Alex Rodriguez hasn't had any problem hitting long home runs on a regular basis this season at a low altitude. Fans at Coors Field will get to see just how far he can drive the ball this week in the thin air of Denver.
Rodriguez and the surging New York Yankees bring their hot bats into hitter-friendly Coors to face the Colorado Rockies in a three-game series starting Tuesday.The superstar third baseman keyed another Yankees victory Sunday, hitting a towering two-run homer and driving in three runs to help his team knock off the New York Mets 8-2. The Yanks (35-32) won for the 11th time in 12 games, scoring at least seven runs for the eighth time in that span."Winning's what makes it all special," Rodriguez told the Yankees' official Web site after homering five times on a six-game homestand. "April was OK, but we weren't really winning any games, so it was hard to enjoy that. The fact that we're (winning), that's what counts."Rodriguez leads the major leagues with 27 homers and 73 RBIs, and is 11-for-24 (.458) in his last seven games -- numbers that could spell trouble for Rockies pitchers this week. Rodriguez has played only five games at Coors, hitting .400 (8-for-20) with a home run and four RBIs.Another big reason for New York's resurgence has been consistent starting pitching, and Mike Mussina has been one of the players providing it. Mussina (3-3, 5.17 ERA) has turned in strong efforts in three of his last four outings, and posted a 1.98 ERA over his last two.The right-hander threw 7 2-3 innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts and no walks in a 7-2 victory over Arizona on Wednesday. His only start at Coors Field came on June 18, 2002, when he pitched six innings and allowed eight hits and five runs in a 10-5 win.As well as they have been hitting, the Yankees could be hard-pressed to match their offensive performance from that series. In their first ever matchup with the Rockies, the Yanks scored 41 runs in taking two of three games, including a 20-10 victory in the middle contest.The 41 runs is the highest three-game total by an opponent at Coors Field.The Yankees did give up 29 runs in that series and dropped the finale 14-11 in 10 innings -- their only loss in six overall games against Colorado. New York swept three games at Yankee Stadium from June 8-10, 2004.The Yankees will be facing a Rockies team that is also playing well, having followed an impressive series win at Boston by taking two of three at home from Tampa Bay over the weekend.Colorado (35-34) scored 19 runs in its two victories at Fenway Park and continued its hot hitting against the Devil Rays, totaling 22 runs in taking the first two games of the series. They failed to complete the sweep Sunday, falling 7-4.The Rockies have won 10 of 14, totaling 19 home runs in that stretch after hitting three on Sunday."It's always around this time of year when it starts to warm up, guys hit the ball in the air and it seems like it's flying a little bit more, but I can only imagine what the balls were doing before the humidor," Colorado's Aaron Cook told the Rockies' Web site after giving up six runs and 10 hits in six innings.The Rockies' storing of balls in a humidor didn't keep Cook from giving up three home runs, but he won't have to face Rodriguez and the rest of the Yankees on Tuesday. That assignment will fall to Josh Fogg (2-5, 4.95), who's given up two runs or less in three of his last four starts.The veteran right-hander pitched five innings and allowed two runs in 12-2 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday. He's 0-0 with a 4.76 ERA in three appearances -- all in relief -- against the Yankees, although he hasn't faced them since 2001.Colorado left fielder Matt Holliday went 2-for-3 on Sunday and is 12-for-21 (.571) with seven RBIs in his last five games.