How one key Colorado Rockies opponent will attack the 2020 season

There may still be plenty of questions about the 2020 Major League Baseball season, but we have some insight into how a key opponent for the Colorado Rockies will play out at least the first part of the schedule.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will start the season with a five-man rotation and none of those starters will go more than four innings during their first outing, according to an interview with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on MLB Network Radio and tweeted by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Those five pitchers are projected to be Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, David Price, Julio Urias, and Alex Wood.

With the Dodgers sticking with a five-man rotation early, it brings back into question which five Colorado Rockies will form the team’s starters should Colorado manager Bud Black employ the same strategy. Rockies fans can certainly pencil German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Jon Gray into that rotation. Antonio Senzatela is likely a lock for the rotation as well, with the fifth starter spot up for grabs between Jeff Hoffman, Chi Chi Gonzalez, and Peter Lambert (depending on health). Ubaldo Jimenez could also play a role, depending on how he looks in his return after a rough ending to his spring.

Black could certainly tweak the rotation (particularly the back end) after the season’s first week, depending on performance. With a short season, the leash could be short for pitchers on the rotation bubble who don’t perform. Additionally, should Rockies pitchers be limited to shorter outings to start the campaign, those players who don’t figure into the original rotation will become key contributors as long relievers.

As a reminder, Colorado and the other MLB teams will have a 30-man roster to begin the season (either July 23 or 24). After two weeks, that roster will be reduced to 28. Two weeks later, the number is sliced to 26 for the remainder of the campaign.

In all, each team will have a list of 60 players eligible to play at the start of the season, including a 40-man roster and 20-man “taxi squad.”

Additionally on the Dodgers front, Roberts told MLB Network Radio that he doesn’t plan to employ a full-time designated hitter in 2020, meaning he plans to move different players into the role depending on which players might need a day off in the field.

This will likely be the same scenario for the Rockies as well. While Daniel Murphy seems to be a fit for the DH role with his hitting capabilities and less-than-stellar defense, look for Black to use a mix of players as DH this season. With Colorado’s ability to play numerous players at different positions (including Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and Brendan Rodgers), the DH role is likely to be filled by many players and not just one during the course of the season.

According to the new ZiPS projections, the Dodgers are once again the heavy favorite to win the NL West, projected to finish at 38-22. Those same projections have the Rockies logging a 26-34 mark thanks in part to the fifth-toughest schedule in MLB.

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Players will report for the restart of spring training on July 1. The Rockies are expected to host their renewal of spring training at Coors Field.