The Colorado Rockies are finally back at Coors Field to take on their rival, the two-time reigning NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers in one of the biggest series of the season.
The Rockies will face the Dodgers to open Coors Field in 2019 and there are few important notes for the series.
Nationally televised games
2 of the 3 games this weekend (today’s game and Sunday’s game) will be nationally televised. Today’s game will be on MLB Network (outside of the Rockies and Dodgers television areas) but Sunday’s game will exclusively be on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The Sunday Night Baseball crew, for the second straight season, is Matt Vasgersian, Alex Rodriguez, and Jessica Mendoza.
As our own Kevin Henry noted in this article all the way back in November, it will be the first time that the Rockies have been on Sunday Night Baseball since August 14, 2011 when they faced the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. The last time Sunday Night Baseball broadcast a game from Coors Field was in July 2001 when, like Sunday, they faced the Dodgers. The Rockies lost 9-8 after Rockies starter Pedro Astacio was shellacked for 8 runs in 3 2/3 innings.
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Starting pitching matchups
Today, the probable starters will be Kenta Maeda for the Dodgers and Tyler Anderson for the Rockies. Last year, Anderson pitched to a 7-9 record in 32 starts with a 4.55 ERA (103 ERA+) with a 1.273 WHIP and he averaged 8.4 strikeouts and 3 walks per nine innings.
Maeda pitched to an 8-10 record last season but he had a 3.81 ERA in 39 games (20 starts). His WHIP was 1.261 and 11 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per nine innings.
Saturday’s matchup looks to be the matchup on paper as it will be between Walker Buehler and Jon Gray. In his first full season at the major league level last year, Buehler pitched to an 8-5 record with a 2.62 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts). His WHIP was an excellent 0.961 and he allowed only 2.4 walks compared to 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
As you probably know by now, Jon Gray had a forgettable 2018 season as he pitched to a 12-9 record with a 5.12 ERA in 31 starts.
On Sunday, the Sunday Night Baseball matchup will be between Julio Urias and Chad Bettis. He made his first MLB start for the Dodgers since 2017 on April 1 against the Giants and he went 5 innings, allowing 3 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 7.
Chad Bettis pitched to a 5.01 ERA in 27 games (20 starts) with a WHIP of 1.396 and 3.5 walks and 6 strikeouts per nine innings.
There’s really no other way to put it for the Rockies: the Rockies offense has not been good. Their offensive slash numbers are all second worst in the National League thus far as they are only hitting .197/.245/.283.
On the other hand, the Dodgers offense has started off very well. Their offensive slash line is .289/.388/.557 which is 2nd, 2nd, and 1st in the NL. The Dodgers have 18 home runs thus far in 2019 and the Rockies only have 17 runs, in general.
Cody Bellinger is leading the way in the home run department for the Dodgers as he has 5 home runs with 13 RBIs and a slash line of .438/.455/.906. Enrique Hernandez is hitting .435/.500/.870 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI so obviously both he and Bellinger are hot and are two bats that the Rockies pitching staff will have to watch out for.
It will be one of the most important series of the season, for sure.