Will Rockies capitalize on their April schedule?

January 22, 2011 | 11:35 pm | 4  

While making the playoffs two of the past four years, the Colorado Rockies have shown they can come from behind, make up ground and finish with a rush. But what if they broke fast and instead of muddling through April actually played well?

History says that’s a rather novel concept. But the schedule this season suggests a fast start is a real possibility this April. The Rockies are scheduled to play 27 games in April, just three against a team that had a winning record in 2010 — that team being the world champion Giants.

Is this the season, the Rockies get off to a notable April start? And better yet, sustain it?

The Rockies have had four straight losing Aprils. They have had one winning April in the past seven years and two in the past nine. In their 18-year history, the Rockies are 189-221 (.461) in April. Not that April is the cruelest month — May (.448) and July (.457) are worse. And for that matter, so is October (.321), although the Rockies have only played 28 regular-season games in that month.

This year, the Rockies are scheduled to play 13 games at home and 14 on the road in April, none against an NL West opponent. Yes, the Rockies have to play three games at Florida, but three games there in late April might be a break, assuming the humidity is less stifling than July, when the Rockies lost three of four in Florida last year.

Here is the Rockies 2011 April schedule, with the opponent’s 2010 record in parenthesis:

April 1-3 vs. Diamondbacks (65-97)
April 5-6 vs. Dodgers (80-82)
April 7-10 at Pirates (57-105)
April 11-14 at Mets (79-83)
April 15-17 vs. Cubs (75-87)
April 18-20 vs. Giants (92-70)
April 22-25 at Marlins (80-82)
April 26-28 at Cubs
April 29-30 at Pirates

Teams change, of course, so last year’s record is no guarantee of an opponent’s quality this season. And there’s a baseball saying that pennants can’t be won in April, but they can be lost. Well, the Rockies have proven they can surmount a miserable April, going 10-16 in April 2007 and 8-12 in April 2009 but reaching the postseason each year.

The Rockies best April in a season when clubs played a full schedule during that month was 17-7 in 1996, followed by a 12-17 May.

That said, is the year the Rockies?

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4 Comments »

  • Mike Raysfan | January 23, 2011 | 9:48 am

    Jack,

    I had burried all the pre-season hype from last season deep within. This story conjores memories of Buster Olney from last season. You remember. Last April was alleged to be a “walk in the park” by some national talking heads.

    Maybe it’s me, but what about being from FL? Humidity? Those of us that grew up playing baseball there might have somewhat of a hard time understanding this sense of struggle by some Rockies players (Jason Hammel comes to mind) ability to play a 3 game series in the humidity. Times have changed but still, I have to wonder what would happen today, playing in high school, American Legion, college, or maybe even trying to make it in the Gulf Coast League, you have a few bad games in a row and try explaining to your coach it was related to nothing more than humidity.

    Sorry for the editorial.

    I’m not a stat guy but this is one that wouldn’t hurt my feelings if the Rockies could over come. You encompass one of my biggest pet peeves in all of baseball. The fan slogan “the season is still early, there’s plenty of time”. Sorry, games against NL West opponents count just as much in April as they do Sept.

    I couldn’t have said it any better than you:

    “pennants can’t be won in April, but they can be lost”

    How VERY true.

  • terence | January 23, 2011 | 12:41 pm

    every game you win in april is one less game you MUST win in september.

  • Bob | January 23, 2011 | 2:51 pm

    That statement “the season is still early, there’s plenty of time” really bothered me last year when Jim Tracy started saying it and then the players started a few games later. I know I can’t expect them to win every game (and I don’t) but that attitude when they were losing to the Pirates got them in the situation where they HAD to win games in September. I hope they fix that lackadaisical approach and win against those teams they have no business losing to.
    A good April will go along way toward fixing it.

  • Dylan M. | January 23, 2011 | 10:57 pm

    Last year, the Rockies really played to the opponent’s talent level most of the time. I look at that schedule and I see a lot of wins, but it’s impossible to tell with this volatile team.

    Prediction: 18-09.