Arizona looked to be turning the corner after winning three games in a row through Friday, but a disappointing collapse Saturday night against Philadelphia saw the Diamondbacks fall back to earth, as they would drop the final two games of the series. Arizona appeared to be playing its best baseball of 2014 after winning the final two games in Chicago, then Friday night's series opener, and looked to be on their way to a fourth straight win with a 5-0 lead, but saw it slip through their fingers in a 6-5 loss. The Snakes got a great performance from Brandon McCarthy on Sunday (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER), but were unable to capitalize as they lost 2-0 to drop the series. Arizona is now 2-13 at home, and 8-20 on the season, 8.5 games behind NL West leader San Francisco and a solid five games behind the next worst team in the division (San Diego). Despite the promise of solid starting pitching (all three starters went through the sixth inning in a series for the first time all year), new holes appeared to open up in a erratic (albeit without Mark Trumbo) offense or a poor outing from the bullpen.
Colorado comes in hot after winning seven of their last ten games, including taking two out of three from the Dodgers in Los Angeles with their 6-1 win Sunday. The Rockies have also won four out of their last six games against NL West opponents, bringing them up to a tie for second place in the NL West at 14-12, 1.5 games behind San Francisco for the division lead. They certainly have benefited from their time in the 'Mile High City', going 8-4 in Denver as they lead the majors in runs (134), batting average (.293), and slugging percentage (.470). They are also fourth in the majors in on base percentage (.347). The aren't too shabby on the road either this season, going 6-8 outside of Coors Field.
On The Mend
Diamondbacks left fielder Mark Trumbo, originally expected to miss six weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot, may miss more than the expected amount of time, according to DBacks.com. Trumbo was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday.
"The summary I got on it confirmed six-to-eight weeks probably." -DIamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson
Rockies right hander Jhoulys Chacin will not make his scheduled start Tuesday in Arizona, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Tyler Chatwood is expected to take his place Tuesday, as Chacin (strained shoulder) is expected to make at least one more rehab start in Triple-A.
Hot Rocks: The Streaking Colorado Lineup
As I have detailed in earlier series previews, Arizona's pitching staff has had more than their fair share of struggles this season (their 5.29 ERA ranks as the worst in baseball), and despite the recent turnaround will have a tough task at hand when facing the Colorado Rockies' lineup, arguably the hottest in baseball right now.
In the last week, the Rockies have scored a staggering 40 runs, hitting .287 with an on base percentage of .345, as well as a slugging percentage of .518. On of the guys leading the charge, as always, has been shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who has gone 8 for his last 22 (.364), with three home runs and six RBIs in the last week. After a bounce back 2013 season, the Rockies shortstop has looked to take yet another step towards his 2011 level with a great start to 2014 to push the Rockies back into contention. Another veteran who has been rounding back into form of late has been first baseman Justin Morneau, who has gone 10 for his last 26 (.385) with two home runs and nine RBIs in the last week. Morneau, in his first year in Colorado, is on pace thus far this season (.349/.376/.593 with 5 HR, 19 RBI) to match his 2009 levels after missing time in the last five seasons with a variety of injuries.
The key, however, to the Rockies' offense of late has been the youth movement, with several young stars coming into their own as of late. For example, outfielder Charlie Blackmon has emerged as a home run threat every time he has come to bat in the last week, batting .333 with four home runs and seven RBIs in the last seven days. Corey Dickerson has also been key in the outfield for Colorado, with two home runs in the last week and going 5 for his last 13 at-bats.
Game 1, Monday 6:40 PM PT: LHP Franklin Morales (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. LHP Wade Miley (2-2, 4.50 ERA)
Franklin Morales has been a stabilizing force for the Rockies all season, and has given up just two earned runs in his last 13 innings pitched. He is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his two starts against the NL West this season, and has been efficient at the back end of the Rockies' rotation this season. Miley has been the consistent rock for the Diamondbacks rotation this season, going at least five innings in every one of this starts this season, including giving up three runs in five innings in a no decision against the Cubs his last time out.
Game 2, Tuesday 6:40 PM PT: RHP Tyler Chatwood (1-0, 4.26 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Bolsinger (1-1, 5.27 ERA)
Chatwood, who has stepped into the rotation in the absence of Jhoulys Chacin, looked solid against the Phillies over a week ago, shutting out Philadelphia through seven innings. He did, however, struggle his last time out against San Francisco, giving up five earned runs on three home runs in six innings pitched before escaping with a no decision. Bolsinger is getting ready for his third start since taking over Trevor Cahill's spot in the rotation, and looked great in picking up his first career win, giving up one unearned run on four hits in 6.2 innings in Arizona's 5-2 win.
Game 3, Wednesday 6:40 PM PT: RHP Jordan Lyles (3-0, 2.93) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (1-2, 3.38 ERA)
Lyles may be the surprise of the rotation for Colorado, as he has gone at least five innings in each of his starts, giving up no more than four earned runs in any of his outings. His last time out, Lyles gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings in a no decision against the Dodgers. In fact, he has given up just two earned runs in his last 14 innings combined. Collmenter will be making his fourth start since taking over Randall Delgado's spot in the starting rotation. He had his best outing of the season last time out, tossing six shutout innings and giving up just four hits in Arizona's 5-3 win over Philadelphia.