Series Preview – Cincinnati Reds
I’d like to make this a regular feature, where I break down the upcoming series and take a look at another series with implications for the Rockies. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Friday 7/16 Hammel vs.Arroyo
Saturday 7/17 De La Rosa vs. Volquez
Sunday 7/18 Cook vs. TBA
- Will the Rockies maintain the momentum they had going into the All Star break? The break came at an inopportune time for the Rox, as the team went 8-2 in the ten games before the break. On the other hand, the Reds dropped four straight going into the break. It will be interesting to see how the time off affects both teams. I believe the Rockies will stay hot and take 2 out of 3.
- How will Edinson Volquez fare in his first start of the year? After a successful rehab assignment, Edinson Volquez makes his first major league start following Tommy John surgery and a 50 game suspension for violating the MLB performance enhancing drug policy. Will he continue to dominate as he did in his rehab assignment, or will he struggle in his first outing on a big league mound in over a year? My hunch is that Volquez will be too eager to prove he is healthy and to make people forget about his suspension by impressing on the mound. If he can’t relax on the mound, he won’t be effective. I feel that he will struggle in his first start back, but will help keep the Reds in the Central race over the rest of the season.
- How will the Rox fare playing in a homer friendly stadium? The Rockies pitchers will need to avoid walks in this series. Playing at home, the Reds will hit home runs. Votto, Rolen, and Phillips alone have combined for 30 homers at the Great American Ball Park this season. The Rox pitchers need to ensure that any homers are of the one run variety by keeping the Reds off base. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see if a couple games in a hitter’s park will generate some confidence for the Rockies batters. In particular, if Brad Hawpe is able to connect with a homer or two in this series, it may lead to increased power numbers over the rest of the season. If Hawpe can get it going, he could carry the Rox while he’s hot.
Series to Watch
Rox fans should keep an eye on the Mets and Giants as they play a 4 game set this weekend. The Giants are 1.5 games behind the Rockies in the West, while the Mets are 1.5 games behind the Rox in the Wild Card. The Giants edged the Mets 2-0 last night. Rox fans should root for the Mets in this series to give the Rockies some breathing room in the division. The annual late summer Mets meltdown should ensure that the Mets don’t threaten the Rox in the Wild Card chase.