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Series Preview #25: Diamondbacks @ Rockies

The battle for the NL West basement is on

Basement Of The North Tower Of The Inner Bailey Photo by English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The fourth place Diamondbacks (34-42) take on the fifth place Colorado Rockies (33-43) for a three game series in Coors field this weekend. The Diamondbacks need to win at least two of three games to avoid falling into a tie for last place.

This is just the second meeting between the two teams this year. The D-backs took two of three from Colorado at Chase Field May 6th-8th.

The Rockies just won two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers this week and are 11-17 for the month of June, slightly better than than the D-backs who are 9-16 for the month. Arizona split a two game series against the San Diego Padres earlier this week.

For certain teams it’s very important to look at their team and individual stats in the context of the the home park environment they play in. The Rockies of course play in the most hitter friendly park in the majors. (Although this year Cincinnati actually ranks “higher”).

Using multi year park factors, (3 years) both Baseball Reference and Statcast show Chase Field close to Neutral, and Coors Field second behind only Great American Ballpark. Coors is inflating offense around 10-13%. For these reasons, many of the metrics that are displayed here are adjusted to park and league average. Keep in mind that overall offensive environment is lower than in years past. So Batting lines that looked mediocre in the past may be better than you think, and the opposite would be true for pitchers. As a reminder, OPS+ and ERA+, 100 = average. The higher than better.

TALE OF THE TAPE

These are two fairly evenly matched teams. The Rockies hit somewhat better, although not by as much as the raw unadjusted averages would suggest. The overall park adjusted ERA is the same despite the Rockies having a 4.90 ERA and D-back 4.31. The D-backs field and run a little better, and have a better run differential. The Rockies have more WAR. There isn’t really a big separator when you look under the hood with these two teams, and the standings reflect that.

ROCKIES BULLPEN (click link for table)

Daniel Bard (RHP) has continued his feel good story into 2022, putting up a sterling 2.12 ERA and 224 ERA+. He has 15 saves and has blown just two, 88%

The Rockies lost Tyler Kinley (RHP) for the rest of the season and that was a big blow as he had allowed just 5 runs, 2 earned, in 25 outings.

Alex Colome (187 ERA+) is having an excellent season. Jhoulys Chacin (73 ERA+) and Carlos Estevas (93 ERA+) have struggled. Luca Gilbreath (111 ERA+) is their primary lefty

ROCKIES LINEUP (click link for table)

C.J. Cron has cooled a little bit since his scorching start, but still has a 134 OPS+. Conor Joe, (109 OPS+) and Charlie Blackmon (108 OPS+) are the only other hitters above 100. However there are no gaping holes in their lineup either, as the remaining primary starters are have between 87-99 OPS+. Big off season pickup Kris Bryant has just recently returned from his second IL stint and only has 86 PA and a 79 OPS+ for the year.

DIAMONDBACKS OFFENSE (Click Link for Table)

The story for Arizona has been inconsistent offense. They’ve scored 0 or one run 9 times in June. But they’ve also scored 7 or more runs 9 times this month. The month to month splits show simply a good month of May sandwiched in between two very bad offensive months. Will the real D-backs please stand up

Ketel Marte (119 OPS+) Christian Walker (116 OPS+), David Peralta (115 OPS+ ) and Alek Thomas (105 OPS+) are the team leaders so far. A word of caution with Thomas: His Groundball rate is sky high 61% vs, League average 43%

Daulton Varsho (97 OPS+) slumped most of June to drop below 100. Pavin Smith cratered all the way to 76 OPS+ before rebounding slightly of late to 85. Catchers Jose Herrera, (33) and Carson Kelly (9) are the very definition of black holes this year, and Geraldo Perdomo has slumped to a 70 OPS+ after reaching the high 80’s earlier in the season.

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUPS

Merrill Kelly took the loss in his last start against the Tigers, going 6 innings and giving up 4 runs on 7 hits a walk and a homer. Through his first 7 starts he had a 1.71 ERA, but over his last 8 he’s had a 5.57 ERA. He got blown up by the Dodgers for 8 runs in 2 IP on May 17th, and since then over his last 7 starts has a 4.05 ERA

H2H Splits vs COL Batters. Bryant has past success vs. Merrill.

Antonio Senzatela is right around his career averages and this is more or less who he is, although he’s been quite unlucky with basehits this year, giving up 89 in 58 IP and has a .403 BABIP against. Hence the big difference you see in ERA and FIP above.

H2H Splits vs AZ Batters : Walker and Marte have had a lot of success against him

Dallas Keuchel is making his second start for Arizona. He had a mediocre start against the Tigers in his first start for the D-backs, giving up 4 runs in 4.1 IP. There were some encouraging signs, with a lot of swing and miss. A Coors field start against the Rockies will present more of a challenge for the sinkerballer.

H2H Splits, not much recent history. Most of Crons 27 PA vs Keuchel came before 2017

Austin Gomber is having a tough season and was demoted to the bullpen for a “break” recently before being reinstated to the rotation for this start. You can read more about his struggles HERE

H2H Splits, Josh Rojas has 4 hits in 5 PA and Ketel Marte has a homerun against him.

This game has the potential to be one of “those Coors Field Games”.

Zac Gallen is coming off one of his worst starts of the season, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits and a home run to the Padres. The team came back to win that games 7-6 on a walkoff, so Gallen averted the loss. Through his first 7 starts Gallen had a 1.14 ERA and was in early Cy Young Award discussions. Over his last 7 starts he has a 5.65 ERA and is searching for consistency.

H2H Splits: Charlie Blackmon has been a thorn in his side, 10 for 21, .476 , 3 doubles, but the rest of the Rockies hitters haven’t done much against Zac.

Chad Kuhl threw a complete game, 3 hit shutout against the Dodgers in Coors field on June 27th, needing just 102 pitches to do the deed. He struck out 5. He went from being a below average starter in a pitchers park in Pittsburgh for 5 years to having a career year so far in Colorado. Go figure. He’s using a wipeout slider to get results. If hitters can lay off the slider they hit his sinker, but laying off the slider has proven to be difficult for the D-backs.

H2H Splits: Very little exposure to current D-backs hitters, but Ketel is 3 for 4 with a homer and a double

If any game this series is going to be a good pitchers matchup, it should be this game