Series Preview: Colorado Rockies vs Oakland Athletics

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June 26, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher N. Hundley (left) and relief pitcher T. Kahnle (right) celebrate after defeating the San Francisco Giants 8-6 at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Get ready for three good arms

The Rockies have the honor of facing three good pitchers in Oakland this week, with two — Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman — young and intriguing arms that will be solid starters one day, and one — Sonny Gray — who is a bona fide Cy Young Award candidate already this year. Well that’s just great! The Rockies have never been shut down by good pitchers before, especially on the road. (That’s sarcasm, obviously.)

The Rockies will need to come up with some pitcher’s duels if they want to win in Oakland this series. Overall, the A’s have the second best ERA in the American League, though the bullpen hasn’t been nearly as good as the starting rotation. If the Rockies can get to the bullpen with a win still within striking distance, hey, anything can happen.

Make the A’s swing!

The Oakland Athletics are the most disciplined hitters in Major League Baseball, with the lowest swing percentage, the highest contact rate, and the lowest swing-and-miss rate. That all adds up to some bad news for Colorado, because Rockies’ pitchers have struggled with walks and free passes all season. Fortunately, of the three pitchers slated to start in the Athletics’ series, two of them — Chad Bettis and David Hale — have completely filled up the zone this year, and the third — Jorge De La Rosa — has enough big league experience to give the club a fighting chance regardless of command (you know, usually).

Nevertheless, the well-disciplined lineup in Oakland is going to wreak havoc on the Rockies’ arms, and if the Rox don’t fill up the zone with quality strikes, you can forget about this series.

Holy Noly, we need you now!

Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado are both heating up, and both did well in San Francisco against the Giants this past weekend. While Arenado’s six home runs in five games streak was just snapped, it wouldn’t be the worst thing if he started another one this week in Oakland, right? Short of that, Tulo, Arenado, and Carlos Gonzalez are going to need to show up if the Rockies have any hope.

His name is Ben Paulsen

The A’s will throw three right-handers against the Rockies this week, so it figures Ben Paulsen will see the majority of time at first base. Keep on keepin’ on, Ben. Keep on keepin’ on.

Can the bullpen bounce back?

The bullpen — Rafael Betancourt, Tommy Kahnle, Boone Logan, but really, most everyone — has had some trouble recently. As we discussed above, the Rockies are facing three good starters this series; it stands to reason games will be close late if the Rockies have any hope of winning (don’t count on any blowouts), and because of it, the bullpen needs to show up to protect close leads, which they struggled to do in San Francisco and before.

Next: Let's Meet The Oakland Athletics