No team in baseball has better offensive numbers on its home field than the Colorado Rockies since they joined the majors as an expansion club 22 years ago.
They’ve got the best home batting average in the league again this season, but that not translating into victories has become the most frustrating aspect of the Rockies’ slump.
A pair of struggling teams begin a three-game series Friday night as the Milwaukee Brewers look to avoid a seventh straight loss while dealing host Colorado a ninth defeat in 10 games.
The Rockies (28-38), who have taken advantage of Denver’s thin air to lead the majors in home average, hits and home runs since 1993, are in the NL West basement and have dropped three straight at Coors Field. They were swept in a four-game home-and-home set with Houston, losing 8-4 at Denver on Thursday.
Colorado leads the majors with a .297 average at home but is 13-20 there. The Rockies have finished below .500 in four straight seasons despite posting a 45-36 home mark in each of the last two.
Carlos Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the first inning Thursday to give the Rockies a two-run lead. He’s homered in three straight games but has batted .185 over his last seven, with four of his five hits in that stretch leaving the ballpark.
"That’s unacceptable," Gonzalez said of the club’s record at Coors. "We have a home-field advantage and we have to dominate at home. That’s how it’s been in Rockies history."
Troy Tulowitzki had two hits for the second straight day and is batting .397 over his last 17, including .459 in nine home games. Tulowitzki and Gonzalez are tied for fourth in the majors in home batting average at .324 since the start of 2006, Tulowitzki’s rookie year.
Pitching has always been the problem for Colorado, though Jorge De La Rosa (4-2, 4.91 ERA) is among the few hurlers to thrive with the Rockies. He’s won his last two home starts and looks to help end Colorado’s skid after setting the team record with his 73rd victory in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Miami.
He allowed one run in seven innings and is 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his last five starts, including wins in his last three.
De La Rosa spent his first 2 1/2 seasons with Milwaukee and has struggled against his former team, going 2-2 with a 7.92 ERA in six starts. He allowed four runs over six innings of a 10-4 win in his last matchup June 29.
Braun, 10 for 14 with three homers and four doubles against De La Rosa, went hitless Thursday as Milwaukee (24-43) was swept in four games by Kansas City with a 3-2 defeat.
The Brewers, without Carlos Gomez in three of the last four because of groin and hip issues, have been outscored 39-19 during their six-game skid, with Braun going 1 for 22 with seven strikeouts in that stretch.
They’ll turn to Taylor Jungmann to help them get back in the win column. Jungmann (1-1, 2.25) replaced the injured Wily Peralta and beat Pittsburgh 4-1 on June 9 after allowing one run in seven innings of his major league debut, but he struggled in Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Washington.
The right-hander gave up two runs and seven hits while walking two and throwing 105 pitches in five innings.
"He had a tough day, but kept us in the game, and that’s a success," manager Craig Counsell said.
Colorado swept three games in Milwaukee from April 6-8, but was swept by the Brewers in the last series at Coors Field from June 20-22.