Dusty Baker talked, after the Washington Nationals’ 5-3 homestand ended with a 9-1 win over the Atlanta Braves, about the tough task ahead starting with tonight’s series opener in Coors Field in Colorado.
“It’s going to be a tough road trip, tough ballpark,” Baker said.
“I think they have four or five of the top hitters in the league batting at home and I played many, many games there and it’s a different ballgame there.”
The Rockies have 6 of the top 12 hitters (by average at home) in the NL, actually, with DJ LeMahieu (.378), Carlos Gonzalez (.363) Nos. 1-2 in the National League, Charlie Blackmon (.322, No. 7), Nolan Arenado (.321, No. 8), Trevor Story (.313, No. 11, who’s injured and out for the season) and Mark Reynolds (.312, No. 12) all killing the ball in Coors Field.
Baker said he was happy that Tanner Roark went deep into the finale of the three-game set with the Braves on Sunday and spared his relievers before they headed to Denver.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Baker said. “Because a lead is never safe there and you’ve just got to keep adding on. And above all, your pitching staff, you just don’t want to walk people, cause in that stadium, it’s hard to stop them first-to-third, hard to stop them in gaps in the alley and the ball flies, so it’s going to be an interesting and challenging series.”
Max Scherzer, who starts for the Nationals in the series opener, leads (doesn’t seem like the right word) the National League in home runs allowed (tied with Reds’ Brandon Finnegan) heading into the series in Coors Field, with 24 given up in 163 ⅔ IP (1.32 HR/9), though he’s allowed three total in his last 43 IP.
Scherzer has allowed four home runs in 22 IP in Denver, CO over four career starts in the Rockies’ home, where he’s (0-3) with a 5.32 ERA and a .304/.343/.533 line against, though only one of those starts has taken place after 2009.
Here’s the lineup that will back up Scherzer in the series opener with the Rockies: