Will Rockies capitalize on their April schedule?
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?