Series Preview: Brewers vs. Rockies

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Friday, September 30th 6:10pm: Brent Suter (2-1 2.16) vs. Chad Bettis (13-8 4.92 ERA)

Chad Bettis will open the series finale against the Brewers’ Brent Suter. Bettis has done well this year and while he may not be an ace, he is the perfect back of the rotation pitcher for the Rockies. He consistently goes out and give the Rockies at least six innings and a chance to win. This is a series where the rookie catcher and outfielders should be getting lots of starts, and the bullpen needs to show some sort of consistency in the final three games. This series doesn’t mean anything for either team, but the players can take some pride in boosting their season stats with the final series of the year.

Saturday, October 1st 6:10pm: Wily Peralta (7-11 5.10 ERA) vs. Tyler Anderson (5-6 3.54 ERA)

With a solid start on Saturday, Tyler Anderson could go down to have the best rookie season for a Rockies pitcher ever. There have been other good seasons, Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Jennings to name a couple, but Anderson seems like he may be the real deal for more than one season and despite some injury history in the minors, he has been healthy and great this year for the Rockies. Anderson will fill in perfectly for the most likely departing Jorge De La Rosa as the lefty of the rotation and he will also seem himself towards the top of this rotation. Anderson is just one of many young starters that give the Rockies a lot of hype and hope going into the 2017 season.

Sunday, October 2nd 1:10pm: TBD vs. German Marquez (1-1 6.14 ERA)

German Marquez will cap the season for the Rockies and he will hope to rebound from his rough start last time out. Marquez is very likely going to be a piece of this Rockies rotation next year so it would be good to see him end the season on a high note. This series also means the Rockies will finish above .500 at home no matter what happens, which is an improvement over last years season, but still not where they should be. The Rockies need to dominate at home to compete and next year that will be a big focus for them, winning more games at home. Obviously the pitching is a concern at home, but the bullpen needs to be the primary focus as they have just been terrible. Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson have both shown a great ability to pitch at Coors, but that is only part of what is necessary for the Rockies to win games at 20th and Blake.

Rockies lose final road game, still improvement

sjm-giants-0930-22.jpgJosie Lepe/Bay Area News Group

The Rockies finished off their last 2016 road game with a loss to the Giants, but they still finished with their best road record in five years. With a 33-48 record on the road, the Rockies were one game better than in 2015 and had their best season since 2011 in which they went 35-46. The road record is hardly something that should be celebrated, but any improvement is a step in the right direction.

Jon Gray finished off his 2016 season on an opposite note that Tyler Chatwood did. While the start was not the worst one for Gray this year, it was far from his best. Gray finished going 5.1 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks. Gray struggled with his command early and the Giants got to him with a couple of clutch hits through the six innings he was in the game. Despite getting a lead to work with early, Gray could not hold it and allowed the Giants to rally back for the eventual win.

The Rockies got their only two runs in the game in the first inning, but they couldn’t get another hit with runners in scoring position after the first. Nolan Arenado drove in the first run with a double for his 131st RBI of the year and David Dahl hit a triple to drive Arenado in.

The Rockies managed seven more hits over the final eight inning, getting at least a hit in all but one inning, but they could never actually rally for anything more. The Giants had better luck than the Rockies and scored seven runs in the game to pull away with the win.

The win kept the Giants ahead in the wild card as the Cardinals won as well. The Rockies failed to play spoiler again and will now finish the season with a completely meaningless series at home against the Brewers. It is another year that the Rockies finish without any drama, but there is still plenty of reason to be excited for the year to come. Depending on what kind of moves the Rockies make this offseason, they could be poised to make a run to the playoffs.

 

Chatwood goes out on a high note

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.jpegAP Photo, Ben Margot

In what was his last start of the 2016 season, Tyler Chatwood left everyone with a good taste in their mouth and will go into the offseason with a lot of good to build off of. Chatwood pitched eight great innings and allowed only three hits and two walks. None of those runners crossed the plate and it set the Rockies up for a shut out win.

Tyler was pitching in his first full season since being with an injury way back in 2014. Even before that, Chatwood had never made more than 20 starts except in one season and that came way back in 2011 when he was with the Angels. This year saw Chatwood make great strides, particularly on the road, for what was his best season in the Bigs yet. He will finish with 158 innings under his belt and a career high in strike outs at 117. This last start is certainly indicative of how Chatwood pitched in the majority of his starts on the road, but with a full offseason ahead of him, Chatwood will definitely be looking to improve on his home stats.

In nearly identical amounts of starts at home and the road, Chatwood’s splits could not be more different. On the road, Tyler had a 1.69 ERA, a .190 batting average against, and an opponent OPS of only .559. His home starts were very different and that really hurt Chatwood’s overall statistics and the Rockies chances of winning when playing at home. Opponents had a .303 batting average and .872 OPS. His ERA was a whopping 6.12 in what was an obvious struggle at home.

Regardless of Chatwood’s splits, he pitched terrific in his final game and will have a season of work under his belt to build off this offseason, rather than a season of injury time. While the Rockies offense did not rout the Giants by any means, they scored two runs which was one more than Chatwood needed. In the fourth, Nolan Arenado tallied his 130th RBI of the season and in the seventh Parra earned an RBI to give the Rockies the two run lead.

The bullpen came on for a split save as Boone Logan and Adam Ottavino took out the Giants in the ninth. It was not without some drama as Boone allowed two hits that surrounded two strikeouts. Ottavino came on with runners at first and third, but neither runner would cross the plate as Buster Posey grounded out to end the game.

The loss for the Giants didn’t mean them losing a playoff spot as the Cardinals lost also, but it did put their magic number at only four. Any combination of Cardinals losses or Giants wins will give the Giants a postseason chance, giving hope to the even year magic that the Giants have seemed to have for the past six years.

Rockies crushed in bad loss

160927_Rockies_Giants1016_bay117.jpgScot Tucker SFBay

The Rockies are currently playing fodder to playoff contenders right now and it has resulted in an ugly five game losing streak. There’s only a few reasons to watch Rockies games right now and sometimes it’s only one thing. DJ LeMahieu and his batting title is the first reason, and the other reasons revolve around young players.

It is hard to root for the young players though when they aren’t getting playing time. Walt Weiss is giving Nick Hundley far more time than he deserves down the stretch, considering he really doesn’t have a place with this team next year and the veteran outfielders are getting more playing time as well, although they are certainly more deserving.

With Hundley catching every third game, the Rockies young starters, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy, are getting robbed of that start that one of them should be getting. These are the young catchers that will have a place with this team next year and they should be earning starts, with Hundley filling in as a pinch hitter. There just really isn’t any reason for Hundley to be playing right now. It would be one thing if the Rockies were competing and they needed that veteran presence behind the plate, but even that offers little with how well the young guys have caught the starters. Tony Wolters has shown himself to be a vast improvement over Hundley defensively, and despite Hundley’s recent success with the bat, Tom Murphy has far more upside.

The outfield is obviously a much more difficult situation as the Rockies have a surplus of outfielders, all of which are lefties. Cargo and Blackmon have questionable futures with the Rockies but they are still earning playing time everyday. This is not to say that they should be removed from the lineup completely or not make starts over the final five games, but they should have been playing less once the Rockies were eliminated. Call it an off day or call it try outs for next year, the Rockies are going to have a lot of decisions to make this offseason regarding their young outfield. It would be such an easier decision if the Rockies had one or two right handed outfield bats, but Raburn is the only one of those and he has not played well at all.

Blackmon and Cargo are the most valuable trade chips this offseason and it is almost guaranteed that at least one of them will be traded. The bullpen is obviously the Rockies biggest focus so if they do trade Charlie or Cargo, that should be what they trade for.

Series Preview: Rockies vs. Giants

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Tuesday, September 27th 8:15pm: German Marquez (1-0 3.48 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (11-12 4.34 ERA)

Marquez earned his first win in his first major league start his last time out and it showed why the Rockies have a handful of young talent from their starters. This game should be all about that for the Rockies, showcasing not just their young starter talent, but all of the young talent they have on this team. They are not competing for anything and the only thing they can do at this point is spoil the Giants chances at the playoffs. The young Rockies outfield should get lots of starts over these final two series and it should makes fans excited for the future. This game probably won’t see too many of the young guys as Moore is a lefty and a lot of the young guys are lefties, but some will start no matter what.

Wednesday, September 28th 8:15: Tyler Chatwood (11-9 4.08 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (12-10 3.83 ERA)

This could be Chatwood’s last start of the year, it likely will be, and it gives him a chance to get his ERA under 4.00. Chatwood has been very good this year, on the road, and another game at AT&T Park will give him one last chance to show off his stuff. Chatwood obviously has something to work on going into the offseason and that is pitching at home, whether it be a small tweak or something more major, Chatwood will need to get better at pitching at Coors Field if he is to be an impact player for the Rockies in the coming year.

Thursday: September 29th 8:15pm: Jon Gray (10-9 4.54 ERA) vs. Albert Suarez (3-5 4.29 ERA)

The series finale has two rookies going against each other, although one is certainly brighter than the other. Jon Gray has shown why he was drafted as a first rounder for the Rockies this year, but he has still struggled at times, particularly in the first inning. This start, Gray needs to get out of the first inning and show what he can do. If Gray were to somehow tally 18 strikeouts in this game, he would reach the 200 mark on the season, but that is a pretty lofty goal and Gray should focus more on using his stuff to dominate this Giants lineup. This series could certainly go either way, but with how bad the Rockies played against the Dodgers, this would be a great chance to rebound against a division rival and spoil their chances at the playoffs.

Dodgers cap sweep with perfect send off for Vin

GettyImages-610467732.0.jpgHarry How/Getty Images

In Vin Scully’s last game at Dodger stadium, the Dodgers did their best job of giving him a memorable send off. While it was a loss for the Rockies and that is never something I enjoy, this is a game that can just be forgotten for the bigger picture.

This game had a little of everything and was quite an exciting one for both teams, but it did result in a loss for the Rockies and a division clinching win for the Dodgers. Both pitchers were very good and both teams got timely hits in the ninth inning to make this one very interesting. The Dodgers had the last laugh with a walk-off homer from ex-Rockie Charlie Culberson and it sent them to their fourth straight division win.

Tyler Anderson had a good start despite allowing ten hits. He ended up going 6.1 innings while allowing only two runs. He only struck out one batter, but he was getting contact outs and managed to get the timely outs when he needed them.

Brandon McCarthy managed to do just as well as Chatwood ignoring the fact that they had very different pitching lines. McCarthy went 5.1 innings while allowing two runs as well, but he had only four hits against him and struck out six. McCarthy’s game goes as a better one based on game score, but Anderson did earn the quality start and set the Rockies up for a win, had they gotten some more bullpen help.

In the ninth inning with a tie game, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen came on to try an keep the game tied. With two outs and a 1-2 count on David Dahl, he looked to be doing his job the right way. But on a high fastball, Dahl hammered a ball out to right field to give the Rockies the one run lead.

Adam Ottavino came on to close the game out and that normally means the Rockies would come away with a win. What Ottavino had to face however, was the future Rookie of the Year and possible MVP candidate Corey Seager. Seager continued his scorching rookie campaign with a home run to counter Dahl’s and the Dodgers tied the game right back up.

The game went to the tenth and the Rockies did manage to get two runners on, but they couldn’t capitalize and the Dodgers went into the tenth with a chance to win. Boone Logan came on to keep the game tied and did a good job of getting the first two batters, but that is when Culberson came to bat. On a 0-1 count, Culberson smashed a ball to left that got out for the walk off home run and the final call of Vin’s career at Dodger Stadium.

The win for the Dodgers clinched the division and cemented the Rockies with a losing season. The Rockies will try and do a better job of playing spoiler as they head off to San Francisco and try and keep them from earning one of two wild card spots.

Kershaw dominates, game overshadowed by mournful loss

122213-fsf-mlb-jose-fernandez-marlins-GI.vresize.1200.675.high.57.jpgSteve Mitchell / USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw dominated the Rockies lineup and the Dodgers scored fourteen runs to come up with a huge win and came a game closer to clinching the division. The loss also mathematically eliminated the Rockies from the playoff race, leaving them thinking of the year to come and what they can do better.

All of this, and every game that was played Saturday night, was overshadowed by news that took the baseball world by surprise. Early Sunday morning, Marlins star pitcher, Jose Fernandez, was pronounced dead in a boating accident. This is news that shocked everyone and ultimately leaves players thinking how lucky they are that they get to play the game they love everyday. This is something that will leave an organization, and entire league, mourning.

Obviously a player dying is something no one wants, but there seems to be extra salt in the wound when it is a generational talent that passes away. Jose Fernandez was only 24 years old, but he was well on his way to being one of the most dominant pitchers on his generation. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2013 and was able to come off of a Tommy John surgery. He was leading the league in strikeouts per nine this year and was first in FIP as well.

In Fernandez’s two full years as a pitcher, he earned himself an All-Star appearance and was controlling most every team he faced. It was almost guaranteed that he would win a Cy Young award before he would retired and on his current track he would have gone down as a good shot for the Hall of Fame. With only one full year under his belt and on his way to a second one this season, it is a shame and a terrible loss for the baseball world.

The baseball season is nearing an end and with a couple of greats retiring this year, namely David Ortiz and Vin Scully, it makes the teams, players, and fans all the more thankful that they can see people connected to the game end on their own time, and not have their careers promptly ended because of an accident.