Colorado Rockies: 2 Keys to Winning in San Francisco on Friday Night
So far in this very young season, the Colorado Rockies have gotten the best of Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. Tonight in San Francisco, however, the Rockies could face their greatest test of the season.
When Johnny Cueto takes the hill tonight for the Giants in the second of a four-game series against the Rockies at AT&T Park, he’ll be doing it with some history on his side. Cueto has been Colorado’s Kryptonite during his 10-year Major League career. Last season, the Rockies were 0-3 against the right-hander. In his career, Cueto is 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA against Colorado in 12 starts.
Looking at how Colorado’s current roster has performed against Cueto, there are just four homers as a unit with Nolan Arenado, Gerardo Parra, Trevor Story and Mark Reynolds each having taken Cueto deep once in their careers. Parra owns the highest batting average against Cueto, posting a .382 average in 34 career at-bats. Carlos Gonzalez isn’t far behind at .360 in 25 at-bats.
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So what will Colorado have to do tonight to finally get the best of Cueto?
First, Colorado was opportunistic in Thursday night’s 3-1 win over the Giants. They will likely have to do the same on Friday night against Cueto. This is a team that has relied on the long ball for much of their offensive pop over the last few games. Remember on Tuesday when the Rockies had three solo homers to beat the San Diego Padres? That’s all they had in terms of run production that day before being shut out the next day. On Thursday, Story’s two-run homer accounted for the majority of the offense.
The other run was what the Rockies need to see more of if the offense is going to get back on track. In the sixth inning, DJ LeMahieu led off with a single and Nolan Arenado followed with a single. After Gonzalez flied out, Reynolds once again came through for Colorado with an RBI single, plating LeMahieu.
Those three hits came in rapid order for the Rockies on a night when the team accounted for just seven overall. If Colorado is going to finally get the best of Cueto, the team will have to clump together some hits to generate some offense.
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Tyler Anderson will also have to shake off his early-season issues for Colorado to grab back-to-back wins at AT&T Park. He’s given up 13 hits in 10.2 innings of work on his way to an 8.44 ERA. Also, he’s never beaten the Giants (although he has just two starts against them).