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by Ben Burns - 04/27/2009
The Coors Field humidor has done as good of job reducing runs at the Rockiesâ€™ home park as any steroids test.
In the Rockiesâ€™ first seven seasons (1995-2001), Coors Field averaged a league-high 13.8 runs and 3.2 home runs per game.
Oddsmakers couldnâ€™t set totals high enough. Betting over/under 15 was not uncommon for games at Coors Field. 15!
That changed in 2002, when a Rockies team engineer theorized that Denverâ€™s thin air, which unquestionably allowed home runs to fly farther, also was impacting the baseballs.
The cool, dry Colorado climate made baseballs feel harder and have less grip. The thin air also produced limited resistance to prevent breaking pitches from maximizing their movement.
â€œBeing a pitcher, and holding on to a frozen cue ball as opposed to a legitimate horsehide-leather baseball, is a big difference. A big difference," former Rockies reliever Matt Herges told the Seattle Times in 2007.
Since 2002, the Rockies have been storing game balls inside a humidor, which is located inside Coors Field.
The temperature reportedly stays at 70 degrees with the humidity kept at 50 percent. Thatâ€™s basically the climate Rawlings, the baseball manufacturer, suggests.
Some say keeping the balls in the humidor takes away some of their carry. Others say it simply helps the pitcher get a better grip on the ball and make his breaking pitches break more sharply. Either way, runs are way down at Coors Field.
Last year, Coors Field averaged just over 10 runs per game, an all-time low.
The oddsmakers have dropped the totals accordingly as well.
In 2004, the average total for a game at Coors Field was 12.53.
Last season, the average total was 9.79, and yet, the under hit in five more games.
This weekâ€™s series
San Diego at Colorado (Mon.-Wed.)
â€¢Adrian Gonzalez has hit seven home runs in his last 36 at-bats at Coors Field, by far the most of any away ballpark.
â€¢Chris Young, San Diegoâ€™s schedule starter on Monday, is 3-1 with a 4.20 ERA in his last six starts at Coors Field.
â€¢San Diegoâ€™s Brian Giles has gotten off to a slow start to the season, hitting just .169 as of Sunday.
But the veteran outfielder has had success against Coloradoâ€™s scheduled starters for Tuesdayâ€™s and Wednesdayâ€™s games.
Giles have four hits in five at-bats against Coloradoâ€™s Jorge De La Rosa (Tuesday).
Giles has faced Wednesdayâ€™s starter Aaron Cook much more frequently and hitting .378 in 45 at-bats.
â€¢Coloradoâ€™s big gun Todd Helton is only 2 of 12 against San Diegoâ€™s Kevin Correia, the Padresâ€™ starter on Wednesday.