Series Preview: Colorado Rockies vs Washington Nationals

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July 21, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies manager W. Weiss (22) in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Series Keys For The Rockies

Say hi to Strasburg!

The Nationals are going to throw Stephen Strasburg out against the Rockies in the middle game of this series, which will be his first outing back in the big leagues in a month, since he was pulled with a strained oblique while making a start. Strasburg has some very pedestrian numbers this season, and although some of that may be due to whatever he was going through before he went on the disabled list, he still might be the most vulnerable of the Nationals’ pitchers this weekend.

Considering the Rockies see Jordan Zimmermann and Max Scherzer in the other two games this weekend… Strasburg might be the best shot to get a win (barring some weird late inning heroics if the games are close Friday or Sunday). The Rockies need to jump on Strasburg in his first start back before he can get a rhythm.

The Nationals don’t hit, so…

The Nationals may pitch well — especially the starters the Rockies are going to see this weekend — but their bats haven’t backed up the work on the mound in the way the club probably hoped at the start of the year. Save superstar Bryce Harper, who’s doing exactly what you’d expect him to do, and Yunel Escobar, who’s having a resurgent year, the rest of the lineup hasn’t exactly been a group of world beaters.

Denard Span is on the disabled list, Ian Desmond has struggled offensively and in the field, and five everyday Nationals are hitting below .250, with the team as a whole getting on base at just a .313 clip.

If — if — the Rockies have any legitimate chance this weekend, knowing how poorly they do on the road and how dreadful east coast trips have been for the club historically, it may be in a very close, low-scoring game late where something weird happens that works for the Rox.

What happens beyond De La Rosa?

Jorge De La Rosa is almost a given in games — you know that far more often than not, he’s at least going to show up and give the Rockies a chance to win — but beyond him, Yohan Flande is relatively untested, and Eddie Butler is struggling mightily. Can the Rockies get a decent outing from either of those two and be in a position to win a ballgame Saturday or Sunday?

(And yes, I have far more faith in Flande for this than I do in Butler.)

Next: Let's Meet The Washington Nationals