Series Preview: Rockies (33-21) vs. Mariners (24-29)

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Wednesday, May 31st 8:10pm: Antonio Senzatela (7-1 3.19) vs. James Paxton (3-0 1.43)

The good news for the Rockies after losing two to the Mariners at home, is that they were there worst pitchers (this year) taking the hill and they are still second in the division and twelve games over .500. The bad news, is that they now have to head to Seattle to face their best pitcher, who is coming off of the DL. Maybe that will mean Paxton will be off his game and out of practice, though that seems unlikely with how he pitched before the DL. There is also the fact that the Mariners offense seemed to get hot over the two games at Coors, which may spell trouble for Senzatela, who just seems due for regression. The Rockies definitely need to take at least one of these games, but they’d love to take both and get some revenge on the Mariners.

Thursday, June 1st 1:40pm: Kyle Freeland (5-3 3.59) vs. Yovani Gallardo (2-5 5.76)

If there was any game that favored the Rockies in this four, this is the one. Kyle Freeland has been terrific lately, and Gallardo is definitely over the hill and not having a good season. He is also a pitcher the Rockies are more familiar with, even though they don’t have great numbers against him. But against veterans, the Rockies have been much better and this is a game the Rockies should be hungry to win, especially if they lose on Wednesday. Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but it is also a welcome thing that the Rockies are on the road, as they have been much better there than at home.

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Terrible Tyler’s: Rockies lose second straight behind Anderson

A day after Tyler Chatwood failed to get out of the fifth inning, Tyler Anderson needed to be good to preserve the bullpen. That was the ideal scenario but it did not play out even close to being that easy. Anderson gave up six runs and got through only five innings, but the Rockies were out of the game early and could not claw their way back into it.

Seattle, an offense that was struggling heavily coming into Colorado, has seemed to get their groove back as they scored ten runs on 19 hits in the game. They had two home runs, and really controlled the game from beginning to end. With their starter Ariel Miranda on the mound, they needed only a few runs as he was really good. He got through only five innings and walked four, but he also only gave up two runs, which was good enough to keep the Rockies down.

The game could have been even worse, as the Rockies turned four double plays which often cut innings short and kept the Mariners from really breaking a game open. But even with the four double plays, it was not nearly enough to keep the Mariners from making this a blowout and taking both games at Coors Field.

It is only the second series lost by Colorado this year with the only other one coming against the Nationals. Losing a series to the Nationals is forgivable, as they are a really good team. The Mariners however, are not good and have struggled so far this year, and losing two to them at home is a tough pill to swallow.

Luckily for the Rockies, they get a chance to get some immediate revenge by heading out to Seattle for another two games against the Mariners. These are two games they need to win, as with the loss they fell out of first place to the Dodgers who have not slowed down.

The Rockies will get some better and more consistent starters in this two game set and that should lead to some wins, as pitching has actually been the biggest strength of this team early on. For now, the Rockies will take what they can get from Anderson and Chatwood, but with Gray nearing his return and Hoffman still waiting for the call up, there may not be room soon if these two continue to struggle.

Chatty has another bad start at home

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With Jon Gray’s return imminent, a rehab assignment could come within two weeks, it would be a bad sign to see Chatwood still in the rotation. After yet another poor start at home, Chatwood has proven once again that he is unfit to pitch at Coors. Along with his inconsistency on the road, he is just not a starting pitcher the Rockies can use anymore.

Chatwood would most likely find a home in the bullpen, taking either Scott Oberg’s, or more likely, Jordan Lyles spot. The sooner a move is made, the better, and even if Jon Gray is not the one to take the spot, Jeff Hoffman is primed and ready to take the rotation spot.

This could all be a gut reaction to Chatwood’s poor start today, but that stats this year and last year tell the story and show that it is all true. The Rockies lost today because of six runs given up by Tyler over only 4.1 innings. This would maybe be more acceptable if it came against a team that was an offensive powerhouse, but instead it came against the Mariners.

The Mariners have capable hitters, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager, right in the middle of their lineup, but lately they have all been struggling resulting in an anemic Seattle offense. They scored five runs on 16 hits on Sunday against the Red Sox, and another six runs on Monday shows they may be coming around. The Rockies hope this is not the case as they still have three consecutive games against them and the Dodgers and Dbacks hot on their tail.

The Rockies tried to fight back into this game and got within a run, but they could just not force across the tying one. They had seven hits on the day, but failed to get any production from Cargo or Reynolds in the middle of the lineup, something that never bodes well. If you take away Parra from this game, the Rockies never really stand a chance, but fortunately Parra was able to drive in a couple to get the Rockies close.

Colorado sends Tyler Anderson to the hill on Tuesday, and they absolutely need a better start out of him. The Mariners did use a lot of their good bullpen arms on Monday, so even if the Rockies can’t get to their starter, they may have a chance late in the game if they happen to be down.

Series Preview: Mariners (22-29) vs. Rockies (33-19)

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Monday, May 29th 1:10pm: Sam Gaviglio (0-1 1.38) vs. Tyler Chatwood (4-6 4.50)

Gaviglio had a long road to the big leagues as he is now age 27 and has only made his debut this year. He has been effective in his two starts and his one relief appearance, but he is still a rookie and bumps in the road happen. However, the Rockies have not been great against young guys, especially ones they have not seen before, so this game is really one that is probably the easiest to lose over the four game home/away set. Tyler Chatwood is also taking the hill at home, which has normally been a bad omen, especially with how inconsistent he has been.

Tuesday, May 30th 5:10pm: Ariel Miranda (4-2 4.22) vs. Tyler Anderson (3-4 5.40)

Tyler Anderson seems to be coming out of his sophomore slump as he has been much better in May than he was in April. Hopefully he can keep that going against Miranda who, against one bad outing, has been very good this year. Coors is obviously very far away from Safeco field in terms of atmosphere and hitter vs. pitcher ballpark, so maybe things will be different. Colorado really does need to take these two games before heading to Seattle, but Seattle has been terrible on offense this year, so the Colorado pitchers can gain some confidence, unless of course they take off.

Third straight rookie start earns series win

German Marquez pitched well on Sunday, but he had perhaps the worst start of the three rookies in the Cardinals series. This is not to say that he pitched bad, just that the other two pitched very well with both earning quality starts. Marquez did not get through the sixth inning, but he still pitched well enough to earn the win for himself and the Rockies.

The Rockies offense did plenty, with most of it coming again in the eighth inning. Four runs came in the eighth, half of the Rockies runs, in another late showing of offensive strength. It came once again against Matt Bowman and started with a DJ LeMahieu single. Due to a couple of bad decisions on fielder’s choices by Aledmys Diaz, the Rockies were able to get men on and not get anyone out. Those plays were largely the reason the inning got so out of hand, but the Rockies would not complain.

Mark Reynolds earned an RBI single in the eight, one of two hits on the day, and Tony Wolters singled in a couple of runs as well. Cargo drove in the other eighth inning run with a sac fly and just like that the game went from a one-run affair to a four run late blowout.

The other big hit for Colorado came in the fourth inning when Gerardo Parra hit his sixth home run of the year, a three-run shot to deep right-center field. Parra had three hits on the afternoon and was a worthy replacement for Cargo who had the day off from starting.

With Marquez exiting in the sixth, the bullpen had a little work to do to keep the game close and they did mostly a good job, with the only faults, and hits, coming as solo home runs for the Cardinals. The first was a Tommy Pham shot in the seventh that come off of Chris Rusin and the other was the first major league home run in the first at-bat of Paul DeJong off of Greg Holland.

Normally allowing home runs is something you don’t want to happen, but in the case of Holland, a late homer by a team already up five runs does not really harm them. The series gives the Rockies another series win and kept them ahead of the Dodgers, who won, and the Dbacks, who lost.

Colorado now faces the Mariners for a quick two game home, two game away series. The Mariners have been pretty terrible by all standards so Colorado should certainly take both home games and with how they have been away from home, they should take the road games as well.

Wainwright dominates, again

Adam Wainwright, no matter how he is pitching in the year, always seems to have the Rockies number. Saturday night was no exception as he once again dominated the Rockies lineup from top to bottom. Kyle Freeland was good, but not nearly good enough and even if he had kept the Cards scoreless, he did not get any run support.

Saturday’s game was much a role reversal from Friday without the blowout by the bullpen. Two pitchers dueled late into the game, but one just came away as the more effective. Wainwright was the reason for that during this game and it gave the Cardinals the win and tied the series up at a game apiece.

While it is hard to fault the Rockies when a pitcher has your number, there was an opportunity late that Colorado failed to capitalize on. After Wainwright was removed, the Rockies final started to threaten and were put right back in the game.

In the eighth, Trevor Rosenthal came on and nearly lost the lead. He walked the leadoff batter Tony Wolters to begin the inning and then Parra reached on an error by Jedd Gyroko at first. The Rockies had the top of the order coming up with two men on and no outs so it looked pretty good for Colorado.

Red hot Charlie Blackmon came up, but Rosenthal bared down and got Blackmon to strike out on a changeup. LeMahieu then came up only to have the same result. An inning that looked good turned sour really quickly with two strikeouts and no runners advancing. Arenado then walked to load the bases, but Cargo could not get a hit and the Rockies finished the inning without any harm done.

The loss definitely stinks, but it came on a night when Arizona lost and it still gives the Rockies the chance to win the series on Sunday. That is something they definitely need to do as Arizona and Los Angeles are 1 game and 1.5 games back respectively. Every win and every chance to extend that division lead is vital, especially down the stretch, as neither of the two trailing teams seem to be slowing down.

German Marquez takes the bump in the finale against Lance Lynn. Blackmon, Parra, and Desmond have all had success off of Lynn, more so than anyone had against Wainwright, so this game looks a little more positive for Colorado, especially since they have been good at rebounding after a loss.

Rockies rout Cards in opener

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Through seven innings of Friday’s game, the Cardinals and Rockies were dueling on the mound. Both Carlos Martinez and Antonio Senzatela were dealing and neither team’s offense was doing that great, though the Rockies did score a couple off of Martinez. But that all changed, at least for the Rockies, in the eighth inning.

The inning started harmlessly enough with Gerardo Parra striking out. However, the red hot Blackmon came up to the plate and launched a homer to right field to start the scoring onslaught for Colorado. With the home run, Martinez was taken out of the game giving up three runs over 7.1 innings with nine strikeouts.

With Martinez off the mound, the Rockies felt free to open up the rout and that is what they would do with their eight run eighth inning. Four singles, three doubles, and two home runs in the inning would give Colorado all the insurance runs they needed to bury the Cards late. Along with Blackmon’s home run, he also had an RBI single in the inning and finished 4-4 only a double short of the cycle. Mark Reynolds also hit a homer in the inning, a three-run shot, to stay on Blackmon’s heels for the league RBI lead.

While this was not the most important win of the season, it may have been the best and most rounded one. Antonio Senzatela absolutely rebounded after a couple of rough outings. The offense was obviously eager to be home. And even the defense was stellar, turning four double plays behind Sensei and making a couple highlight reel plays as well.

Senzatela would finish after eight innings of shutout baseball with only three strikeouts, but eleven ground outs which is a large reason he was able to keep St. Louis off the board. With how much hate Rockies hitters get for playing at Coors Field, this win should be like a perfect game for a Coors pitcher.

Something that is always common is the lack of respect a Colorado pitcher gets when they play well at home. A hitter is always talked about with his home/away splits, but when a pitcher, like the Rockies rookies have been doing this year, dominates at Coors, it is just overlooked as another game. If hitting is so easy, than the pitchers should get some increased recognition for doing so well at home.

The Rockies send another rookie to the hill for a 7:10 game against the Cards. They face Adam Wainwright who, while not the pitcher he once was, still dominates when he faces the Rockies. Obviously Colorado can win a game by beating the bullpen, but getting some early runs for Freeland would always be nice.