Colorado Rockies vs Cincinnati Reds Series Preview


Aug 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss (22) and Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price (38) listen to home plate umpire CB Bucknor (54) before the start of the game at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After another week of crappy Denver weather and crappier performance by the club, the Colorado Rockies go back on the road – to Cincinnati – for Memorial Day.

The struggling Colorado Rockies head to southern Ohio to take on the struggling Cincinnati Reds in what might be a game of who-wants-it-less, considering the difficulties both of these teams have had over the past several weeks.

The Reds are riding high into the series with an eight-game losing streak, while the Rockies don’t pitch, can’t hit, and really haven’t ever won on the road. It should be an incredible series, in other words. Yay! Let’s get down to it.

Here are the probable pitchers for this week’s three-game set, plus some oh-so-very serious keys for the Rockies, and a good interview with Blog Red Machine about the Reds, in our series preview:


Monday, May 25, 12:10 pm
Eddie Butler (2-5, 4.38) vs. Jason Marquis (3-4, 6.91)

Tuesday, May 26, 6:10 pm
Jorge De La Rosa (1-2, 6.51) vs. Michael Lorenzen (1-1, 3.97)

Wednesday, May 27, 11:35 am
Kyle Kendrick (1-6, 6.58) vs. Mike Leake (2-3, 4.14)


Score more runs than the Reds! 

If the Rockies score more runs than the Reds this series, they can win the entire series!

Pitch well so the Reds don’t score many runs!

If the Rockies pitchers get more outs than they give up hits and walks, it’s possible they can keep the Reds from scoring too many runs.

Play nine innings of baseball every game!

It would greatly help the Rockies if they played well in every inning. Giving up one bad inning could hurt the team, right?

Let’s Meet The Reds

I spoke to Matt Wilkes, the editor of Blog Red Machine (@BlogRedMachine) about the Reds:

The Reds took a six-game losing streak into the weekend (this interview as of Saturday), so for a bad club like the Rockies, a series in Cincinnati doesn’t seem so bad. Are you ready for a few games of bad baseball this week?!

​Bad baseball is better than no baseball, I guess? The Reds are playing some truly horrendous baseball right now, so this shouldn’t seem bad at all for the Rockies. Nothing has gone right for the Reds over the last eight games, as their offense has been MIA, their pitching has been terrible, and their fundamentals have just gone out the window. If you were to survey all 30 teams to pick one team that they’d love to play right now, the answer would unanimously be the Reds. This is going to be a fun series.

The Rox will be in Cincy on Memorial Day for the day game – any fun day game traditions in Cincinnati, or Memorial Day stuff? What should a Rockies fan know about Cincy if anybody ever comes to southern Ohio to see a game?

There are plenty of things to do in Cincinnati, but the area around the ballpark called The Banks is the place to be before and after a game. The area has been completely renovated in the last several years and there are a ton of restaurants and bars right outside of the stadium. You could also head over to Riverfront Park and take a nice, peaceful stroll by the river before the game, which is what I personally enjoy doing before a game.

Ok, let’s get to baseball. Marlon Byrd and Jay Bruce are each hitting home runs, but striking out a lot and hitting around .200. Is this the status quo for both the rest of the year, or will they turn it around at the plate?

With Byrd, it’s a bit of a mystery because of his age. After a horrible April, he was on fire to start May, but has since cooled off. He’s been a high strikeout guy for the last several years, so the Reds knew what they were getting into there, but his low batting average and on-base percentage is a bit alarming. Byrd is a career .276/.331/.428 hitter and while his slugging percentage is actually above his career rate thanks to his nine home runs, his average and OBP are way down. At age 37, it’s hard to tell if he’s starting to decline or if he’s just off to a rough start. His batting average on balls in play is .215, well below his career average of .324, so it could just be that the hits aren’t falling for him right now.

Regarding Bruce, the high strikeout rate will definitely be the status quo for the rest of the year, but I can’t see him hitting around .200 all season long. Bruce has always been a high strikeout guy, so there’s no real cause for concern there. As for his low batting average, a lot of it has to do with the extreme shifts teams use against him and getting out despite hitting the ball hard. His BABIP is also low (.247 vs. .291 for his career), meaning that a bit of bad luck could be coming into play, especially considering his hard contact rate (39.0 percent) is way up from his career average (34.3 percent). Unfortunately for the Rockies, Bruce has started to heat up of late and just saw a six-game hitting streak come to an end on Sunday. Fortunately for the Rockies, the rest of the Reds’ offense is nowhere to be found at the moment as they’ve scored only seven runs over the past five games.

Brandon Phillips is having a great year at the plate, and Joey Votto is being Joey Votto, but what about Todd Frazier?! Home. Run. King. Would you rather have him, or Nolan Arenado at third base every day?

 Oh man, they’re both outstanding third basemen. I’d honestly be happy to have either one. Frazier hits some monster home runs while Arenado is a treat to watch defensively and could legitimately have double digit Gold Gloves by the time his career is over (and, of course, he can hit a little bit, too). Since the Reds are already a solid defensive team and are a not-so-solid offensive team, I’d probably rather have Frazier at third base every day since he has a slight edge over Arenado with the bat, but you really can’t go wrong with either. 

Former Rockie watch! Jason Marquis is doing…. Not good. How long is he going to be in the rotation? Or is Price going to move him to the pen as he’s indicated recently? Other than him, it seems like the rotation is doing well enough (well, you know, without Homer Bailey…).

“Not good” is putting it nicely. Marquis has been the glaring weakness of the Reds’ pitching staff so far. Many people (including myself) were surprised he was included in the rotation considering he’s 36, hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2013, and has battled injuries. He pitched well in spring training and has had a couple decent starts in the regular season, but he’s been especially bad of late as he’s given up at least four runs in his last three starts and hasn’t pitched more than 3.2 innings in his last two. Of all qualified pitchers in the majors, only the Mariners’ Taijuan Walker has a higher ERA than Marquis.

I honestly have a hard time believing he’d be in the starting rotation of any other team, but for some reason the Reds keep trotting him out there every day. It’s a tough one to figure out. Bryan Price was noncommittal about Marquis making his next scheduled start, but it was announced Sunday that he’ll start on Memorial Day for the series opener. If this start goes poorly, I think that’s probably going to be it for him in the rotation, especially since the Reds have a few young pitchers waiting in the wings.

As for the rest of the rotation, they’ve been good for the most part, but the Rockies are catching them at the right time as they won’t see Cueto or Anthony DeSclafani, and the rest of the starters have been awful lately. In six of the Reds’ last eight games, their starting pitchers haven’t made it further than the fifth inning. As you might imagine, they’ve lost all six of those games. Actually, they’ve lost all eight of those games. Yeah, it’s been ugly.

Devin Mesoraco keeps having injury issues and may be done for the year. What does his future behind the plate look like?

​Mesoraco is suffering from a left hip impingement that has made it impossible for him to crouch down to catch. For some reason, the Reds have kept him on the active roster as a pinch hitter and designated hitter in interleague games rather than putting him on the DL, meaning he’s had only 51 plate appearances this season and the Reds have been playing shorthanded for a good portion of the year. He tried squatting last week and it didn’t go so well as a setback has him pondering surgery that would end his season. He’s supposed to be examined once the team arrives back in Cincinnati, but the expectation is that he’s going to opt to have the surgery. From what I’ve been able to gather, the injury won’t affect him catching in the long run, so we should see him back behind the plate next season.

I know it happened a couple weeks ago, but what’s your take on the Bryan Price fiasco? I loved it, I loved his comments and I loved how the journalist went about it (like most things in life, I thought the fall out was a mainstream-media-created nothing-burger). But, I’m not the one who covers the team every day. What’s your POV? (Of course, Bryan Price just got ejected Saturday while exchanging lineup cards, so…..) 

First of all, the tirade was completely out of left field. In all his interviews, Price seems like a very even-keeled guy and a 77 F-bomb outburst took pretty much everyone by surprise. Even in his rant, he never really raised his voice. It was just bizarre. To me, it seemed like a sign of a manager who was cracking under the pressure. The Reds had been playing particularly bad around the time of the outburst and it seemed like Price’s frustrations just boiled over. I also didn’t understand his comments, as they indicated that he believes the media shouldn’t report on what players are and are not available, and that they should be looking out for the best interest of the team, which is obviously not their job. I also didn’t think getting ejected before a game was a good look either.

It’s possible he was just trying to fire up his struggling team, but it clearly didn’t work as they still lost. He’s pretty much lost all faith from Reds fans at this point, but I don’t know that the front office has given up on him yet. In my opinion, he’s the least of the Reds’ problems right now. The team just simply isn’t very good and there’s not a whole lot he can do about it.

And finally, something I’m interested in with every non-contender (hell yes, Rockies too): who should the Reds trade by July 31? And… who will they trade by the deadline?

They should trade Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman by July 31. It’s still early, but it doesn’t appear that the Reds are going anywhere this year, meaning a rebuild is probably coming soon. They’d be able to get a great return for Cueto from a team looking to solidify their starting rotation for a playoff race and wouldn’t lose him to free agency for nothing. Chapman isn’t a free agent until after the 2016 team, but an extra year of control would likely be enticing to a lot of teams. And frankly, you can only get so much value out of a guy who only throws 60 innings a year, no matter how dominant he is (I still maintain that the Reds should’ve given him a shot in the rotation, but that ship has sailed).

As for who they will trade, I’d say Cueto is the safest bet since he’s in the last year of his contract and would bring back several great prospects. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them ship off Mike Leake, who is also in the last year of his contract and would probably get a pretty decent haul for the Reds. I’d be slightly more surprised if they traded Chapman since he’s not in a contract year, but I wouldn’t rule it out either. If they’re looking to dump some salary at the deadline, I could see Brandon Phillips or Jay Bruce also getting traded.


More from Rox Pile

Thanks again to Matt for taking the time to talk with us about the Reds.

You can follow Blog Red Machine on their site and on Twitter the entire three-game series for more on the Reds, who the Rockies will of course see again in Denver later this year.

As for the Rockies…

Let’s see if this club can string together a few more good pitching performances (and dodge the rain, for once!) after David Hale and Chad Bettis went a combined 15 innings in the last two starts the team’s rotation has made.

Oh, and a Happy Memorial Day to you and yours!