Three Keys For Christian Bergman and the Colorado Rockies

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Sep 15, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pitcher Christian Bergman (36) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field.Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

With Jorge De La Rosa still on the mend, Christian Bergman will make a spot start Tuesday night for the Colorado Rockies in San Francisco.

Well, he ain’t Jorge De La Rosa, but the Colorado Rockies have Christian Bergman and they’ve gotta ride him Tuesday night in San Francisco.

While De La Rosa continues to recover from a groin injury, Bergman will start in his place at AT&T Park against the Giants.

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Bergman has had success in San Francisco before.

Last year, the Rockies won both of his starts against the Giants, including a 5-4 victory in San Francisco in June.

Bergman lasted six innings in that tilt, and gave up just three runs on eight hits.

Tonight, the club needs more of that.

Some things to consider as Bergman takes the hill against Tim Hudson at 8:15 pm MT:

Throw strikes

The Rockies have done a woeful job of getting ahead of hitters thus far in the season, and Rockies pitchers have walked 25 batters in seven games and hit eight more. That’s 33 free passes – almost five per game – across the first week of the season.

Bergman, to his (limited sample size) credit, has yet to issue a free pass in… one inning of work.

Either way, he must limit the free bases tonight, because he – and nobody else, ever – will ever again be as lucky as Eddie Butler was on Monday afternoon.

Get outs

Sounds obvious, right? What I mean more than no-duh-let’s-get-some-outs blather is Bergman needs to pitch deep into the game.

He tossed six innings in San Francisco in his last start there in July 2014.

If he can get the Rockies 18 more outs tonight and keep the team close enough in the game, he’s done his job.

A hypothetical outing where he allows, say, four runs in six innings? Not Cy Young worthy, but all things considered, not awful.

A hypothetical outing where he allows six runs in three innings? Bad.

Not only because it likely puts the Rockies out of the game early, but it taxes the bullpen when, after Thursday, the club won’t see another off day until May 7th.

Embrace the Giants’ lefties

The Giants have quite a few left-handed bats in their lineup: Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco, Nori Aoki, and (switch hitter) Angel Pagan.

That’s good for Bergman, who got killed by right handers last season to the tune of a .346/.362/.632 slash line and eight home runs in 142 plate appearances.

He wasn’t, like, lights-out against lefties (who slashed .280/.327/.450 against him in 107 PAs in 2014), but, um, he was a little bit better?

Neither slash line is, you know, good, but Bergman has been better against lefties than righties. So, assuming he may see as many as five lefties in the Giants order, maybe he can be effective enough in his spot start.

Either way, it’ll all play out tonight at 8:15 pm MT. And even though he won’t hear it Tuesday night in San Francisco, at least Bergman has good taste in walk-up music.

After winning yesterday, the Rockies have a chance to win their second straight road series this evening and retain the lead in the National League West. Get it done, boys.

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