both Jennings and Francis’ ERAs are about a run lower at home than on the road. Kim’s ERA is a staggering 4 runs lower at home than on the road. Cook is close to even at home and on the road, and Fogg is the only starter with a lower ERA away from the friendly confines of Coors Field.
Rox top three starters make the case that the humidor doesn’t make that much of a difference. Pitchers typically pitch better at home, and this can be chalked up to sleeping in their own bed, being around family, around their regular routine, and having the support of the hometown fans.
Fogg helps make the case that the humidor makes no difference, with a much lower road ERA. And Kim’s ERA is freakishly lower at home, which doesn’t help our arguement, but must be mentioned. Kim is an emotional guy out on the hill, and maybe–just maybe–he lets visiting fans get into his head on the road. We’re just trying to make excuses for him.
Needless to say, this year’s Rox staff–which has posted a NL leading mark in ERA–is the best ever in team history. And Cirillo…. well, we figure he’s just pissed that his .362 home batting average in the pre-humidor 2002 season is altitude inflated.
Donde Esta: Rockies Bats?
Calling Rockies bats…where are you? Where have you gone? Long time, no see. Rockies are getting plenty of hits, but they aren’t scoring any runs. Why? Well, the Rox can’t seem to hit with runners in scoring position. They need to find the clutch. But seeing as how the glass is always half full, we’re required to mention that if the Rox hitters can grow a set and find their clutch hitting, well they could make a legitimate run at the Wild Card or the division title. But, until they can hit, they’ll continue to see their GB (games back) number grow….and that makes us sad!
Dear Rockies, please hit. Sincerely, all of us.
You heard it here at On The Rox, where our glass is always half-full.
Daniel Boniface is a freelance writer in Boulder, Colorado. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can subscribe to On The Rox at http://www.newsgator.com, or find it online at: rox.mlblogs.com.