The Rockies are back on the road today. What a relief! I thought they’d never leave Coors Field. Now they can actually win some games. Obviously, I jest, but that’s the way it feels lately. Tonight’s opponent: the Arizona Diamondbacks and their manager Kirk Gibson. Interesting enough, Gibson is still hurting from a hamstring injury that he suffered late in the 1988 season.
Against the Diamondbacks, the Rockies should be able to continue their winning road ways. Arizona is three games below .500 and an even 8-8 at home. Also, the pitching match-ups for all three games are heavily in the Rox favor. Still, this is a division foe, and anything can happen when playing within the NL West.
Pitching Match-ups — Provided by MLB.com
Jorge De La Rosa vs. Joe Saunders
With Ubaldo Jimenez still searching for his first win of the season, De La Rosa has been the team’s de facto ace this season. The lefty has allowed just nine earned runs in 31 innings, and leads the team with 29 strikeouts.
Saunders has struggled at Chase Field this year having allowed 15 earned runs in 15 innings. On the road, he has allowed three earned runs in 12 innings in starts for a 2.25 ERA. Last time out, he allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings. – MLB.com
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Barry Enright
Chacin was a hard-luck loser in his last outing, giving up three runs while striking out a season-high eight and walking none over seven innings in a 3-0 loss to the Pirates. He is 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts at Chase Field.
Enright picked up the win in his last start against the Cubs on Friday, his first victory since Sept. 1, 2010. The right-hander pitched more aggressively and with a better tempo at the urging of manager Kirk Gibson. – MLB.com
Jason Hammel vs. Armando Galarraga
Hammel has given up just two runs in his last 13 2/3 innings. Although he has to break a habit of giving up runs in the first inning, Hammel has been staying in the strike zone, and is able to use his full complement of pitches.
Galarraga is growing increasingly aware of the need to keep the ball in the park. Even though eight of them have been solo shots, the Majors-leading 11 homers he has given up have accounted for 15 of the 21 runs scored off him. — MLB.com
Who’s Hot — Last 10 Games
Colorado: Seth Smith — .333, 6 RBI, 10 R, HR, 2 2B
Arizona: Gerardo Parra — .324, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 5 R, HR, 3B
Who’s Cold — Last 10 Games
Colorado: Troy Tulowitzki — .225, 0 HR
Arizona: Russell Branyon — .148, 1 R, 0 RBI
Can the Rockies continue their early season success on the road?
Part of the reason the Rox are 10-3 away from Coors has been their level of competition. They’ve dominated the bottom feeding Mets, Pirates, and Cubs. Accordingly, they’ll likely do the same against the Diamondbacks. Arizona is a below average team that doesn’t pitch or hit particularly well. Colorado should win this series.
Can De La Rosa, Chacin, and Hammel continue to build upon their momentum?
All three Rockies pitchers are coming off good starts — particularly De La Rosa and Hammel. These three guys are a big reason for the team’s early success, but many doubt their ability to sustain their current level of play. Perhaps the naysayers will eventually be proven correct, but I certainly like what I’ve seen so far.
When will the Rockies’ bats wake up?
The Rockies have not hit well. Their offense has been largely driven by walks making for a very difficult time against pitchers with good control. However, this team will eventually hit. Over the last ten games, Tulo and CarGo have been very unproductive, but CarGo had a nice series against the Pirates and Tulo is bound to get hot again. Even with his recent cold streak, he is still a top five early season candidate for NL MVP.