Arenado powering Rockies to new heights
Third baseman looks to bring road production to Coors Field
PHILADELPHIA -- Nolan Arenado parked a two-run, first-inning home run in the Rockies' 4-1 victory over the Phillies on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep and a 5-1 road trip. But Arenado knows the danger of a flat homecoming.
So Arenado is not spending too much time enjoying his productive road trip -- 8-for-23 (.348) with four home runs and 10 RBIs in six games. With the Rockies bouncing back after falling deep into last place in the National League West, Arenado is looking forward to starting a four-game series with the division-leading Dodgers on Monday night.
"It'll be nice to take care of business against them," Arenado said. "Last time we were playing well, we faced them and they swept us."
If the Rockies' newfound ability to score is a trend, Arenado is a key force driving it. He leads the team with 12 homers, including his shot off the Phillies' Jerome Williams on Sunday for a 2-0 lead. With Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez having a difficult time finding their power after missing much of last season, Arenado has stepped into an offensive leadership role.
"He's been a clutch hitter since he showed up at the Major League level," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "That's been his history. His first year he went through some growing pains just like young players do in this league, but he's always been a good hitter. That's been his track record, so this isn't surprising."
Arenado's 10 road homers this season surpass the seven combined that he hit his first two Major League seasons. Now, he has to take the production home. So do his teammates.
A club that has traditionally played well at home, even when the final record was poor, is 8-13 at Coors Field (as opposed to 14-13 on the road).
The Rockies are looking to perform at home the way they did in Philadelphia while earning their first regular-season sweep in the city in their history. (They famously won twice at Citizens Bank Park during the 2007 NL Division Series sweep.)
Colorado had 12 home runs on the road trip, including eight in the sweep of the Phillies -- two each by Arenado, Tulowitzki and Ben Paulsen as well as one apiece from Michael McKenry and DJ LeMahieu (a two-run shot in the fifth on Sunday). The last time they had as many homers in a three-game series was April 1-3, 2013, with eight at Milwaukee.
"It would be nice to hit some homers at home," Arenado said. "But at the same time, have good at-bats. Lately, thank God I have good at-bats. Hopefully I'll keep it going."