Series Preview: Colorado Rockies (14-7) at Chicago Cubs (10-11)

After hosting the Cubs last week, the Rockies dropped a series at home vs the Giants and lost 2 of 3 against the Marlins, where they were nearly no-hit on Friday by Anibal Sanchez. They no longer have the best record in baseball (that belongs to the Phillies) but they’re one game off the pace.

Team Overview

Team stats and NL ranks

wOBA: .328 (6th)
UZR: 6.6 (3rd)
DRS: 13 (1st)
SP FIP: 4.43 (11th)
SP xFIP: 4.13 (11th)
RP FIP: 3.23 (5th)
RP xFIP: 3.29 (4th)

Batters:

Player wOBA ZiPS wOBA
CF Dexter Fowler .340 .346
2B Jonathan Herrera .426 .305
LF Carlos Gonzalez .279 .373
SS Troy Tulowitzki .478 .394
1B Todd Helton .370 .343
RF Seth Smith .400 .369
3B Ty Wigginton .269 .337
C Chris Iannetta .384 .358

The Rockies nominal starters on opening day, 2b Jose Lopez and 3b Ian Stewart have more or less lost their jobs due to sucking. The rest of the lineup more than made up for their slack. One thing I was reminded of when looking up these numbers was just how good Todd Helton was early in his career. He’s a shell of the player he once was, but from 2000-2005 he posted 41.6 WAR, with a wOBA over .400 every season. His main skill these days are getting on base and playing defense, but some of that power is still there.

Pitchers:

Player FIP ZiPS FIP
RHP Ubaldo Jiminez 6.68 3.24
LHP Jorge de la Rosa 3.17 3.77
RHP Jhoulys Chacin 3.79 3.93
RHP Jason Hammel 4.52 3.66
RHP Esmil Rogers 5.61 4.30
RHP Huston Street 2.82 3.05
RHP Rafael Betancourt 4.33 3.30

The Cubs just missed Jiminez in the last series, who was coming back from a thumb injury, and will miss him again in this one. The Rockies are also missing worm-killing SP Aaron Cook, who broke a finger in spring training. He’s currently on the 60-day DL and the Cubs won’t see him this season unless they are somehow playing in October.

Probable Pitchers

(ERA, FIP, xFIP, and ZiPS FIP in parens)

Monday: Esmil Rogers, RHP (6.75, 5.61, 4.92, 4.30) vs Matt Garza, RHP (4.74, 1.26, 1.92, 3.91), 7:05 PM CT

Rogers pitched well in his first start against the Pirates, getting plenty of ground balls and striking out seven. In his two following starts, he wasn’t fooling anyone. He only struck out two while walking 4 against the Mets but wasn’t hurt too badly, and he was hammered by the Giants in his last start to the tune of 3 HRs in three innings. He tries to keep the ball on the ground, but he’ll put plenty of players on the bases.

Garza spun a great game against the Padres his last time out, but got no support from the offense. Whatever he’s doing with his pitch mix, it’s working though I don’t think he’ll sustain a 12+ K/9 rate (laughing). Oddly enough he has yet to give up a HR this year. That’s going to end soon too, especially if the wind keeps blowing out this week.

Tuesday: Joge De La Rosa, LHP (3.00, 3.17, 3.99, 3.77) vs James Russell, LHP (8.00, 6.60, 4.34, 5.57), 7:05 PM CT

De La Rosa is a lot like Wandy Rodriguez, in that I saw him stink up the joint early in his career (with the Brewers) and anything he’s done since then can’t shake my initial impression. Since coming to the Rockies he’s posted good but not particularly great numbers. He’s posted surprisingly good strikeout numbers relative to his early career, when he was primarily a reliever, but has trouble with walks.

I’d rather just see the Cubs call up Jay Jackson to start this game, since he’s slated to pitch on Tuesday for the Iowa Cubs anyway, and have Russell relieve him. Why not? It’s going to be a bullpen day anyway.

Wednesday: Jhoulys Chacin, RHP (2.67, 3.79, 3.52, 3.93) vs Casey Coleman, RHP (7.43, 5.90, 5.61, 4.92), 1:20 PM CT

Chacin dominated the Cubs in their last meeting, throwing a complete game shutout at Coors (no easy feat). Aside from that Cubs game, he’s had a tough time getting many strikeouts. It’s not as big of a deal because he’s more of a ground ball pitcher anyway. ZiPS does not like his control, projecting him to a 4.47 BB/9 rate, so it will be extra frustrating every time Byrd or Barney swings at his first pitch.

Coleman was hit hard by the Dodgers in his last start, though somehow no balls left the yard. He’s been a little unlucky with balls in play, but so far he’s looked eminently hittable. So much for the Confidence Aura of Mike Quade helping him out.

Prediction

The first game should be a good one, but the Rockies have a huge advantage in the last two games. Rockies win 2 out of 3. and break the Cubs streak of hitting all of the X-X .500 records.


berselius

About berselius

How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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