Colorado Rockies: Previewing the opener against the Atlanta Braves

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DENVER, CO - JULY 24: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies laughs as he celebrates after a 7-2 win over the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field on July 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 24: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies laughs as he celebrates after a 7-2 win over the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field on July 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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It’s Opening Day in Denver and it’s also Purple Friday according to the Mayor of Denver. With that, it’s time we do a deep dive into this matchup. This afternoon in a weather-delayed game, the Colorado Rockies will be taking on the Atlanta Braves. In this article, we’ll be going over everything from pitching to who’s on the bench.

Overview

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies are coming off a strong series against the San Diego Padres, winning three out of four games. This has them in second place in the National League West at 4-3. It’s a strong start, especially after losing the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies will be looking to win this series and continue their climb n the division standings. Their offense, led by Charlie Blackmon, is on a tear as of late and will most likely be during this series.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves are doing a lot better than many people thought they would. The offense, led by first basemen Freddie Freeman, is coming in clutch for their starting pitchers. This has led them to a 4-2 record and getting them in second place in the National League East. They also handed the Nationals their first lost of the season as they came away with winning the series. The Braves have won both of their series at home. They even had a high total of 48 runs in just the first six games of the season.

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Pitching

Colorado Rockies: Today on the mound, we have German Marquez (one of my personal favorites). Marquez, only 23, is proving to be a pretty good starter. Though only staying in his first game of the season for 5.1 innings, he did not give up an earned run. This was a reassuring thing to see after the first starts for both Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray.

Marquez also struck out four, but walked four as well. He’ll be looking to go after guys more while pounding the strike zone.

The bullpen is in tip top shape and one reliever to look out for Adam Ottavino. In the four games Otto has been in, he’s struck out 10 and has only given up one hit. Along with him, closer Wade Davis is hitting his strides being 3-for-3 in save situations.

Atlanta Braves: On the mound for the Atlanta Braves is veteran Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy’s first start was short, like Marquez. He only pitched 5.1 innings though did come away with the win. His ERA is 3.38 and he has five strikeouts while only walking three batters.

Another thing to watch for is how many hits he’ll give up as McCarthy allowed six hits and two runs (both earned) to come in. The Atlanta bullpen is … well … it’s there. The relievers I’d mainly pay attention to are former Rockies reliever Shane Carle and Peter Moylan. Carle already has a win under his belt from relief in just the 5.1 innings he’s pitched.

Today’s Lineups

Colorado Rockies: They’ve got a stacked lineup. Let’s take a look:

  1. Charlie Blackmon, CF
  2. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
  3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
  4. Carlos Gonzalez, RF
  5. Ian Desmond, 1B
  6. Gerardo Parra, LF
  7. Trevor Story, SS
  8. Chris Iannetta, C
  9. German Marquez, P

Atlanta Braves: The Braves feature a good lineup as well:

  1. Ender Inciarte, CF
  2. Ozzie Albies, 2B
  3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  4. Nick Markakis, RF
  5. Kurt Suziki, C
  6. Preston Tucker, LF
  7. Dansby Swanson, SS
  8. Ryan Flaherty, 3B
  9. Brandon McCarthy, P

Player(s) to Watch

Colorado Rockies: 

German Marquez. This guy is seriously so good. The close thing to watch with him will be if he can stay more than five innings. If so, will he be able to shut down the Braves today? He has the stuff in order to stay in it through the long haul. I’d love to see Marquez have some key shutdown innings and up his strikeout rate as well.

Ryan McMahon. He has struggled early. McMahon has gotten into six games, giving him nine at-bats. The only positives that have come from those at-bats is two walks and a key RBI against San Diego on Thursday afternoon. McMahon has had no hits and has struck out five times.

If Bud Black decides to put him in another pinch-hit situation, all eyes should be on that at-bat. Against Atlanta, can he get a hit and read the situation and come through accordingly?

Atlanta Braves:

Preston Tucker. Being that I live in the Atlanta area, I have watched the Braves games and he has popped up in my head every time. Tucker is now getting the playing time he deserves and he’s showing what the Braves are paying for. In his 21 at-bats, he has nine hits, two doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI. This gives him an incredible average (as of now) of .429 and a slugging percentage of more than .800. If he’s able to sustain what he’s doing, he’ll have a good year contributing for the Bravos.

3 Things to Watch

Colorado Rockies: 

  1. Will German Marquez be able to stay in more than 5 innings?
  2. Can the Colorado Rockies hold off the Braves defensively?
  3. Will the Rockies bounce back if they fall behind early?
  4. *Bonus* Can the Rockies get their fans some tacos?

Atlanta Braves:

  1. Will Brandon McCarthy be able to stop the Colorado Rockies offense?
  2. Is Kurt Suzuki going to be able to play after coming off a hand injury?
  3. Will Preston Tucker keep up his hot start?
  4. *Bonus* Will the Braves win so I can get half off some pizza?

Next: Colorado Rockies Opening Day Forecast

The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports South (Braves), ATT SportsNet-RM, MLB.TV, and MLB Network (out of market only). Happy Opening Day in Denver!

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