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Series Preview # 10: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Colorado Rockies

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A match up of the first and second place teams in Colorado. Will Arizona be able to avenge their series loss from last week?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks leave Washington D.C. and head off to the mile high city for a three game weekend series with the Rockies. Having lost two of three against the best team in the National League, the Dbacks will look to get some revenge against Colorado. Even though Arizona lost the series, they did hold the highest scoring offense in baseball to a total of nine runs, and they faced some very tough pitchers (especially Scherzer yesterday), so there is still plenty of room for optimism. With the Rockies in sole possession of first place in the NL West, and the Diamondbacks 1.5 games back in second place, the winner of this could very well be in first place after the weekend.

This weekend series preview is usually brought to you by Mr. Nate, but he is very busy with some AP tests, so you all are stuck with me for three straight series! MWAHAHAHA!!! No, but let’s wish Nate the best of luck, and see what we can expect from the Rocky Mountain Showdown for first place!

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Zack Greinke vs. German Marquez.

In last week’s matchup against the Rockies, Greinke pitched well going 6+ innings and striking out 9 batters. He would have only given up two earned runs, but his first and only batter of the seventh hit a home run off of him; still a quality start nonetheless. Greinke has pitched pretty well to start the 2017 season with a 9.8 K/9, with a 3.19 ERA, and averaging more than six innings per start. Look for him to continue to be the ace of the staff, and that means bringing his best stuff against the division’s first place team. German Marquez pitched a terrific game in last week’s epic pitcher’s duel, having pitched 6 innings, giving up zero runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 8. Needless to say, we will be looking for better results seeing him a second time within a week.

Game 2: Patrick Corbin vs. Tyler Anderson.

Patrick Corbin was the other half of that “epic pitcher’s duel” last week, and he was every bit as impressive as Marquez. He went 6.1 innings giving up 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6. Corbin has really started the year off in a blaze, and has a sparkling 2.29 ERA over his first six starts. Opposing him on Saturday will be the Rockies left hander Tyler Anderson. In stark contrast to Corbin’s start, Anderson has had a rough go of it in 2017. He has a 7.71 ERA and has already given up 9 home runs in just 30.1 innings. Look for Corbin to stay sharp against the Rockies, and the Dbacks offense take advantage of the Rockies struggling lefty.

Game 3: Taijuan Walker vs. Tyler Chatwood.

Taijuan Walker had a tough time his last time out against the Rockies, needing 117 pitches to get through 4.2 innings. Despite the high pitch count and not having his best stuff, Walker battled and kept the game within reach and showed some intestinal fortitude in the process. Walker has a K/9 over 10 so far this year, but has yielded mixed results. He has a 4.19 ERA but also has a 3.13 FIP, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to see Walker get better outcomes in the future. Tyler Chatwood will be pitching for the Rockies in this series finale, and he has struggled a bit to start the year. His last time out he no-hit the Padres over 5 innings, but then imploded and allowed five runs in the sixth inning. So both pitchers will be looking for better results this time around.

Offense

Both of these offenses started off the year extremely hot, and both have cooled off a little bit as of late. After averaging around 6 runs per game for quite some time, the Diamondbacks are now down near the 5 runs per game range. They have had some ups and downs, and it wasn’t helped by facing a tough pitching staff in D.C. Colorado’s offense has cooled off as well, and are now averaging 4.71 runs per game. Arizona has been sitting in the top 5 in most offensive categories while Colorado is a little bit closer to league average around the 10-12 range in those same categories.

One area that Arizona has been lights out in 2017 has been stolen bases. They lead the MLB in stolen bases, and have three players in the top four in all of baseball! Here’s the leaders as of the time of writing:

Stolen Bases.csv

Name Stolen Bases
Name Stolen Bases
Billy Hamilton 16
A.J. Pollock 11
Jarrod Dyson 9
Jose Altuve 8
Paul Goldschmidt 8
Dee Gordon 8
Chris Owings 8

Pretty impressive company for these slithering base stealers! I would expect that both offenses will have a big series in Coors Field, and get back to tearing the cover off the ball.

Final Thoughts

It would appear that the Dbacks have an advantage in both the pitching and offensive areas of this series. Zack Greinke will be taking the mound for the first game, and the two pitchers going for the Rockies in games 2 and 3 have a combined ERA over 6.00. While both offenses have the ability to be well above average, it has been the Dbacks that have performed better so far. But despite these advantages on paper, it feels like there are little things that are keeping the Diamondbacks from being a really good team. For example, Fernando Rodney’s recent struggles cost the team a couple of games and the defense has done something similar on a few different occasions. So while Arizona has great pitching and offense, it has been a few blown saves and spotty defense that has kept them from taking first place in the division.

I think that the pitching matchups are too favorable for Arizona in this series, and I think that Torey Lovullo has done a great job at keeping his players focused and motivated. I expect the Dbacks to roll into Denver looking for some revenge, and will end up taking two of three in Colorado before heading home to take on the Tigers. Winning these two of three will leave them with a 19-14 record, and that much closer to first place.

Poll

How Many Wins for Arizona in Colorado?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    0 (Six more weeks of winter)
    (11 votes)
  • 24%
    1 (Meh)
    (27 votes)
  • 35%
    2 (Good series win)
    (40 votes)
  • 30%
    3 (Rocky Mountain High)
    (34 votes)
112 votes total Vote Now