Series Preview: Rockies (47-28) vs. Dodgers (48-26)

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Friday, June 23rd 8:10pm: Kyle Freeland (8-4 3.42) vs. Alex Wood (7-0 1.90)

The Rockies are coming off their biggest series of the year and they won only one game against the Dbacks. They now head off to LA for the other biggest series of the year against the division leading Dodgers. LA is hot, riding a seven game win streak into the series, and has been doing it all. The Rockies will need a big rebound from their series with Arizona to compete and they really need to take two of three from the boys in blue. The opener shows two lefties going at it. Kyle Freeland has been the best rookie for Colorado, but there has been shakiness from the other rookies that Freeland hopes to avoid. Alex Wood is a Cy Young contender through the early going, out-pitching even Clayton Kershaw in some metrics. This will not be an easy series opener, but the Rockies should come out fighting in this big series.

Saturday, June 24th 8:10pm: Tyler Chatwood (6-7 4.08) vs. Clayton Kershaw (10-2 2.61)

Tyler Chatwood is coming off a good home start and now gets to head out for a start on the road where he has been great. He has only one start against LA in which he gave up five runs in 4.1 innings, but that was at home and every Rockies fan knows Chatwood is a different pitcher away from Coors. He is tasked with going against the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw will be making his fourth start against the Rockies this year and after his first start against them, he has settled in an pitched really well. The Rockies have the familiarity of seeing Kershaw often, but that does not mean going against him is any easier, otherwise he wouldn’t be a perennial Cy YounG candidate.

Sunday, June 25th 2:10pm: German Marquez (5-3 3.92) vs. Brandon McCarthy (6-3 2.87)

If there was a game in this series that Colorado was favored, this would be the one. With that being said, the Rockies are still going to have a tough time, especially if Marquez struggles to get deep into the game. Day games play differently at Dodger Stadium and with the way the Dodgers have hit anyways lately, this game will be a tough one to keep the Dodgers down in. Colorado faces McCarthy, who has had some success against Colorado. This game could really go either way, but hopefully for the Rockies it is one that could either sweep or win them the series, as any other outcome means they struggled in the first two.

Second rough rookie start gives Dbacks series win

                                                  David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Antonio Senzatela had the worst start of his young career as he allowed nine runs through four innings. The win put Arizona ahead of the Rockies in the standings by winning percentage and puts the Rockies in third in the division. Colorado now has to face LA for a road series against the red hot division leader.

The Rockies got on the board with their first batter of the game as Charlie Blackmon golfed a homer out to right center. That would be one of only three runs in the game for the Rockies as they lost their second straight. Arizona would tie the game in the next inning with an RBI ground out, but that would prove to be the least of the Rockies worries.

Arizona came into the third and fourth inning with the same hot bats that they had on Wednesday and they scored four runs in each inning. It was just a rough start for Senzatela who has come plummeting back to Earth after a strong start to his career. What will happen with Senzatela make take another start or two, but as of right now he seems destined for the bullpen.

His aggressiveness was a strength in his early outings, but his fastball has been finding the middle of the plate more and batters have been laying off his off-speed pitches. Without a terrific breaking ball, Senzatela has had to rely more on his fastball and when he is missing location and losing velocity, it turns into batting practice for the opposing team. This is hopefully just a hiccup for the young guy, but how he responds to adversity may make or break him.

While this is only one series and it is still early in the year, losing games inside of the division is painful, especially when the two teams now ahead of you have been refusing to lose. Colorado has been good about rebounding from tough losses and series and they haven’t lost more than three games yet this year. Keeping big losing streaks will help them salvage a wild card spot at the very least, but Colorado would like nothing more than to take home the division win for the first time ever.

Heading out to LA for a road series against the Dodgers is normally a bad thing, but perhaps the thick ocean air and the late games will help slow the ball down and give the pitchers some confidence. This is another key series and the Rockies would really like to take 2 of 3, if at all possible.

Dbacks blowout Rox in ten run inning

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The game was over early in the fourth as Arizona knocked starter Jeff Hoffman out of the game and scored ten runs in an inning. Even without the ten run inning, the Rockies still would’ve lost as Arizona scored two runs in three separate innings. The final score was 16-5 and it put the Rockies a half game back of the Dodgers.

The Rockies did take a 1-0 lead after a Mark Reynolds home run, but it was not nearly enough for what would come in the fourth. With two outs and two runs already in, the Dbacks bats awoke and really put the Rockies and Hoffman into a tough spot. Hoffman would allow seven hits in the inning and be credited with nine runs, jumping his ERA up two points.

The Dbacks would score 16 runs in the game and tally 20 hits. They went 10-22 with RISP and still left eight runners on base. There wasn’t really a good pitcher in the pen as everyone allowed at least two runs. The positives were few and far between in this game and the Rockies just need to move on and see if they can win the series on Thursday.

This game was reminiscent of the Nationals series, in that the opposing team broke out for a ton of runs. What needs to change from that series, is a positive rebound after the blowout loss. Senzatela takes the mound for the Rockies and needs to rebound from a rougher month of June. He has had the positive of getting lots of run support, but it has all been needed with Senzatela struggling.

The Rockies face Zack Godley who has only faced the Rockies once and had alright success. This is his first start against Colorado and the Rockies should be fired up after a bad loss, so maybe the Rockies can return the favor on Arizona.

Nolan clutch again in the late innings

After losing a late lead, the Rockies once again needed some late inning heroics and who better to come from than the star of the team, Nolan Arenado. With a late two-rbi triple, the Rockies were able to take the lead back from Arizona and win the series opener 4-3.

After some shorter outings and less than appealing appearances, German Marquez rebounded nicely in a game of high importance. Marquez managed a quality start, going six innings while allowing only four hits. The Dbacks did manage a run, but it came after a sac fly in an inning that could’ve gone much worse.

Along with Nolan’s heroics, there was plenty of great defense on the night. Every infielder aside from Reynolds made a great play and Cargo made the play of the night on a ball that would’ve been a gapper, had he not dove to make a terrific catch. Tony Wolters also caught a runner stealing in the inning where Arizona scored to help Marquez get an out.

Defense played a big role in this game, for both teams, as Arizona had two errors in the second allowing the Rockies to score the first run. As Ian Desmond was hustling out an infield single, Jake Lamb tried to make a play that turned into an error, allowing Desmond to reach second. Desmond then tried for third on a dirt ball and scored on a throwing error by the catcher.

In the fourth inning, up by only a run, Cargo homered to center to give the Rockies a 2-0 lead. It was one of two hits by Cargo and while he has struggled thus far this year, it is only a matter of time until he heats up and has a week to remember.

Arizona would not be held down and once again the Rockies bullpen faltered. In the eight inning, with Chris Rusin on the mound, David Peralta hit a solo homer to tie the game up. Adam Ottavino then came on and allowed a solo shot to Paul Goldschmidt. After being up 2-1, the Rockies finished the eighth down 3-2, but it only set up Arenado for more heroics.

With Zack Greinke working the eight inning and having shut down 11 straight, it was not looking good for Colorado, but the fight in this team is real. With one out, Blackmon and LeMahieu both reached via the single to put runners at second and first. Arenado then lined a ball to the right field wall that deflected away and allowed both runners to score, putting the Rockies ahead.

Greg Holland got back to business after some rough outings to seal the win for the Rockies. He walked a batter in the inning, but he would not score and Holland finished the game with his 25th save.

The Rockies could not gain any ground on the Dodgers who also won on Tuesday night, but they are now 2 games ahead of Arizona and 21 games over .500, with the second best record in the Major League. The Rockies will try and take a quick series win with their young stud Jeff Hoffman on the mound.

 

Series Preview: Dbacks (44-26) vs. Rockies (46-26)

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Tuesday, June 20th 6:40pm: Zack Greinke (8-3 3.00) vs. German Marquez (5-3 4.19)

The Rockies start a key series against the Dbacks that has major implications for September. These two teams have the best, and third best, records in the NL with the Rockies being in first. Greinke will start the series for Arizona which plays well for them, but at Coors Field things can happen. The Rockies send Marquez to the mound in what will be his third start of the year against Arizona. One start went great, one not so great, and the not so great start came at home. Marquez has struggled recently and will be looking to bounce back into form, especially in a series that is so key.

Wednesday, June 21st 6:40pm: Taijuan Walker (5-3 3.32) vs. Jeff Hoffman (4-0 2.25)

Jeff Hoffman made his shortest outing of the year his last time out, and it was still five innings. Hoffman has been fantastic this year and showing how valuable he can be. With every successful start, Rockies fans forget more and more about Troy Tulowitzki, despite his years of success in purple pinstripes. Hoffman faces Taijuan Walker in a game that likely favors the Rockies. With a tough game one, the Rockies will definitely need to take this one to either tie the series or take an early series win. Everyone is expecting regression from the rookie pitchers in the Rockies rotation, but thus far they have recovered quickly from hiccups and are the main reason this Rockies team has been so good.

Thursday, June 22nd 1:10pm: TBD vs. Antonio Senzatela (9-2 4.10)

Through fourteen games, Senzatela has gotten an average over seven runs per game of run support. This is a large reason why he has such a good record, but it should not be overlooked that he has also pitched well. He seems to be finding his strikeout stride recently which will bode well for when he gets in trouble and needs an out. He is still not a strikeout pitcher and relies more on weak contact to get outs, but any amount of help you can get when in trouble is a bonus. Sending three rookies to the hill in a very key series is normally a bad omen, but with how the Rockies have relied on their rookies, this is a great test of grit and determination for the young guys.

Cycle for Nolan, sweep for Rockies

David Zalubowski, Associated Press

In what was the most exciting ending to a game this year, by any team, the Rockies were able to win their fifth straight and take a series sweep of the Giants. The Rockies have now compiled two sweeps against the Giants and are still atop the NL West.

The hero of the day was Nolan Arenado. After giving up a lead in the ninth, the Rockies were down 5-3 and staring at a loss. But they had fought back once in the game and they were ready to do it again.

The inning started with an out, a Tony Wolters ground out. But after that the Rockies started to roll and fought their way into a tight game. Raimel Tapia singled up the middle and Charlie Blackmon lined a ball to center to put runners at the corners. DJ LeMahieu the singled in the perfect spot through the right side to score Tapia and move Blackmon to third.

What happened next was the biggest hit of the day and one of the most clutch hits of Arenado’s career. Down by a run and a homer short of the cycle, Arenado got the ball in the air. Maybe it was Coors field or maybe Arenado is just that clutch, but the ball got over the left field wall for a walk-off, three-run home run. It was also the last hit Nado needed for the cycle and it came as the first walk-off homer to complete the cycle since Cargo did it in 2010.

There was plenty of other positives in the game. Trevor Story and Pat Valaika both homered in the seventh to tie and take the lead for the Rockies. Another positive was Chatwood going six innings strong at home, allowing only two runs. And obviously, the sweep is all just icing on the cake. It was needed however, as both the Dbacks and Dodgers swept their series’.

The Rockies now take on an extremely hot Dbacks team in an early postseason matchup. This series could extend a lead for a division leader, but there is still the Dodgers to worry about. All three teams are leading the NL for the best record and are looking to fight until the very end for the division win.

Singled to death, Rockies win one at a time

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

The Rockies tallied fourteen hits on Saturday, but only one was an extra base hit. Sometimes a single is just what you need and it is just what the Rockies got in the third game of the series. They scored five runs, which would have lost them either of the prior two games, but this one the Giants were held to only one run.

It was a much better pitching performance by both the bullpen and starter and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Kyle Freeland went six innings and only allowed one run, earning the quality start. He did give up eight hits to the Giants while walking two, but he was good with traffic allowing only a fourth inning run off a single.

Freeland helped himself with a pickoff in the first, then got some defense after an error to turn a double play in the second. Plays like those are why he was able to keep the Giants off the board and largely why he was able to get deep into the game.

For the third straight game, Colorado tallied at least fourteen hits, which obviously helped get some offense on the board. Contrary from the typical Colorado approach however, the Rockies were not hitting the long ball or extra base hits. Singles can be just as helpful at the right time, and that is what happened on Saturday. The Rockies were 6-12 with RISP, a really good number.

The scoring for Colorado came pretty sporadically, but all that matters is that they scored. In the second inning, Colorado got three straight two-out singles to put one on the board. In the fifth, they got a two out rally again with a single, walk, and single to score another run.

The two out RBI was just Colorado’s MO on the day as they got yet another two-out RBI single in the sixth. This time it was Arenado driving a ball up the middle to score a run. And once again, in the seventh, the Rockies got two more two-out RBI. One came from Tony Wolters, his second RBI single of the game, and the other came from Pat Valaika who had perhaps one of the softest hit balls of the game, but it turned into the only extra base hit of the game and score the Rockies fifth and final run of the game.

The Rockies will go for the sweep on Sunday, but it will take some trend breaking by Tyler Chatwood to pitch a good game at home. All of the wins have been important so far, especially because both the Dodgers and DBacks are pacing the Rockies, keeping up with seemingly every win they get.