The Colorado Rockies managed to avoid scoring any runs on Saturday despite playing not one, but two games, and despite the fact that those games came against the Pirates. The Pirates blanked the Rockies 7-0 in the first game of the doubleheader and then won the second game 4-0.
That marked the first time that a team had been shut out by the Pirates in a doubleheader since 1976. There’s also this historical rarity:
The Rockies’ ineptitude over their past 10 games is reflective of a larger, grimmer trend. This season, the Rockies have now gone 3-22 in road games. Let’s repeat that maximum emphasis: The Rockies have played 25 road games thus far in 2021, and they’ve lost 22 of them. That comes to a road win percentage of .120, and that puts them on pace to be the worst road team in MLB history by a wide margin. Here’s a look at the “top” five in that particular category:
Road win percentage
2021 Colorado Rockies
1935 Boston Braves
1916 Philadelphia Athletics
1945 Philadelphia Athletics
1909 Washington Senators
It’s still May, so it’s hazardous to draw assumptions about how the sizable remainder of the season will play out. That said, the Rockies’ current depths are such that this possible appointment with history merits early attention.
Across those 25 road games, the Rockies have been outscored 128-59. You can use run differential to arrive at what a team’s “deserved” record is, and using that formula we find that, based on runs scored and runs allowed), the Rockies right now ought to be 4-21 in road games. Yes, they’ve been slightly unlucky so far, but they’ve also been genuinely terrible.
Not surprisingly, the prime culprit has been the offense. Playing home games in Coors Field at a mile above sea level helps hitters’ superficial production at home, but there’s a real hangover effect for those same hitters when they go out on the road. Speaking of, the Rockies in road games this season are batting .197/.268/.288. If that somehow holds up, then the 2021 Rockies would be the first team in MLB history to bat below .200 in road games across a full season. Next in line would be the 1908 Athletics, who batted .203 in road games. Also, the Rockies’ current road of OBP of .268 would be the eighth worst mark ever (not counting the heavily abbreviated 2020 season, in which teams played just 30 road games).
Let’s not spare the Rockies’ pitching staff from ridicule. Right now, they rank last in the majors in road ERA with a mark of 5.32. Somehow, that’s significantly worse than their ERA at Coors Field this season, which is 4.50. Suffice it to say, it would be shocking for that trend to hold up.
Looking forward, the Rockies’ road schedule lightens up just a bit, but that’s mostly because their road schedule to date has been pretty brutal. They still have one of the most difficult dockets in baseball remaining. That will of course “help” their unstated cause of becoming the worst road team in MLB history.
In order to break that all-time record that currently belongs to the 1935 Braves, the Rockies can win no more than 10 additional road games this season. Let the countdown begin.