So, the San Diego Padres have proved they can win a game at Coors Field this season. Two, in fact. Now, can they win a series?
A 9-3 victory over the Rockies on Saturday night was just San Diego's second win in nine games in Denver this season. Since the start of the 2021 season, the Padres are just 4-14 at Coors Field.
"I don't know why," Padres manager Bob Melvin said before Saturday's victory. "You'd think offensively, we'd do a little more, and I thought that was going to be the case (in Friday's 4-3 loss in 10 innings). More than anything, the offense has been a little stagnant at this ballpark. With the type of team we have and the type of team last year, it should break loose at some time, hopefully tonight."
And Melvin's hopes played out Saturday night in a win that moved the Padres (84-68) a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies into the second spot in the National League wild-card race.
Which adds importance to Sunday's series finale against the Rockies.
See, Sunday also marks the Padres' last road game of the season. After one more game against the Rockies (65-87), the Padres will finish the season with nine straight home games -- three each against the Dodgers, White Sox and Giants.
And the Rockies aren't quite ready to stop making the Padres' life at Coors Field miserable.
"We're looking to the future," Rockies manager Bud Black said recently. "We've got some new blood in the lineup. We're looking to show what we can do. We're playing to win every game."
And taking another game -- and a third straight series this season from the Padres at Coors Field -- might make the rebuilding process a bit more palatable for Black and his Rockies.
Sunday afternoon's matchup will pit Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger (6-7, 4.23 ERA) against Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland (9-10, 4.38).
The good news for the Rockies is that Freeland has been tough on the Padres in four starts this season. He is 3-0 against them despite a 5.16 ERA. He is 6-5 lifetime against the Padres with a 4.24 ERA in 19 career appearances (17 starts).
Freeland is 2-2 with a 1.84 ERA in his last five starts, and 5-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star Game.
Clevinger, meanwhile, shut out the St. Louis Cardinals on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings in his most recent start on Tuesday. That performance came on the heels of giving up 15 runs in 13 1/3 innings in his three previous starts.
Clevinger has made three appearances (two starts) against the Rockies this season, posting a 1-1 record while giving up seven runs on 15 hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.
In two appearances this season at Coors Field, Clevinger is 0-1 while surrendering six runs on 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings for a 7.36 ERA.
Clevinger is 2-2 with a 6.17 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) vs. Colorado.
--Field Level Media