Jhoulys Chacin‘s fastball command, which is seemingly always the reason he succeeds or fails, will be especially important tonight. The Rockies have a chance to reach the .500 mark and win their first series of the season against a Diamondbacks team that dominated them one year ago. According to Jim Tracy, Chacin has a chance to make a “quantum leap” between this and his first disastrous start of the season. Hopefully the offense will continue to produce at a rate that it isn’t necessary for Chacin to feel like he has to dominate. Let’s apply the otherwise dopey “quality start” criteria for the enigmatic Chacin tonight: 6 IP, 3 ER, and done in an efficient manner with lots of strikes. At this point in the season, that version of a so-called quality start would be just fine.
Josh Collmenter‘s leash is, by many accounts, short and only getting shorter as super prospect Trevor Bauer lurks in the AAA wings. Collmenter struggled in his first start, surrendering 5 runs in 3 short innings. For me it was only a matter of time until the league caught up to his
gimmicky distinct delivery; once the hitters adjust in the big show, the pitcher has to adjust back. That doesn’t always work well for pitchers who rely on funky wind-ups or deliveries to fool hitters (see Willis, Dontrelle). Unfortunately it would be just like the Rockies to mash against a stud (Daniel Hudson) and follow it up by making a lesser pitcher look great. Here is the lineup manager Jim Tracy hopes will avoid a letdown tonight:
No, it’s not just Jim Tracy tinkering; the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders reports that Carlos Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup because he is “under the weather.” Colvin, who has delivered a number of strong at-bats so far this season, starts in his place. Pacheco will try to recapture the hot bat he showed during spring training as he and Chris Nelson continue their pillow fight for playing time at third base (Thinking of you, Nolan Arenado).
Speaking of tinkering, reigning Manager of the Year Kirk Gibson will dispatch his 8th lineup in as many games as his team tries to pull even in this weekend series:
Gibson wisely replaces Jason Kubel with Parra, improving his outfield’s ability to defend the vast gaps of Coors Field. To my eye, Lyle Overbay’s name instead of Paul Goldschmidt is a welcome sight. Chacin will not necessarily face your typical “table-setters” at the top of the lineup, but he does face guys with pop right away. We will know early if Chacin is going to survive/succeed tonight.
…Weather.com forecasts chilly conditions in Denver tonight, with the temperature dropping into the 40s and scattered thunderstorms expected later on…
…starting in July last season, Collmenter pitched at least 6 innings in 3 straight starts against the Rockies…
…is it a good or bad thing that Dexter Fowler clubbed a left handed home run last night? Probably a good thing as it comes in the midst of a nice stretch of games for Fowler. But in the past he has let his lefty swing get away from him in games immediately after a home run; remember that he is already a high risk to swing under pitches…if his left handed swing had a theme song it would always play on loop (BAM!). But seriously, Fowler needs to continue to make an impact, and the last thing the Rockies need is a game full of weak pop-ups against a pitcher with underwhelming stuff like Collmenter.