I feel like this is the 15th preview I’ve written about the Rockies this season, but in reality I think it’s only the fourth. Still quite a bit, though, and frankly I’m running out of things to say about them. They’re not a good team. They’re significantly worse than the Diamondbacks in just about every way. To really put it in context, Madison Bumgarner has a better ERA than all three starters the Diamondbacks will face this season, and a better ERA+ than all but Marquez. It’s been a rough season in Denver.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks streak of above average baseball hit a wall in San Diego, after another bullpen implosion and the offense predicably being shut down by Yu Darvish put them on the short end of a 2-1 series. They’ll look to get back on track against the Rockies, and keep the Giants in the review mirror as they chase the consolation prize of being third place in the division.
Game 1 — 9/9, 5:40PM: Zach Davies (2-4, 1.21 WHIP, 110 ERA+) vs. German Marquez (8-10. 1.36 WHIP, 96 ERA+)
Davies continues to put together a very respectable season in his first year with the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have won five of his last six starts, and in that time frame, he has given up more than two runs only once. The only issue with that is that five inning, three run performance was the lone loss and it was against... the Colorado Rockies in Coors. That was almost a month ago, however, so hopefully he’ll be able to make some adjustments this time around and keep the Rockies in check like he did at Chase on 8/7.
German Marquez is having a rough season. His 96 ERA+ is the lowest he’s had in a full season by 12 points, he’s striking out three batters less every two games, and he’s giving up more home runs than he has in the past three seasons. Like with Davies, the Rockies have won five of the last six he’s started. However, unlike Davies, a couple of those were in spite of Marquez, rather than because of him. Just three starts ago, the Rangers tagged him for six runs in six innings, his worst start since June 1st.
Game 2 — 9/10, 5:10PM: Madison Bumgarner (6-13, 1.47 WHIP, 85 ERA+) vs. Jose Urena (3-6, 1.66 WHIP, 76 ERA+)
Madison Bumgarner has only limited the damage to three runs once since the start of August. He has recorded more than four strike outs only twice during that stretch, and only twice has he not given up a home run. Forgive me if I’m not particularly optimistic about his chances at Coors Field.
The only saving grace is that his counterpart on the mound is clearly doing worse than him this seaosn. Urena is carrying an ERA over six coming into this game, and even Coors Field won’t make that look respectable. He’s giving up 4.4 walks per nine innings, which is just insane. He took a loss against the Diamondbacks on 8/13 where he gave up three home runs, but what’s interesting is since then, he has only given up one. If the Diamondbacks can replicate that performance against him this time, they might be able to mitigate the damage from Bumgarner
Game 3 — 9/11, 12:10PM: Zac Gallen (11-2, 0.91 WHIP, 170 ERA+) vs. Ryan Feltner (2-7, 1.36 WHIP, 80 ERA+)
This is it. The game we are all actually interested in this series. Zac Gallen needs to go one scoreless inning to break the Diamondbacks’ franchise record for scoreless inning streak. It’s early afternoon on a Sunday, you really have no excuse. If you’re only going to watch one Diamondbacks game for the rest of the year, this should be it. Also, as of writing is is September 9th, and he has an ERA+ of 170. That’s an April number, not a September number. Good Lord has he figured out this pitching thing. Unless he does something really insane this last month of the season, he probably won’t win the Cy Young, but it might be worth putting $50 on him winning it next season.
Feltner is a second year player for the Rockies. He hasn’t put up great numbers this season, but his FIP is a whole run lower than his ERA, so maybe some bad luck and bad play behind him is factoring into that, but not a whole lot. He faced the Diamondbacks back in August, threw four and a third innings, and gave up six runs.
The Diamondbacks should win this series, and if they can cover for Bumgarner have a real chance at a sweep. If they can pull that off, it keeps a third place finish very much in play, as well as a chance still at a .500 season. The offense just needs to keep doing what it has been, while Gallen and Davies do their thing, and it should all fall into place pretty easily. Fingers crossed