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Series Preview #40: Diamondbacks at Rockies

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Colorado is very high at home

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Rockies Baseball Reference Page

Diamondbacks Baseball Reference Page

Coors field has always been a tough place for opposing teams to play. But 2021 has been more extreme than usual. The Rockies are currently 41-21 at home, .661 W%. That’s 3rd best in all of MLB, behind only the Dodgers and the Giants. It’s also the 2nd best home W% in their franchise history, bested only by pre humidor days 1996.

The flip side of that is the Rockies are tied with the D-backs and the Rangers for the worst road record in MLB, 14-45, .237%. That’s the worst in their franchise history. Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, this series is in Colorado. The D-backs are also sporting their franchise worst road winning % so far.

The Rockies are coming off a 3 game sweep of the Padres at home, and the D-backs just swept the Phillies 3 straight at home as well. So both teams have stepped up into their heartbreaker spoiler roles it seems. Both teams have also been around .500 for the last month or so.

D-backs Hitters last 6 games

Rockies Hitters last 6 games

The name of the game for the Rockies at home this year has been their pitching, and especially their starting pitching. Despite pitching their home games in a park that increases run scoring and OPS by roughly 15%, they actually have a much lower team ERA at home than on the road this year, (4.35 vs. 5.13) . That’s almost unheard of. Hopefully this is just one off fluke season, because if the Rockies have figured out some secret sauce to pitching in Coors field that could be a long term problem, despite their typical Coors Field Hangover issues on the road.

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUPS

BB-REF Game Preview. (include Pitcher/Hitter Head to head matchups)

Tyler Gilbert is coming of a no-hitter vs. the San Diego Padres in his first ever major league start. Prior to the that the 27 year old had made 3 relief appearances for Arizona, giving up 1 unearned run. He allowed quite a few hard hit balls in the no-no and struck out just 5. He’ll probably need to miss a few more bats going forward to have continued success.

Austin Gomber was placed on the Paternity list 3 days ago but it’s reported that he will make the start tonight so we presume all has gone well. Picked up in the Nolan Arenado trade, it’s been a very successful season for him so far, although he’s been hit hard in 2 of his last 3 starts, both times taking the loss. He averages 91.7 MPH on the 4 seam, but throws either a slider, change or curve 60% of the time. When he’s throwing those for strikes, he’s tough to beat. When his command is off on those pitches, batters hit his fastball hard.

BB-REF Game Preview

Zac Gallen needs to start throwing his changeup for strikes again, and stop screwing around so much with his grips and tunneling efforts on his Slider/Cutter. He’s simply not pitching well, and the changeup is the key pitch to get back on track.

Kyle Freeland has been pitching well this year for the most part since he got a late start to the season. Over his last 5 starts he has a 2.79 ERA. Most recently on August 14th he beat the Giants giving up just 1 run in 6 IP, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.

BB REF Game Preview

Taylor Widener is coming off a good start after being activated from the IL due to illness. Limited to 5 IP and 68 pitches while regaining strength, he allowed just 1 earned run vs. the Phillies on August 17th.

Jon Gray is having a very solid bounce back season after a rough go in 2020. However he’s been knocked around a bit in his last 3 starts, allowing 10 runs and 21 hits in 14.2 IP. There might have been some bad BABIP luck going on however, as he walked just 4, struck out 20, and didn’t allow a homer in those 3 starts. He’s likely to be his usual tough customer.

The Rockies are tough at home, and the pitching matchups favor them in all three games, despite Gilbert coming off the No Hitter. Both teams have been playing equally well in their recent past. A Rockies series victory will be difficult to avoid.