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Rockie Preview - No Ubaldo

Previous Preview on May 7th

The last time we played the Rockies we were struggling below .500, and Rockies were playing .500 baseball at 14 - 14. They are now 25 - 22, and it should just be a matter of time before the Dodgers and Rockies are jockeying for 1st place.

They have scored 224 runs, allowed 192 runs. Pythagorean W-L: 27-20

De La Rosa is still gone but they have gotten boosts to the rotation with Jeff Francis and Jason Hammel returning from the DL. Huston Street is still on the DL, and the closer situation has been a mixed bag. Luckily we missed Brad Hawpe last time, but he is back ready to torment us as always.

This is not your fathers Rockies. This team can pitch, but even with Coors they are barely scoring more runs then the Dodgers. The FIP of 3.76 is good for fourth in the league, even more shocking is the 2nd best home run rate (HR/9 per fangraphs) .66 , compared to the Dodgers .75. The .66 is just a tick off the league lead of .65. That is kind of amazing considering they call Coors their home.

The Rockies are a team getting healthy, and the offense will be the best we have seen this year. They have a powerful outfield, a great SS, a catcher having a career season. The only thing they are missing is power from their first baseman and an offensive 2nd baseman. Luckily we miss the best NL pitcher this weekend so the Dodgers must take advantage. No matter what happens this weekend we should expect both of these teams to be battling in Sept for the Division crown.

Position Breakdown

1st Base-Todd Helton is still struggling to hit with any power. TSL - .275/.392/.345, let us hope he does not follow in the footsteps of the last struggling first baseman we faced and go D Lee on us. Jason Giambi has been stealing some at bats here.

2nd Base-Clint Barmes is the weakest link in the lineup and it is a very weak link. TSL .215/.274/.318

SS - Last time we saw Troy Tulowitzki his power was down around .411. Not anymore, in 20 days he has raised his slug % to .506 and is clicking on all cylinders. Old TSL - .295/.345/.411 / New TSL - .314/.383/.506

3rd Base - Old TSL - .279/.376/.523 New TSL - .276/.347/.449 . Ian Stewart on the other hand has seen his slug% drop from above .500 to the .450 mark.

C - Miguel Olivo supplanted Chris Iannetta with his hot start, but this week Iannetta was recalled from AAA so we might see both of them this weekend. Olivo old TSL - .246/.303/.493, New TSL .297/.366/.492 so Olivo has continued to be one of the best hitting catchers in the NL this year. Is that an All-Star season so far? Very impressive for a guy who some on TBLA considered not worthy to even be on a major league roster when his name was brought up as available back up catchers this past winter. Those 14 walks are only SIX shy of his career high and we are only in May. I thought I was looking at what I'd hoped the future of Russell Martin was going to be. Color me shocked to find out those are Miguel Olivo's numbers.

CF -Carlos Gonzalez looks like he can do everything but take a walk. OLD TSL .317/.340/.475 - Current TSL .313/.329/.503. Five walks in 170 plate appearances. That would appear to be nit picking for a guy with a plus .500 slug% and a .300 batting average but it may cause him problems in the future.

LF - Last time we faced the Rockies Eric Young was actually playing in the outfield. Now the powerful Seth Smith is getting the playing time. Promising youngster Dexter Fowler seems to be a bench player these days getting spot starts here and there. Smith is slugging .563 giving the Rockies three outfielders with a plus .500 slug%.

RF - Brad Hawpe is back and is mashing TSL .303/.372/.566. I'm sure Eric will fill in the details on how he kills the Dodgers. Expect more of the same.

Bench - Ryan Spilborghs, Dexter Fowler, Chris Iannetta, Jason Giambi, and Melvin Mora round out a solid bench with power, speed, and patience.

On the DL: Jorge De La Rosa, Huston Street, Eric Young, Franklin Morales, Taylor Bucholz

Starting Pitching for our Series:

Game One -Jeff Francis has been solid since returning and seems to have regained about 1.5 - 2 MPH on his fastball before his surgery. He's been throwing 88 and pre surgery he was around 86. 88 was where he was at when he first came up. He's only made two starts so not to much can be made of what he's done so far but if he is healthy, Francis is a huge boost to the Rockie rotation.

Game Two - Aaron Cook gets the call in game two. At one time Cook was the best Rockie pitcher, it is a testament to how far the rotation has come that he may now be the weakest link in the rotation. He has an ERA of 5.40 but his FIP of 4.39 suggests he's had some bad luck. He rarely strikes out anyone (4.35) but his normal walk rate has moved from below 3.0 to 4.65 which doesn't look like bad luck to me.

Game Three - Jhoulys Chacin shut down the Dodgers the last time we faced him when he made his second start of the year. He's now made five starts and has only stumbled in one of them.

Bullpen: The last time we saw the Rockies Franklin Morales was the closer but he's now on the DL so Manual Corpas is now the man trying to close the door. Rafael Betancourt continues to have the best skills in the bullpen even though his ERA is bloated at 5.56. Rounding out the bullpen are right handers Matt Belisle / Matt Daley, and left handers Joe Beimel / Randy Flores. For those USC fans here, Randy Flores hails from your school. Franklin Morales closing is an adventure with his eight walks in eleven innings.