The Colorado Rockies enter Monday with a four game losing streak after being swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks and losing two of three to the Detroit Tigers (who were just swept themselves by the Cleveland Indians in four games this past weekend).
The Rockies are also only 20-24 since the All-Star break and 12-17 since August 1. They only have hold of the second wild card by a1/2 game over the Brewers entering Monday.
The Rockies are hoping to gain traction once again as they face the Giants for three games starting Monday before heading out on a huge eight game road trip against the Dodgers and the D’Backs that will determine whether or not they make the playoffs. The Giants are the perfect team to do gain some confidence and some wins off of as they are just 54-85 and 31 games under .500.
Here are some things to look for in the series.
Monday’s probable starters
On Monday, Chad Bettis and Chris Stratton are the scheduled starters. Bettis is 0-2 with a 4.88 ERA in four starts. However, in his past two starts, his pitching has not been stellar. He has only gone five innings in each start and he has allowed five runs in each start. Batters have hit .325 off him in that span.
Stratton is 2-3 with a 3.82 ERA in eight appearances (five of which have been starts). His last four appearances have each been starts (and all have been in August) and he has been excellent. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of the starts and he has struck out 10 in two of them. In those four starts, he is 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA and a .212 opponent’s batting average.
Tuesday’s probable starters
For Tuesday, the Rockies have not announced their probable starter. For the Giants, their scheduled starter will be Ty Blach. Blach is 8-11 with a 4.68 ERA in 30 games (23 have been starts). In his past four starts, though, he is 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA and a .315 opponent batting average.
The Rockies must do well against Blach. With numbers like that of late, they need to get on him early.
Wednesday’s probable starters
On Wednesday, the scheduled starters are Kyle Freeland and Johnny Cueto. Freeland is 11-9 with 3.89 ERA in 26 games (25 starts). He has struggled as of late (as have the Rockies, in general) as in his four starts since August 15, he is 0-2 with a 4.98 ERA, a .299 opponent batting average, and nearly walking five batters per nine innings.
Cueto is 6-7 with a 4.54 ERA in 20 starts. He just came off the disabled list as before his last start on September 1, he hadn’t made a start since July 14, the Friday after the All-Star break. He faced the Cardinals in his last start and he went 5 1/3 innings allowing four hits and two runs.
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Before today’s game, I would suspect that both teams will call up more reinforcements from the minor leagues as the minor league season ended last night.
For the Giants, I would suspect that catcher Trevor Brown will be recalled as the Giants only have one back up catcher, former Rockie Nick Hundley, on the roster. They could be a few other moves but they would likely have to require a 40-man roster spot to do it.
The Giants are 2-7 in their last nine games. They have a team ERA of 5.03 and they have allowed 11 runs in two separate games in that span. They have also averaged 2.2 runs per game with a .210/.276/.344 slash line so the Rockies pitching staff needs to hold them to this. It’s not like the Giants are the second coming of the 1927 Yankees. The Rockies also need to hit better than they have been. The Giants pitching staff is very capable of giving up their fair share of runs and if the Rockies are playing like they are capable.
However, if the Rockies cannot win AT LEAST two of three against them, I would say that their hopes at getting a wild card spot are just about gone.