No homers? No problem for this Rockies offense

May 18th, 2023

DENVER -- Back in his native Curacao, ’s mother, Judeska, has said that when he wakes up, he’s always smiling.

“I don’t know why,” Profar said, smiling at the end of Wednesday afternoon’s 11-6 victory over the Reds at Coors Field.

But why would Profar not be beaming every day? He practically wakes up on base.

A first-inning single extended Profar’s on-base streak to 27 games. More importantly, his two-run double was part of a five-run fifth. The Rockies also had a six-run sixth featuring ’s two-run triple. The innings brought the Rockies from a 5-0 hole to a victory that won them the three-game series to go .500 on the six-game homestand.

Considering he started slowly after signing with the Rockies at the end of Spring Training, there is every reason to expect him to play even better. During the on-base streak, Profar is hitting .245 with three home runs, eight doubles, 12 RBIs and 17 walks.

“I still think there’s more in there,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “You don’t say that about your players, but the walk is coming. The on-base percentage continues to rise. The batting average continues to climb.

“There’s a walk in there, a disciplined at-bat and there’s a little bit of power.”

Profar’s base-reaching ability is a feature of a Rockies offense that is partly positive and partly puzzling.

Profar, who has generally hit first or second in the Rockies’ order; , who had two hits and a walk Wednesday; and , who singled twice and drove in three runs, all have been solid hitters. But the Rockies, for the first time since a 17-8 victory over the Giants on April 11, 2012, managed 11 runs without a home run in a game at Coors. It was the first time since a 10-9 victory over the Reds on July 14, 2019, that the Rockies reached double figures at home without a homer.

Power has not been a big part of the offense.

Díaz leads the team in batting average at .331 and Bryant, who has spent much of the year above .300, is at .297. You can throw in , who is hitting .273 and had a bases-loaded walk and was hit by a pitch Wednesday. 

But Profar and Bryant have five homers, and Díaz and Blackmon have three apiece. C.J. Cron, on the 10-day injured list with back spasms, leads the team with six.

It’s not the fence-busting team the Rockies have often employed over their 31 seasons. That’s not all bad. They traditionally struggle on the road, but they head to Texas for a three-game series starting Friday having won seven of their last 13 away matches. While the lack of power is a reason the Rockies are 10-12 at home, it’s possible that relying less on the longball is better for road performance.

However the Rockies are doing it, they’ve shaken off the horrid early start to win 10 of their last 15 contests.

“I didn’t really know the guys here the first month of the season,” Profar said. “But we have a really good team. We have really good players that come to the field every day and try to win.”

The five-run deficit was the largest the Rockies have overcome this season. That kind of offense works anywhere.

“Hitting home runs is fun and everything, but if you can hit line drives up the middle when there are runners in scoring position while at the same time having a threat of going over the fence, that’s good,” Bryant said. “We've really tightened it up since the beginning of the year offensively.”

There was no sense in fretting about home runs on Wednesday. Reds starter Graham Ashcraft pumped high-velocity cutters that baffled the Rockies for four innings. He was so efficient early that manager David Bell went back to him in the sixth, even after he allowed five runs in the fifth.

“That guy, he’s got good stuff -- a lot of cutters, hard, 97 [mph]” Profar said. “But we just kept fighting, putting at-bats together.”

And Profar plans to keep getting on base, smiling the whole way.