Coors Field is where bad-hitting teams go to start hitting, and the Atlanta Braves did — for one night. Then they stopped again. This was not an encouraging sign. For these punchless Braves, there may be no encouraging signs.
The Braves scored 13 runs on 16 hits on Tuesday. They scored five runs on 11 hits on Wednesday and Thursday. They were outscored over the four-game series 29-21. The Rockies had 42 hits to the Braves’ 35, and this was a Colorado team playing without starters Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado — and in the series finale without Troy Tulowitzki, who was given the day off.
The one game proved, sad to say, a blip. The Braves scored seven runs in the first inning Tuesday night. Their first runs on both Wednesday and Thursday came in the eighth inning when they trailed 8-0.
The Rockies entered the series with the worst ERA in baseball. Against the Braves, three of Colorado’s four starting pitchers worked quality starts (at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs). Two of the three — Christian Bergman in Game 1 and Tyler Matzek in Game 3 — were making big-league debuts. You know how it’s said that good pitching stops good hitting? With the exception of Game 2, bad pitching stopped bad hitting.
Although 21 runs in four games was a statistical outpouring by Braves’ standards, the setting — everybody hits at altitude! — and the pitching-strapped opposition actually rendered this series yet another substandard offensive showing. Things didn’t get better in Denver. They got worse.
The Braves had to settle for a split after winning the first two games, and they’re now a game behind Washington, which won three of four in San Francisco, in the National League East. On the season, the Braves have managed the third-fewest runs among the 30 big-league teams and the second-fewest runs with runners in scoring position, and they’re 26th in on-base percentage. Freddie Freeman, considered one of the best young hitters in the sport, went 1-for-16 at Coors Field and saw his average slip to .275.
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