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Purple Woe: previewing the Rockies' series

I think we’ll have a better idea of where things are for the Rockies nine games from now... I would think a 2-7 record would be fitting of near universal cellar picks given that six of those nine games will be on the road. 3-6, maybe? You would think one of you big strong division fighters could sweep us once in those three series. If that or worse happens, then it will be a signal to me that the Rockies are still behind the curve in the division. If the team manages a 4-5 or better, my scoffs toward your underrating of the team will be as strong as ever.
    -- Rox Girl

Well, the "big strong division fighters" certainly hammered the Rockies over the weekend, LA kicking Colorado's ass by a margin of 27-10. That sweep means the Rockies must go 4-2, against us here and LA in Coors, to achieve the bare minimum for Rox Girl's continued scoffing. Having lost six of their last seven, it doesn't seem likely. Indeed, the only thing stopping my sarcasm from being unleashed in full, is that the Diamondbacks have been hardly any better of late - we've lost five of seven - and are still half a game back of the Rockies. If we can win this series, that'll be corrected, and scorn can drip from my lips, like honey from a particularly dissolute Roman Emperor's.

It's by no means certain, since Arizona's offense has shown a fabulous tendency to play down to - slightly below, actually - the level of the opponents. The most runs we've scored was 15, going up against the impressive Cardinals' hitters; the least was the two scored over the weekend against the almost-equally inept Giants batters. The bad news, we're facing two left-handed pitchers this series, in Morales (Tue) and De La Rosa (Wed): as noted previously, we're struggling horribly there, with a team line of .147/.228/.279, over 147 PAs. That's 242 OPS points below NL-average versus lefties, though since our BABIP there is a stunningly-low .156, bad luck may be somewhat to blame.

The series thus pits one team who've fallen off the wagon in spectacular fashion - opponents are hitting .355 off the Rockies' pitchers in the past week, while Colorado are batting .227 - against one who are still struggling to get out of first gear. There will be a good bit of needle here, I think, but it's important to remember that what unites us is more significant than what divides us. That might be Russ saying, "Douglas Adams was a comedic genius," sentiments with which I heartily agree, or SilverBlood ending her review with the words, "Hey, at least we aren't Cubs fans." Can't argue with that either.

The Diamondbacks' priorities are simple: score more runs. If we can do that, then the pitching should largely take care of itself - eight of the past nine games, our starter has allowed three runs or less. Keeping Jon Rauch out of close contests will also assist in this area - though I read an interesting suggestion today that he is a lot better when he works with Snyder, and that Montero may be tipping pitches in some way. But overall, it's not the pitching which has been the problem, with our ERA+ now back up to 98, and heading in the right direction. No, it's the 61 OPS+ that's the Arizona albatross, tied (largely, though not exclusively) to our team batting average of .215. If that doesn't pick up soon, it's going to be a long season - and if more small animals need to pay the price, so be it.