This road trip ended just like every other one has this season: with the Rockies stumped as to why they can compete at home, but not when they leave the homey confines of Coors Field.
Yes, they at least had hits on this trip, something that has been hard to come by during previous series, but they couldn't string them together when they needed to. Perhaps that’s a sign that their early batting practice — a task they’ve implemented on the first day at a new ballpark to adjust to how balls spin at lower altitudes — and extra meetings are working. But it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t convert to runs.
On Sunday, the Rockies loaded the bases twice, but couldn’t convert on either. They were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, as the Reds defeated the Rockies 6-2 to complete the series sweep. The Rockies are 5-27 on the road, and 1-5 on this six-game trip to Miami and Cincinnati.
"We had multiple opportunities to get a big hit," manager Bud Black said. "We couldn’t deliver."
One of those bases-loaded opportunities came in the fifth inning, after Trevor Story was hit by a pitch and Brendan Rodgers and CJ Cron walked. Dom Nuñez took a full count, but he swung at a low slider and struck out, wasting an easy chance to score a run.
That at-bat was a prime example of how the two Rockies catchers have been performing at the plate this season. Nuñez has a .167 batting average, but has slashed five home runs, showing signs of untapped power. Elías Díaz, the far more experienced of the pair, is averaging .147.
“That’s been a little bit of a dark hole for us the past number of years,” Black said Friday. “We really felt as though these two guys, Elías and Dom, would provide an offensive component.”
On the plus side, the pitching staff at least rebounded from a subpar three days. In the three games prior, Chi Chi González, Kyle Freeland and Germán Márquez allowed eight earned runs each, the second time in franchise history that’s happened and the first since 1998. Antonio Senzatela was the one to crack the spell, giving up five runs in six innings.
Senzatela said this gave him extra motivation to try to throw a good game today.
"I think we need to keep the confidence up," he said. "Everyone is working. I think every day is a new day. We need to keep working on our stuff and do the best we can."
On offense, Raimel Tapia and Charlie Blackmon did enough to extend their hitting streaks to 10 and 12 games, respectively. Ryan McMahon hit his 15th home run.
"We have two, three guys swinging well and the other five, six guys are not," Black said. "That comes back to get you."
The Rockies head back to Denver and Austin Gomber will start Monday against the Padres.