Apr 24, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks legends characters ride horses during country night in the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies head back out on the road after enjoying some home cooking, traveling to Phoenix to take on the NL West division rival Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game mid-week series.
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Having already faced the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants (twice), the Colorado Rockies now face the only NL West rival they have yet to see this year when they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game series beginning tonight in Phoenix.
The Diamondbacks, like the Rockies, were picked to be very, very bad this season by most experts in Major League Baseball, so suffice to say that the national media won’t be focusing on this series (is that really a surprise?). But, like the Rockies, the Diamondbacks have thus far played much better baseball than projected.
Now, let’s preview the series and meet the Diamondbacks as we check out the three-game series upcoming from Arizona.
DATES, TIMES, AND PITCHERS
Monday, April 27, 7:40 pm
Tyler Matzek (1-0, 2.40) vs. Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00)
Tuesday, April 28, 7:40 pm
Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 6.85) vs. Archie Bradley (2-0, 1.45)
Wednesday, April 29, 7:40 pm
Jordan Lyles (2-1, 2.92) vs. Josh Collmenter (1-3, 3.65)
KEYS FOR THE ROCKIES
Here we go, CarGo!
It’s a small change, but it’s certainly change for the better for Carlos Gonzalez. After being mired in a brutal slump since, well, the Opening Series, CarGo broke out a bit the last two games against the Giants in Denver, going a combined 3-for-9 with a home run, an RBI, and two runs scored. If he keeps doing that – and he’ll face some interesting and good arms in this series with the Diamondbacks – his resurgence will help the offense a lot as they adjust to their first road trip after an extended home stay.
First “real” road trip adjustment.
After playing nine of their first twelve games on the road, the Rockies came home for seven (well, as it turned out, six) games. Now they’re back on the road again. And now the road trip adjustments begin. This team has proven year in and year out that they can play well early in the year, before the wheels fall off and the team stops hitting on the road. This six-game set to Arizona and San Diego will go a long way to prove if the Rockies are able to adjust at the plate on the road this year, or if 2015 will be just like so many years before.
The Diamondbacks just scored three runs in a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Phoenix, losing all three over the weekend. As the Rockies’ bats adjust to road games, it’s important the pitching staff pick up the slack – especially in a series against a team that’s (1) supposed to be bad, and (2) didn’t hit for an entire weekend immediately before the series.
Rockies arms are well-rested after Sunday’s rainout, and with an off-day Thursday, the bullpen should be able to go relatively full-bore these three games in Arizona to face down the Diamondbacks and keep the team in the game for the offense as hitters adjust to lower altitude offerings.
Let’s Meet The Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks sit at 8-10, having just been swept by the Pirates when, as mentioned above, their offense disappeared.
AJ Pollock and Ender Inciarte lead the way offensively for the team, but they are they only two regulars hitting above .300. Only four regulars are hitting above .226 for the team, which is struggling to score runs despite Paul Goldschmidt’s five home runs and 16 RBIs.
The Diamondbacks also strike out a lot; Nick Ahmed has whiffed 17 times in 48 at-bats, Chris Owings has gone down 22 times in 62 at-bats, and even the star hitter Goldschmidt has whiffed 18 times in 63 at-bats (though, at least he’s walked 14 times).
The Dbacks have thus far pitched much better than they’ve hit, though, with Archie Bradley leading the way allowing just 7 hits (but 11 walks) in 18.2 innings and winning two of three starts for the club. Addison Reed is the closer, though the Diamondbacks have only one save – in only three save opportunities – through the first 18 games of the season.
Picked by most outlets to finish last in the NL West and compete for the cellar across all of baseball, the Diamondbacks may be one of the only teams worse than the Rockies this season. Thus far, though, both teams have played considerably better than the prognosticators thought but, ya know, it’s a long season.
All three games will begin at 7:40 pm MT. The Rockies have a day off Thursday after the Arizona series, before heading to San Diego for a weekend set.