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Series Preview #45: Rockies @ Diamondbacks

2023 D-Backs say goodbye to the Rockies.

Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

We saw them not long ago.

After going 1-5 against the real boys in the past two series, the Diamondbacks will say “hi” to the Rockies for the next 3-game series. The Snakes have 24 games left in the battle for a Wild Card and of those games, about half of them is against teams still battling for a Wild Card (Astros, Giants) and/or the division (Cubs).

Of course, that isn’t the case for the Rockies. They were already doomed to be redundant in this baseball year before the season started, but that is a whole different discussion we already had at the beginning of the year.

The last time the Diamondbacks played the Rockies wasn’t that long ago: August 14-16. That was when I was on vacation. I just literally laughed my ass off (trying to glue it back on now) because I see we lost the first game against Matt Koch, of all people. Love Kochie, but that is some real harsh stuff.

The D-Backs then went on to win the next two games that helped to get some air and snap a terrible streak of losses.

Now, beside maybe the Oakland A’s, we cannot ask for a better adversary to put us back on track in the Wild Card-battle. The Rockies enter Arizona with their head down. After losing that series against Arizona mid August they won a 3-game series against the White Sox, but ever since have gone 2-10, losing series against the Rays, Baltimore, Braves and Toronto, although a decent amount of them were very close games. Not sure if we would have done any better.

The Rockies are a well known opponent. Since the last time we met them they got rid of Jurrickson Profar, sent Cole Tucker outright and they just activated Chase Anderson although the latter isn’t supposed to pitch in this series. Former D-Back coach Daniel Bard went on the IL again.

The Diamondbacks are 8-2 this season against the Rockies, so that’s fine. Let’s see what we can expect for this final meet-up.


Game #1 Mon 09/04 1:10 PM MST, Peter Lambert (COL) vs Merrill Kelly (ARI).

  • Peter Lambert. 23 G (9 GS), 76.1 IP, 3 W-5 L, 4.95 ERA, 5.31 FIP, 1.36 WHIP, 2.56 K/BB.
  • Merrill Kelly. 24 GS, 141.1 IP, 10 W-6 L, 3.31 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 2.83 K/BB.

Early start here, forcing me to put up this article quickly.

Lambert started the season in mop-up duties and he was quite bad. On July 1 Lambert got his first start, was optioned to AAA to move him into the rotation and mid July he was called back up to replace Connor Seabold.

The results as a starter have been much better, and maybe he is able to finally live up to the expectation the Brewers once had when they selected him in the 2nd round of the 2015 amateur draft. Currently, after an amount of injuries, he probably profiles as a back of the rotation starter. Since moving into the rotation he has a 3.60 ERA and a 30/11 K/BB. The right-handed Lambert averages 93-94 mph on his fastball and throws a slider and sweeper to righties and a change-up to lefties. No pitch is a back-breaker though.

Lambert faced the Diamondbacks just once, back in 2019, pre-COVID, so we won’t use that as a reference no more.

Merrill Kelly will be the opposing pitcher for the Rockie this afternoon. After mowing down Reds, Kelly was clobbered by the Dodgers, giving up 7 runs and 12 hits in 5 innings of work. Yikes. Merrill will take revenge and pitch the Snakes to their first victory.

Game #2 Tue 09/05 6:40 PM MST, Kyle Freeland (COL) vs Brandon Pfaadt (ARI).

  • Kyle Freeland. 26 GS, 140.2 IP, 5 W-14 L, 5.18 ERA, 5.41 FIP, 1.47 WHIP, 2.34 K/BB.
  • Brandon Pfaadt. 14 GS, 71.0 IP, 1 W-7 L, 6.21 ERA, 5.58 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, 2.91 K/BB.

Lefty Kyle Freeland is probably what Brandon Pfaadt looks like if you let the rookie pitch an entire season long in 2023. Freeland never reached the heights of his 2018 season ever again and while his numbers look pretty disappointing on the outside, he is pretty much pitching league average-ish according to ERA+ (97 on the year). As has been his tendency over the past few years, the sinker and changeup are being bombed by right-handed batters, so this sounds like an all-righty lineup with Carroll somewhere in between.

Freeland has pitched twice this season against the Diamondbacks and lost both, so there is that.

But Brandon Pfaadt pitches as well, so maybe we will be in for a huge slugfest. Pfaadt was trending in the right direction against the Padres, got his first win against the Reds and then got shelled by the Dodgers. But, those are the Dodgers, and the Rockies are the Rockies. Advantage is that it is the first time Pfaadt will pitch against the Rockies, so I will give him the advantage here. Not sure if it will be enough for his second win though.

Game #3 Wed 09/06 12:40 PM MST, Chris Flexen (COL) vs Zach Davies (ARI).

  • Chris Flexen. 7 GS, 36.1 IP, 1 W-2 L, 5.94 ERA, 6.73 FIP, 1.54 WHIP, 2.55 K/BB.
  • Zach Davies. 14 GS, 68.1 IP, 2 W-5 L, 6.45 ERA, 4.47 FIP, 1.54 WHIP, 1.90 K/BB.

Flexen was a useful member of the Seattle rotation the last two years until the wheels fell off this year. After a 7.71 ERA and peddling between rotation and bullpen, the Mariners cut Flexen loose and he signed a new contract with the Rockies. Flexen has been rather underwhelming in Colorado as well, but it’s a body that can throw balls, and that might do at the moment for the Rockies.

In the previous series with the Rockies Flexen pitched as well and threw 6 innings and gave up 4 runs. It was enough for a No-Decision as the Diamondbacks bullpen would blow a 4-2 lead in the 9th inning en route to a 6-4 loss. This should be an easy win...

Oh my, I really read in the round table that people have faith in Zach Davies and some expect him to become MVP of September. Oh, by the almighty Goldy, have mercy on us poor Diamondbacks souls. Well, I did mention in my Reds’ preview that Davies had traditionally good results against the Reds. He did fine against the Orioles too. And he is facing Chris Flexen now. His last 5 outings against the Rockies all ended up in a No-Decision, so I will sign up for that and hope that the bullpen will do the rest in this game.


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