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Rockies to start 2014 slate with visit to Miami

DENVER -- The Rockies will begin the 2014 season at Miami on March 31 to open a four-game series, and they will play a schedule that will not have some of the pitfalls of the 2013 slate.

The home schedule opens April 4 against the D-backs at 2:10 p.m. MT -- a game that begins a six-game homestand that includes an three-game Interleague series with the White Sox. Colorado will face the entire American League Central in Interleague Play. The Rockies will face the White Sox (April 7-9), Rangers (May 5-6), Twins (July 11-13) and Royals (Aug. 19-20) at home, and the Rangers (May 7-8), Royals (May 13-14), Indians (May 30-June 1) and Tigers (Aug. 1-3) on the road.

Major League Baseball released schedules for all 30 teams on Tuesday. For the Rockies, the pattern of the schedule will mean almost as much as the teams on it.

One major difference between this year and next is Colorado will have just two three-city road trips, and those tough trips will be completed as June begins. A club that traditionally struggles on the road, the Rockies went from surprise National League West contender to also-ran as soon as the three-city road trips began.

Colorado was 37-33 before going 2-7 on Toronto-Washington-Boston tour June 17-26. The Rockies were still a respectable 42-44 before going 4-6 on an NL West trip against the D-backs, Padres and Dodgers.

The season went into freefall when the Rockies 1-9 against the Braves, Pirates and Mets from July 29-Aug. 8. They followed that with a 3-6 performance against the Orioles, Phillies and Marlins from Aug. 16-23, and Colorado is a combined 0-4 at San Diego and San Francisco, with Arizona to come on the final three-stop trip of the season.

In 2014, the Rockies will travel to meet the Rangers, Reds and Royals for seven total games May 7-14, and play the Braves, Phillies and Indians a total of nine games from May 23-June 1.

The Rockies will have a 10-game homestand against the D-backs, Dodges and Braves from June 3-12, another 10-gamer against the Dodgers, Padres and Twins from July 3-13 going into the All-Star break, and a nine-game hosting of the Reds, Royals and Marlins from Aug. 14-24.

Another change in the schedule plan is that Colorado will complete Interleague Play with a two-game set with Kansas City on Aug. 19-20. This year, the Red Sox are at Coors Field for a two-game set in the next-to-last series of the season.

September 2014 will look more like the past, with most of the games within the NL West, although there is a road trip to play the Mets and the Cardinals (Sept. 8-14). The final homestand is against the Dodgers (Sept. 15-17) and the D-backs (Sept. 18-21), and the season ends on the road against the Padres (Sept. 22-24) and the Dodgers (Sept. 26-28).

In 2014, the Rockies' standard gametimes again will be 6:40 p.m. MT on weeknights, 1:10 p.m. for midweek day games and 2:10 p.m. on Sundays, with Saturdays to be determined by national television situations.

The club will be home for fireworks games July 3-4 against the Dodgers, as well as Sept. 19 against the D-backs. Other home schedule highlights are games with the Braves (June 9-12), the Cardinals (June 23-25), the Pirates (July 25-27) and the Cubs (Aug. 5-7).

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.

Colorado Rockies