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Series Preview #15: Diamondbacks @ Rockies

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The Diamondbacks head to Denver to face the only team below them in the NL West standings

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies A purple sign with white print welcoming fans back to Coors Field after the COVID-19 impacted season that prevented fans from being at the ballpark

On the one hand, it seems good that the Diamondbacks are going to face the only team lower than them in he standings. Should be a bit of an advantage for them, since logically, the Rockies should be a worse team. However, that honestly probably isn’t the case. For starters, the Rockies’ poor record comes exclusively from their play on the road, where they are 2-17. At home, they’re actually a winning ballclub, with a 13-12 record. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are also bad on the road, currently sporting a 9-18 record at the time of writing.

The other thing going against the Diamondbacks is that they’ve finished 20 games this month and only managed to win four of them. Folks, pardon my hawt taek, but this team might not be very good.

Game 1: Seth Frankoff vs German Marquez (2-4, 1.67 WHIP, 83 ERA+)

Frankoff made his season and Diamondbacks debut last time out against Nationals and went 4.2 innings and gave up two runs. Got to see him in person, which was a blast, and he looked pretty good to me overall, other than a bit of skittishness in the first couple outs. However, pitching at Coors is a bit different than pitching at Chase these days, so we’ll see how he does this time around.

Marquez hasn’t had his best season ever, with an ERA more than a run higher than his career mark. A huge part of that has been his walk rate going through the roof, with a BB/9 of 5.4 compared to his career rate of 2.4 going into this season. This should be an opportunity for an offense that started the season taking more walks than nearly every other team in the league.

Game 2: Madison Bumgarner (4-3, 1.04 WHIP, 99 ERA+) vs Antonio Senzatela (1-4, 1.44 WHIP, 89 ERA+)

Bumgarner had been nearly unstoppable until his last start when his inner thigh decided that it wanted to take the rest of the day off. MLB.com lists this start as TBD, but ESPN has it for Bumgarner, and I don’t see anything that would indicate that the Diamondbacks expect him to miss this start. That said, a little misdirection wouldn’t be the most surprising thing. If he does go, he’ll be looking to continue a stretch six straight games where he hasn’t given up more than 2 earned runs and averaged only 2.33 hits per game.

Senzatela is coming off a great start against Cincinnati in Coors Field. Seven innings pitched, one earned run, four hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. This will be his third time facing the Diamondbacks this season. The first game was his second start of the season, where he shut them down for eight innings. His second was an abbreviated start, however, only lasting 4.2 innings and ended up taking the loss.

Game 3: Corbin Martin (0-1, 1.60 WHIP, 82 ERA+) vs Jon Grey

Corbin Martin, part of our return for Grienke, made his debut for the Dbacks his last time out. He went five innings, gave up 3 runs, and struck the Dodgers out six times. However, he got bit by the long ball twice and gave up four walks, which is not an ideal strategy going into the launching pad that is Coors. He’ll need to keep that ball in the park and limit the extra baserunners to find success.

Gray has been doing well this season, but is coming off a less than stellar start against the Padres. The Dads tagged him for a season high seven runs, five of which were earned, and only struck out once against the normally strike out heavy pitcher. His last start against the Diamondbacks was also rough, a six inning, four ER, 10 hit performance at Chase Field.

Conclusion

On paper, this should be a series that the Diamondbacks at least stand a chance in. However, given the Rockies relative strength at home, and the two Diamondbacks starters who have only made one start each so far this season, its hard to say. Coors is a cruel place for the most experience pitcher, and Martin and Frankoff are both far from experience. It also stands to be seen if Bumgarner will have any lingering issues from the spasms that knocked him from his last start. I’ll be optimistic, though, and say the Diamondbacks win Frankoff and Bumgarner’s starts in route to a series win.