The Rockies’ power shortage is one of their most glaring weaknesses.
Their 144 home runs rank 28th in the majors, and the 45 dingers hit by their outfielders also rank 28th. In order for their fortunes to change, that must change.
Although Colorado’s five-game winning streak — its best run of the season — came to a halt with an 11-10 loss to the Giants on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field, rookie outfielders Hunter Goodman and Brenton Doyle supplied some juice and a flicker of hope.
In the Rockies’ five-run sixth inning, Goodman, who started in right field, hit the first home run of his career, a two-run blast to left field that traveled 437 feet. Rookie center fielder Brenton Doyle, who’s emerged as a defensive force, followed with a three-run, 445-foot homer to left, his ninth of the season.
Rookie left fielder Nolan Jones has already hit 16 homers, the second-most by a left-handed-hitting rookie in franchise history. He trails only Todd Helton, the likely Hall of Famer who mashed 25 homers in 1998.
After Sunday’s loss, manager Bud Black assessed Colorado’s rookie power potential.
“Nolan’s got (16) homers and he’s hitting (.276) and his on-base component is good (.362), so that tells me that his at-bats are good,” Black said, adding that he’s seeing a shorter, more compact swing from Jones. “He’s showing growth as a hitter, and when you have power, you’re going to hit homers. So I’m pretty confident there.”
As for Doyle, whose 34.7% strikeout rate is the second-highest in the majors for players with a minimum of 350 plate appearances, Black believes some mechanical adjustments to his swing in the offseason will produce results.
“He almost hit that homer to the concourse, so the power is there,” Black said. “If we clean up the mechanics, there is more in there.”
Goodman hit 34 homers at two levels of the minors this season, and the Rockies love his swing, so they’re hopeful he can deliver at the big-league level.
“It was good to finally get the first one,” said Goodman, whose first homer came in his 17th game and 55th at-bat. “As much as you want to say that it doesn’t wear on you and you’re not thinking about it, it’s always in the back of your mind. You’re thinking, ‘When’s it going to happen?’”
The Giants appeared to have iced Sunday’s game when their slumbering bats came out of hibernation in an eight-run sixth inning when they sent 12 men to the plate.
But the Rockies scored four runs in the ninth — the key hit a two-run, pinch-hit single by Elias Diaz — to put the Giants against the ropes. San Francisco held on for the victory when Taylor Rogers got Charlie Blackmon to line out weakly to second base.
The Giants, who received 5 1/3 strong innings from right-hander Sean Manaea, snapped a nine-game road losing streak and avoided a rare four-game sweep in Colorado.
For four scoreless, hitless innings, Colorado right-hander Chris Flexen dominated San Francisco. The Giants nicked him for a run in the fifth on a leadoff single by J.D. Davis and an RBI double by Mitch Haniger.
But San Francisco’s offense, so quiet for most of the series, woke up in the sixth with 10 hits off Flexen and relievers Matt Koch and Evan Justice.
Joc Pederson ripped an RBI double right off Flexen, and Koch gave up an RBI single to J.D. Davis, a two-run double to Haniger and a three-run homer to Brandon Crawford. Crawford has driven in 80 runs at Coors Field, the second-most by a visiting player, trailing only Adrian Gonzalez, who had 88.
The Rockies begin their final road trip of the season Monday at San Diego as they open a three-game series against the Padres. Colorado has a 22-53 record on the road.
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