Tonight, the Colorado Rockies will begin a three-game weekend set against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Coors Field. Just a month ago, the Rox dropped two out of three during a mid-week series at PNC Park, but will have a chance to get revenge this weekend at home.
When the Pirates and Rockies met earlier this year, the teams were going in completely opposite directions with their 2017 campaigns. The Rockies were off to one of the best starts in franchise history, sitting at 41-24 record and having won eight of their last 10. On the other hand, the Pirates held a disappointing 28-35 record and had dropped four of their previous six at the time.
The first game was dominated by Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon. Just five weeks off of surgery for testicular cancer, Taillon received a standing ovation from not just Pirates fans, but Rockies fans as well. He looked strong in five innings of work, giving up no runs on five hits and two walks.
On the Rox side, it was a disappointing outing for starter Kyle Freeland, who gave up five runs in just 5.2 innings of work. To make matters worse, he was replaced by Scott Oberg, who proceeded to give up two runs in less than an inning of work. The Rockies were able to scratch two runs across, but it wasn’t enough in a 7-2 loss.
The Pirates got on the board first in game two, on an Andrew McCutchen solo shot in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Rox quickly responded though, with a Tony Wolters RBI single in the top half of the fifth inning. However, the Pirates offense proved to simply be too much for the Rockies bullpen late in the game.
John Jaso hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Rockies a slim two-run lead, but McCutchen went deep for the second time of the night in the eighth to give the Pirates a more comfortable 5-1 lead. The Rockies fought to score one in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as they dropped the second game of the series, 5-2.
Looking to salvage a game of the series, the Rox sent German Marquez to the mound to start game three. Marquez didn’t disappoint and turned in five+ quality innings, giving up just one run on four hits and a walk.
Additionally, the Rockies offense came alive and scored more runs than the first two games of the series combined. Led by an Ian Desmond home run and a four-hit performance from Raimel Tapia, the Rockies put up five runs and beat the Pirates on getaway day, 5-1. It was, however, the first road series loss of the season for the Rockies.
When the teams meet this weekend, both will be riding win streaks, looking to continue their winning ways. The Rox have won four in a row, including a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres this week at Coors Field. On Wednesday afternoon, the Rox put up 18 runs and were led by Nolan Arenado‘s three home runs.
Likewise, the Pirates have won five in a row, including a four-game sweep of the NL Central first-place Milwaukee Brewers, to pull them back to .500 on the year and just three games behind the Brewers in the chase for the NL Central lead. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have the second-best record in the National League since June 10. Only the Dodgers have played better.
The series will feature some great pitching matchups that should keep the games close. On Friday night, Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.57 ERA) will face-off against Jeff Hoffman (6-1, 4.33 ERA) at 6:40 p.m. in Denver. Game two will be at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday night and will feature Chad Kuhl (3-6, 4.85 ERA) countering German Marquez (7-4, 4.34 ERA). The series will wrap up Sunday at 1:10 p.m. with Ivan Nova (10-6, 3.27 ERA) challenging Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.67 ERA).