The Rockies had a nightmare of a road trip that ended yesterday with a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks but they are coming home to face the Cincinnati Reds in four games and the Chicago White Sox in three games before entering the All-Star break.
The Rockies will have a much easier schedule heading into the All-Star break and it starts with four games against the Cincinnati Reds. The Redlegs (yes, that used to be their name) are 35-46 in the first half of the season and are in last place in the NL Central.
Cincinnati Reds Pitchers Scouting Report
The reason why the Reds are in last place is because their abhorrent pitching staff. They have the worst ERA in baseball at 5.24, which is nearly a quarter of a run worse than the second worst (Baltimore Orioles) and nearly a fun run higher than the NL average (4.34). Their ERA+ is 86 (14 percent less than league average). Particularly, their starting pitching has been atrocious. Their ERA is even higher as it’s 6.16, more than a run and a half higher than the NL average (4.48). In fact, only the Orioles and Reds have a starter’s ERA higher than 4.88.
The bullpen has actually performed well as they have a 4.11 ERA, which is 13th best in baseball and sixth best in the NL. They have five relievers that in 34 or more games and four of those five have an ERA of 3.38 or less (or a 132 ERA+ or better). They are Raisel Iglesias (their lock down closer), Michael Lorenzen, Wandy Peralta, and Drew Storen.
The Reds have announced their starters for the first three of the four games against the Rockies. Luis Castillo (no, not the former second baseman best known for playing with the team formerly known as the Florida Marlins who has the same name) is scheduled to start for the Reds on Monday. He only has two career starts in the major leagues as he only made his MLB debut on June 23. He has done well in his two starts, though, as in 10 2/3 innings, he has only allowed four runs. However, he has walked eight and allowed 10 hits so if he pitches like he has recently, the Rockies will have plenty of opportunities to get to him. Jeff Hoffman is scheduled to start against him. He is 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in eight games (seven starts).
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On Tuesday the 4th, Homer Bailey is scheduled to start against the Rockies. He has practically been on the disabled list since early 2014 as he has not had 30 or more starts in a season since 2013 and hasn’t had more than six starts in a season since 2014. In his two starts since coming off the DL, he has an ERA of 27.00. Only 4 2/3 innings pitched and he’s allowed 12 hits, 14 runs, and five walks. Kyle Freeland will be opposing Bailey and Freeland has been the Rockies’ best pitcher this season. He’s 8-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 16 starts and 93 2/3 innings pitched.
On Wednesday, the Reds’ scheduled starter is Scott Feldman. Feldman was the Opening Day starter for the Reds and he has been, by far, their best starter. He’s 7-5 with a 3.78 ERA in 17 starts and 97 2/3 innings pitched and his strikeout to walk rate is excellent (2.5 to 1). He’ll be opposing Jon Gray, who just came of the DL on this past road trip. On the season, in four starts, he has an ERA of 3.93 and pitched in 18 1/3 innings.
The Reds’ Offensive Scouting Report
The Reds, especially for a last place team, has performed extremely well. They have seven players in their everyday starting lineup that have an OPS+ of 100 or more. Catcher Devin Mesoraco, who has been on the DL for a majority of his seven year career, is finally healthy and had six homers and 14 RBIs in 40 games. 2017 All-Star first baseman and former MVP Joey Votto is having another excellent season as 23 HRs, 59 RBIs, 56 BBs (league leading), and a .317/.429/.621 slashline, and an astounding 170 OPS+. NL starting shortstop Zack Cozart has nine homers, 33 RBIs, a .322/.403/.555 slash line, and a 147 OPS+. Outfielder Adam Duvall has 19 HRs, and 58 RBIs, third baseman Eugenio Suarez has 12 HRs and 42 RBIs, outfielder Scott Schebler has 20 HRs and 40 RBIs, and utility man Scooter Gennett has 12 HRs and 42 RBIs. In most offensive categories, the Reds are in the top five in the NL.
Analysis: Keys to the Rockies winning
Offensively, the Rockies must get on the Reds’ starters before they get into a groove. They will also walk a decent amount of opponents so patience is also key. Get a lead early as their bullpen is much better than their starting staff. On the pitching front, the key is to pitch around the plate as they will take their fair share of walks (especially Votto). However, the pitches need to be mixed up as if they are around the plate too much, players like Votto, Duvall, and Schebler will take the Rockies deep. Also, Billy Hamilton is a key to keep off the bases. With the large size of Coors Field, not giving up gappers will be key as they will be an inside-the-park home run for Hamilton. If they are effective at this game plan, they will be victorious and win the series.