There is no greater cure-all for a team slump than a medicinal stop at Denver’s Coors Field, where the outfield is big enough to let the buffalo roam and the air is so thin that baseballs fly like ping pong balls in a gale.
It is hilarious to see hitters slam their bats in disgust after hitting what they believe is a routine fly ball only to see the ball land over the walls and into the seats.
During their recent 11-game losing streak, the Cincinnati Reds averaged 2 ½ runs a game and batted .189. Nobody on the roster was hitting above .300 for the year.
DENVER IS A WELCOME haven and a four-day stay should put some points on shrinking batting averages.
That was, indeed, the case — and then some — on Memorial Day when the Reds outlasted the Colorado Rockies, 11-8.
Among their 17 hits the Reds distributed five home runs, two by The Louisville Slugger, Adam Duvall, a Louisville native.
Duvall, though, wasn’t a registered member of Team Slump. He was the exception to the rule, leading the majors in home runs during the month of May with 11.
THE PROBLEM CHILDREN were Zack Cozart, Eugenio Suarez, Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto.
It began on the day’s first pitch, a fastball down the middle from Colorado starting pitcher Chad Bettis. Cozart drilled it over the left field wall, ending a 0 for 18 skirmish that dropped his batting average below .300 for the first time this season. Cozart finished with three hits and his average is back to .297.
Suarez began the day 0 for 28, more than a week without a hit. He popped out of his tortoise shell with two hits, including a home run.
Hamilton, dropped out of the leadoff spot due to lack of an ignition switch, seems to flourish in either the No. 2 spot in the batting order or No. 7. He has begun to hit, including three hits Monday. And one was a bunt, an encouraging sight. His batting average, which hovered around .200 for the first month, is creeping steadily upward to .241. He still needs attention to his on base average, which is at .284.
VOTTO, TOO, HAS shown signs of shaking his shroud of frustration, a batting average close to the Mendoza Line (below .200). He has begun to get more than one hit a day — if he got that. He had a two-run double and a solo home run Monday and his average is at .213.
Even though is batting average is still miniscule by his standards, his on base average is a respectable .332, but even that is about 90 points below his career average. His strikeouts are up, 56 in 51 games, on pace to eclipse his career-high of 138.
With three games in Coors and facing a suspect pitching staff, the Reds should continue to pad their offensive numbers. Will they win two or three more?
That probably depends upon their pitching and whether they can outslug the Rockies. Jon Moscot, who was roughed up in his last rehab start at Class AAA Louisville, climbs off the disabled list and climbs up on the Coors Field mound tonight, a spot that turns so many pitchers into sitting ducks.
Just ask Tony Cingrani. He was asked to protect an 11-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth Monday. He didn’t last the inning. He gave up three runs, including a two-run home run to Carlos Gonzalez and had to leave the game after getting only two outs. The tying run was on deck when J.C. Ramirez came in to record the final out for his first major league save.
It’s The Coors Factor.