Mountain baseball is almost an entirely different iteration of the sport. The air is thin, so breaking pitches don't curve as much, and when the ball is hit, it doesn't come down. Of course, it helps that the Colorado Rockies have traditionally been an offensive juggernaut even away from home. The "Coors Field effect" is real, but it's not the reason guys like Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez are perennial All-Stars, or why Trevor Story keeps belting homers in his rookie season.
But whatever the reason, this weekend's series between the Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks featured an incredible abundance of scoring. Neither team put up fewer than six runs or 10 hits in any of the four games, and 13 balls flew out of the yard.
Every game was close, too. Thursday's opener was tied at 6-6 through eight innings, with Colorado scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth to even things up. But Nick Ahmed's RBI single in the top of the ninth put the Diamondbacks in front and was ultimately the game-winner. Friday's contest saw the Rockies turn an 8-3 deficit into a 9-8 lead in the seventh and eighth, only for Yasmany Tomas to tie it again with his second homer of the game. Michael Bourn would later provide the winner with his RBI single later in the frame.
Arizona won the first two games of the series, but the Rockies answered. They took a 7-1 lead into the seventh on Saturday, and when the Diamondbacks slashed it to 7-6, Colorado pushed back with a four-run eighth en route to a five-run victory. Sunday's game was back-and-forth throughout, with Mark Reynolds throwing the final punch in the form of a walk-off, two-run homer.
The teams combined for 65 runs on 109 hits in a series that spiked batting averages and murdered ERAs. Both squads' winning percentages also rose with the split. Neither is in prime position for the playoff chase, as both are below .500 and well behind San Francisco in the division. But each has the potential to rattle off a big winning streak if it can sustain the offensive production that was on display this weekend.
Before he was one of baseball's premier sluggers-for-hire, Reynolds started his career with the Diamondbacks from 2007-10. His 2009 season, in which he knocked 44 homers and drove in 102 runs, remains by far his best. He posted a 3.0 WAR that year and sits at just 2.7 WAR in his other nine years combined. Reynolds has been great this year, however. His .291 batting average is the best of his career, and he's also given the Rockies 16 doubles, 8 homers and 23 RBIs in 69 games.
Rockies closer Carlos Estevez (who bears no relation to fictional-movie closer Charlie Sheen despite sharing his birth name) had a busy weekend, recording a decision in three of the four games. Estevez lost each of the first two games, dropping his record to 1-5 for the season, before notching the win Sunday. He holds his current title only because Jake McGee is on the disabled list, but the 23-year-old Estevez has the stuff of a closer (especially with a 98-mph fastball). Velocity alone doesn't lead to easy success at this level, but the Rockies will be relying heavily on his.
Shelby Miller's nightmare season continued Saturday, when he allowed seven runs in six innings. His 6.89 ERA and 1.77 WHIP are horrendous for any big-league starter, let alone one who was acquired in exchange for a top-line prospect (Arizona flipped Dansby Swanson for him over the winter). Miller and Zack Greinke were supposed to be a brilliant duo at the top of the rotation, but Shelby hasn't nearly held up his end of the deal.