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Coors Field exudes excitement during the final month of 2021; records set to fall

Patrick Lyons Avatar
September 6, 2021

Regardless if the Rockies finish towards the bottom of the 2021 power rankings, it’s undeniable that they are at the top when it comes to delivering excitement in the familiar confines of Coors Field. 

Their .652 (45-24) winning percentage at 2001 Blake Street is fourth-best in all of Major League Baseball. With a month remaining on the calendar, the club has an opportunity to continue its dominance in Colorado. On pace for 53 wins at home, it would be the second most in franchise history behind only 1996 (55-26). With nine of their final 12 games against teams currently bound for the postseason, don’t be surprise if the Rockies play spoiler from the comfort of their own ballpark. 

If winning outright isn’t enough, Colorado has put a dagger in many a reliever with one decisive swing, walking off a whopping 12 times – most in MLB this year and most in franchise history.

Even in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, the Rockies featured nothing but rookies during the game. Ryan Feltner’s MLB debut didn’t go quite as planned, but the debut of reliever Julian Fernández came with a 102.4mph pitch that was the fourth-fastest in the National League this year. 

Outside of these kinds of typically unexpected events, there’s a lot more history set to occur at Coors Field to make the final few weeks a bit more compelling than usual.

Marquee Performances

Germán Márquez may go down as the greatest Rockies pitcher when its all said and done. Before starting mid-homestand, he had the potential to tie Pedro Astacio’s franchise record for most starts at home in a season (19). At 16 home starts, Márquez will probably get to 18, a number last reached by Jhoulys Chacín in 2013. 

Though Márquez has been less than fantastic over his last few starts, he’s still retiring hitters with strikeouts in some of those outings. He’s already accumulated 90 and has an outside chance to pass his own record of 110 in 2019 later this month.

Most memorable of all would be his opportunity to secure what could be the last Silver Slugger Award given to a pitcher as the prospect of the universal designated hitter seems inevitable. When filtering out pitchers with less than 40 at bats, Márquez is second in wins above replacement (0.5), according to FanGraphs.

Jul 20, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez (48) reacts as he walks off the mound in the middle of the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In addition, he’s tops in doubles (4) and slugging percentage (.389), second in RBI (6) and batting average (.238), tied for second in home runs (1) and tied for third in runs scored (6). Having already been bestowed the award in 2018, Márquez would tie Mike Hampton (2001-02) with winning a pair.

Starting To Get It

Should Jon Gray stay on track for a return on Wednesday and the rest of the rotation stay healthy, minus Austin Gomber who is done for the season, they could challenge several home records.

Entering the Atlanta series, the eight starters – don’t forget Chacin and Ryan Castellani each opened a game in May – sat at a 4.37 ERA at Coors Field, shy of the 4.25 ERA set by the 2010 rotation. Following Feltner’s less than stellar debut on Sunday, that mark is at 4.41, still good for third best over Colorado’s 27 seasons at 20th and Blake. 

Friday night’s performance by Antonio Senzatela (7IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K), helped lower the crew’s WHIP to 1.30, a touch better than the standard of 1.31 set by that 2010 crew. 

If watching the best rotation in franchise history hasn’t been exciting enough, seeing Dodgers pitchers give up a gopher ball has to be a close second. Clayton Kershaw has surrendered 19 at Coors Field during his illustrious career and with a three-game set on Sept 21-23, the lefty may break the tied with former Diamondbacks’ Dan Haren.

Márquez also has two complete games at home in 2021, just one behind the Mark Thompson’s single-season record in 1996. With one career shutout at Coors Field, Márquez stands alongside numerous others and one behind the only man to have two: Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. (FYI: only Kershaw, Pat Rapp and Hideo Nomo – no-hitter – have ever thrown a complete game at 2001 Blake Street as a visiting pitcher besides Kershaw.)

Sluggers and Buggers

Colorado is almost certain to have no one reach 100 RBI for the first time since 2014 and just the eighth time in 27 non-shortened seasons. 

C.J. Cron has been a man among boys at home and his on-base-plus-slugging of 1.080 trails Charlie Blackmon’s 1.239 for the full season record in the humidor era. (Larry Walker and Todd Helton toppled that a few times in pre-humidor times with Walker’s 1.410 in 66 games as the debatable true record.)

With six games still remaining against the San Francisco, a trio of Giants have a chance at a few visitor records.

Paul Goldschmidt has the most homers (16) at Coors Field amongst active players, but his days of visiting three times per year has been drastically reduced since his move to St. Louis. Buster Posey (15) and Brandon Belt (13) have a chance to chase down Goldy in the final month; Padres’ Wil Myers (13) will undoubtedly look to add to his total next season.

Blazing the Base Paths

The stolen base is dead.

You’ve probably realized this already, especially if you watched baseball in the 1980s when players like Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman dazzled on the dirt. Henderson stole 394 bases in just his first four full-seasons. By comparison, the active leaders in career stolen bases are Dee Strange-Gordon at 333 and Elvis Andrus at 317.

The Rockies are by no means re-writing the history book in this category, but they could have three players reach the mark of 20 stolen bases for only the third time in franchise history. Raimel Tapia (20), Trevor Story (18) and Garrett Hampson (16) could join the trios of Eric Young Sr. (53), Ellis Burks (32) and Dante Bichette (31) in 1996 and Larry Walker (33), Young Sr. (32) and Quinton McCracken (28) in 1997.

On the other end of the spectrum and other side of the diamond are visitors who have grounded into the most double plays. Pedro Feliz, Shawn Green and Chase Headley have hit into 11 double plays during their time at Coors Field, most of any visitor. On the precipice of tying and eventually breaking that record is Brandon Crawford (10) and Buster Posey (10). With six more games in Denver, the Giants’ duo have a good chance to separate themselves from the pack. (Albert Pujols, who holds the record with 412 double plays, has hit into only seven in Denver.)

Defending The Castle

The offseason loss of one of the greatest defensive players of this generation should have set back the club at least somewhat. However, Colorado has been great with the glove at almost every position as the defensive metrics have favored them as elite this season. 

Led by an infield sporting the likes of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and DJ LeMahieu, the 2018 squad made only 38 errors at home during the organization’s last postseason appearance. This current group has made only 35 errors so far.

Had the Rockies played error-free baseball on September 3, they would have tied the franchise mark with 12 consecutive games without a defensive foible, a standard set in 1997 and 2006.

Frustrating as it may be, those games away from LoDo count, too, all of which explains why a team so dominant at their ballpark will spend October at their literal homes across the Americas.


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