Winning is a habit. Momentum is the key to success and in no sport does that ring truer than in baseball – just ask the Colorado Rockies.
Bottom of the National League West with an 18-27 record, they went on a six game road trip against Arizona and San Francisco in which they were underdogs in all but one game.
What happened? They took two of three against the Diamondbacks and swept the Giants, making loyal Colorado bettors a stack of money.
As the Rockies head into a four game home stand against St. Louis, bettors will be trying to figure out if the streak will end as abruptly as it began or if the momentum of a six game winning streak will continue. Covers Expert Dave Malinsky says momentum is huge in baseball handicapping.
"We place a higher degree (on momentum) in baseball than the other sports, largely because so much of the game is mental," Malinsky says. "That particularly matters for a team like the Rockies, because they are not going to win a lot of games on talent alone. They do not have a dominating starting pitcher every game so it becomes a battle, but the more energy and confidence they bring to the table the better they can work their way through those battles."
And battle they did, a pitching staff that was ranked last in the National League with an ERA of 4.69, somehow managed to find some form to post a 2.63 ERA in their last 12 games.
The starters in particular have lifted their game; Jeff Francis went 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in five May starts, Josh Fogg has given up just two earned runs in 13 innings, and Taylor Buchholz gave up just one unearned run in seven innings of his last start.
Aaron Cook is 4-0 in his last five starts and Jason Hirsh has given up four or fewer earned runs in each start this season, so all of a sudden it’s looking rosy in the garden for Rockies pitchers. The batters have done their part too.
Matt Holliday, Todd Helton and Co. outscored the Giants 17-8 in the three game sweep - the only time the Rockies have won four or more away from Coors Field on the same road trip since August 1993.
In fact, the Rockies have a better record on the road (13-14, .481) this season then they do at home (11-13 .458) raising questions about whether Coors Field offers any advantage to Colorado.
"At this stage not nearly as much as it used to," says Malinsky. "Since the humidors became part of that equation Coors has become an easier place for the opposition to adapt to, which has taken away much of what used to be a very strong home field advantage."
Next up for the Rockies is a 10-game home stand against St. Louis, Cincinnati and Houston.
"At this stage, just about any collection of Major Leaguer’s can compete against those opponents," Malinsky added. " But in all seriousness, this does come at the right time for them – there is a real opportunity to build something."
The Rockies are -143 favorites for Thursday's game. Oddsmakers have the total set at 9 1/2.