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Series Preview #30: Snakes @ Purple Mountains

Day off needed.

Massive Winter Storm Brings Snow And Heavy Winds Across Large Swath Of Eastern Seaboard Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Skinny

For those of you with tl;dr syndrome, I’ll put the gist of the matchup right here.

We’re leading them by 3.5 games for the division. We have a statistical pitching advantage while they have an advantage on offense. There will be 3 games in Denver. All in a row. Trade deadline looms large.

The Opposite of Skinny?

I’ve got a bad feeling about this one.

We’re running Shelby Miller out for game 2 against Marquez, and Godley out against Freeland in game 3. Though technically we have a better overall team ERA, these two matchups do not instill much confidence for me. Corbin faces Tyler Anderson for game one which is somewhat in the Diamondbacks favor, but not by much.

Goldy has really come back to form. In July so far he’s raking with a .438 Avg, 1.308 OPS, and .550 OBP. It’s good to have AJ back, but he probably needs more time to get back to where he was. If I told you our 4th best offensive player on the team is Descalso, you may have wanted to strike me with the nearest fly swatter, but I promise you it’s true.

Now take a guess who’s 6th. No really, take a guess. If you said Zack Greinke then I know you looked it up cheater.

The Diamondbacks are hurting offensively, so with AJ and Souza back, hopefully the bats can get going.

As for the Rockies, well, they have 3 guys going to the All-Star game and I’m pretty sure they’re the same 3 guys everyone guessed would be going. Arenado, Story, and Blackmon.

Trevor Story is an interesting case. He started out the year struggling pretty heavily. For March/April he had a .226/.320/.453 slash. But over his last 30 he’s gone .347/.377/.605.

Arenado gonna Arenado. Leading the team fWAR at 3.5 and has a .305/.388/.583 slash with All-Star defense. The kid can play.

Charlie Blackmon probably got his All-Star votes because of his performances over the last couple of years, and not anything particularly brilliant he’s done this year. A .276/.347/.475 slash is pretty good for just about any regular player, but I think his .331/.399/.601 last year is having some carry over.

As for the Rockies pitching staff I’ll dig into the pitching matchups later, but it seems more than a few fans of the team are upset that Adam Ottavino got snubbed for the All-Star game. His xFIP of 2.26 is good enough for a 1.4 fWAR. From a bullpen arm, that’s definitely doing some work. For comparison the Diamondbacks best reliever right now is Chafin with a .8 fWAR and 3.60 xFIP. But these are also the same stats that say Matt Koch was a -.5 fWAR with 5 wins and a 4.40 ERA. So there’s that.

Overall the relief pitching for the Diamondbacks appears to be better with a 2.2 fWAR while the men in Purple only show a 1.1. A lot of games can be decided in Coors field by how well the relief staff can keep the opposing team from hitting late in the game. Of course that holds true of anywhere, but we all know how much easier it is to score runs in Denver.

Defensively, it ain’t even close. Despite our All-Star 1st Baseman having a -5.9 Defensive rating, the Diamondbacks overall defense is 26.7 while the Rockies sport a clever -12.9. Home field and all that.

Pitching Matchups

Game1: Patrick Corbin (LHP, 6-3, 3.05 ERA) vs Tyler Anderson (LHP, 6-3, 3.90 ERA)

Patrick was named an All-Star perhaps a bit of a surprise to some, but not an unwarranted honor. Patrick has had a resurgent year with his slider becoming a devastating pitch once again.

Tyler Anderson has also been very good this year, and though he may not be an All-Star pitcher, his numbers suggest he’s pretty darn good. In his last 7 games he’s pitched to a 2.91 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He throws a fourseam fastball, cutter, change with an occasional curve.

Game 2: Shelby Miller (RHP, 0-3, 9.00 ERA) vs German Marquez (RHP, 7-8, 4.92 ERA)

Shelby’s return has been shaky to say the least. But pitchers who come back from TJ surgery don’t seem to do all that great their first year back. It seems there’s always an adjustment period. For those that need a refresher, Shelby features a 4 Seam, Curve, Cutter with the occasional Sinker and Change. Hopefully he gets more confident as the season goes on and he can become the #2 pitcher they expected him to be.

As for German, well things have been deteriorating for him over the last 7 games. He only went 3.1 innings in his outing against the Marlins 3 games ago after giving up 9 hits, 5 runs, and 3 walks. His ERA for those 7 games is 5.95. He’s certainly starting to regress from his breakout performance last year.

German relies heavily on his 4 seam which averages around 96 mph. He’ll also mix in a Curve, Slider, and Sinker to help induce ground balls which are desperately need in their home stadium.

Game 3: Zack Godley (RHP, 10-6, 4.80 ERA) vs Kyle Freeland (LHP, 8-6, 3.18 ERA)

Zack has improved since the start of the season but it sorta feels like a game of Jenga when he’s pitching. You just never know if he’s going to pull the wrong block first or his opposing pitcher. Luckily for Zack, he’s been the benefit of some good offense when he’s needed it. I his last 7 starts he has a 4.19 ERA and a whopping 1.54 WHIP. Yet he’s managed to pull off a 5-1 record over that time. 2 starts ago against the Giants he only went 4 innings and gave up 7 earned runs on 9 hits. He also walked 5. His control is by far the main concern.

Kyle Freeland has a good case to be made that he probably should have been an All-Star. With a 3.18 ERA, his 8-6 record doesn’t really reflect how well he’s pitched. He’s striking out about 7 batters per nine. His BABIP is a nice .265 and his xFIP is 4.19. Apparently the Rockies defense only shows up when he’s pitching. Kyle features has a pretty even mix of 4-Seam, Cutter, Change, Sinker, Slider. That’s a lot of different pitches he can throw at you.


I rarely make accurate predictions so take this with a grain of salt, but my instincts say Rockies take the last 2 and win the series. I know, I’m an unpopular guy cause I have all this pessimism, but those last two pitching match-ups really have me worried. I can see a case where Shelby gets his grove back and they pull out game 2, but I’m not holding my breath.