Even with Thursday's 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Phillies, the Rockies matched the most successful 10-game road trip in club history with seven wins. Now they have to make home friendlier than it has been this season.
But first, the road trip.
By winning twice at Minnesota and Cincinnati, and taking the first three against the Phils, the Rockies finished a road trip of at least 10 games with seven wins for just the fourth time in a club history that's in its 25th season. The last couple times the club had road trips so successful, they made the postseason.
They went 7-3 Sept. 12-21, 2007 -- the year they made their surprise World Series appearance -- one of three previous 7-3 road trips. In 2009, they won eight games in an 11-game trip -- and finished that season in the playoffs. None of this is saying they've guaranteed the postseason, but any traveling success for a club whose only winning road record was 41-40 in 2009 is notable.
"Early in the series when we were stretching, I was telling the guys it feels so much different than the past," said Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who sizzled on the road trip -- 16-for-41 (.390) with two home runs, four doubles, five RBIs. "Everybody is confident, everybody knows that we're a really good team so when you go out there with confidence, that's a plus."
The just-completed trip saw the Rockies outscore their opponents, 62-35. Lefty Tyler Anderson held the Phils to one run in seven innings Thursday to leave the starters with a 2.79 road-trip ERA; overall, Rockies pitching produced a 3.32 in the 10 contests.
"We would have liked to win today and get the sweep and go back home on a win on a travel day. But it's good, keep playing good baseball and go back home and hope to do the same thing," Anderson said.
Also, it took stellar opposing pitching efforts a week apart to stop them in two of the three losses. They were shut out at Minnesota last Thursday and managed only Trevor Story's fourth-inning homer against seven Phillies hurlers on Thursday; otherwise, the offense averaged 7.6 runs per game.
With 10 hits in the Phillies finale, the offense batted .288 on the trip. The hitters were at .477 with runners in scoring position before going 0-for-7 Thursday.
"I think we have a swagger about us no matter where we're at," said Story, who started the final two games after his return from a left shoulder strain, and had a double and two walks Wednesday before his homer Thursday. "I can't really pinpoint one thing but we try to bring it no matter where we're playing."
That's good, since the Rockies need to bring that effectiveness to Coors Field, where they are 13-10, for the homestand -- three games with the Cardinals and two with the Mariners. Those last two playoff seasons, the Rockies exceeded 50 wins at home. They're going to need to catch fire at Coors, especially if the road record tightens.
"We try to keep home-road feeling the same," first-year Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We don't try to disassociate either one. You can't play that way no matter the venue, time of day, where, you just got to play."