Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

Coors Field: The Hitter's Heaven

For the first time since 2008, the Indians will return to Coors Field and play the Rockies in a two-game series. The IBI's John Alfes breaks down the game's most hitter-friendly ballpark...

Coors Field is unlike any other venue in the world of sports.

Hitters love it, especially Troy Tulowitzki.

The five-time All-Star has a .320/.392/.557 slash line with 120 doubles, 107 home runs and 387 RBIs in 529 games played at the Colorado ballpark.

Tulowitzki’s stats at every other baseball stadium are a fraction of the eye-popping numbers above – .269/.341/.456 slash line with 138 doubles, 112 home runs and 380 RBIs in 715 games played.

Pitchers dread it, especially Drew Pomeranz.

The former fifth overall pick has a 3-7 record, 4.35 ERA and 1.488 WHIP in 80.2 innings pitched when working in the high altitude conditions of Coors Field.

Pomeranz’s stats at every other baseball stadium are also a fraction of the inflated numbers above – 27-32 record, 4.05 ERA and 1.226 WHIP in 432.2 innings pitched.

What gives?

"I don't know that it is,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “I don't even know if it is still rated number one.”

Over recent years, the home of the Rockies has simply been a paradise for hitters and a nightmare for pitchers…

parkfactors.com

So far in 2017, Coors Field rates second in runs scored, third in triples, fourth in hits, ninth in home runs and 11th in doubles. Historical trends point to it climbing to the top of hitter-friendly parks for the remainder of the campaign.

parkfactors.com

Francona has playing and coaching experience at every stadium and believes Coors Field is not a one of a kind creation.

“There are so many ballparks now that create offense,” Francona said. “I don't know if it is just in a place by itself. I know that it is a good place to hit, but there are some other places that are pretty good, too.”

Since his playing days with the Denver Bears – the former Triple-A affiliate of the Montreal Expos – Francona is well aware of the effect a unique environment can have on the game of baseball.

“It is so funny because I played Triple-A there, and whether it is being naive, dumb, maybe all of it, but I would run my sprints before the game and I always would be a little light-headed,” said Francona. “I remember thinking to myself, 'I wonder why I'm light-headed. I'm 21 years old, and I wonder why it doesn't happen like in Evansville.'”

"This was Denver. I played there too. This was the Denver Bears. Mile High Stadium. We out do the Pirates that year. It was a fun place to play Triple-A. Big ballpark, good crowds.”

The Tribe will open a two-game series at Coors Field on Tuesday, their first trip since June 19, 2008. Whether it's the ball’s flight through thin air or the fatigue of the players, the rare chance to play this Interleague contest on the road will surely have its fair share of offensive production.

"There is a couple of things. One, I think that it definitely can be mental,” Francona said. “I think it is also physical. I remember (Curt) Schilling always telling me, it wasn't that he couldn't do good out there, it was just that he had to work harder so when the start was over he was more sore than before.”

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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