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Series Preview #39: Diamondbacks @ Rockies

Can the Diamondbacks keep up the momentum?

Dinger stalks for prey through a crowd of excited children. Little do they know that they are in the presence of one of creations most horrific predators. That vibrant purple skin and brightly colored spot serving only to lure unsuspecting victims into it’s trap. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Well would ya look at that! The Diamondbacks actually strung together a couple of wins to take the series from the Padres. I was, uh, fairly pessimistic of the team’s chances in the series in my last series preview, and like I promised, I am thrilled to be wrong. It was an absolute must win series, and the team made it happen. Paul Seawald made the type of impact that we were looking for, the offense was good enough, and Zac Gallen did what he does best and ended the losing streak. The NL West is out of reach now (barring a collapse from the ages from both LA and SF), but the Wild Card is still very much in play.

Every series from here on out is must win, and that is perhaps especially true in this series against in Colorado. As we all know, the Rockies are floundering and have been for a while. Personally, I think their ownership is lucky that so much attention is focused on Oakland right now that it allows their... deficiencies to avoid the scrutiny that they deserve. They come into this series on a five game losing streak. In the seven games they have played against the the Diamondbacks, they are 1-6 with a run differential of -20. To put that in a bit of context, the Diamondbacks run differential for the entire season is -22.

Playing half your games in Coors Field will do that would make one think that the offense would at least look decent in unadjusted numbers, but they are below league average in all three of triple slash numbers, including, somewhat surprisingly, home runs. Only the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates have scored less runs, and when you start to look at the league adjusted numbers, it puts it into even sharper focus. By OPS+ they are the worst team in baseball at 81, i.e. 19% below league average.

On the flip side of things, their pitching is also bad. Sorry, Rockies fans, I don’t mean to rag, but it’s hard. Their team ERA and WHIP is second worst in baseball, only outpacing the Oakland A’s, and their FIP is the worst in the league. Their ERA+ is slightly better at only fourth worst in baseball, but maybe don’t look at who’s in fifth there.

On a game by game basis, the Rockies will send out Chris Flexen for the first game of the series Monday night. He just recently joined the team as a free agent, following being traded from Seattle to the Mets, who released him before he threw a pitch. He had struggled with the Mariners to the tune of a 53 ERA+, and those struggles have continued with his new team. That’s not great news for him, as only one of his three starts have been at Coors Field. That was a five run loss to the A’s.

Ty Blach takes the mound in game two. Another new addition to the starting rotation. The Rockies just moved him from the bullpen four starts ago, and he has performed well there so far. He held the Marlins and A’s scoreless and the Dodgers to just one run in three of them, but was tagged for four runs by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 11 total games he has an ERA+ of 121, and with a regular ERA and FIP that match, it suggests that it might be real.

Closing out the series on Wednesday will be Austin Gomber. He has been remarkably consistent over his last five starts. In four of the five, he went 6.0 innings, with the only outlier being his last start against the Dodgers where he went five. Also in four of his last five, he has given up two runs or less, the exception there being his start at home against Houston where he gave up four.

As of right now the Diamondbacks have yet to announce their starting pitchers for the series, so it’s hard to say which matchups are in their favor, since, you know, we don’t have the match ups yet. Tonight should be Merrill Kelly, which should make for a fairly easy win. Beyond that is a mystery and we’ll have to wait for the team to fill us in later. Regardless though, I think the Diamondbacks take this series and hopefully close the gap between them and Miami just a little bit more