Years ago, when my dad and I would talk about the upcoming Rockies season, we'd talk about the in-division play. Makes sense, considering that we play division opponents, what, 150 games a season? But the team he'd always rest on was the Diamondbacks. "If we can beat the Diamondbacks, we have a shot at the postseason." For years, the Diamondbacks just had the Rockies number, regardless of whether they were competing for the postseason or losing 100 games.
Little did we know how prophetic that claim would be.
The Diamondbacks surprised a lot of people last season by taking the NL West with a 94-68 record. The surprise really came when you consider the fact that they finished dead last in the division in both 2009 and 2010.
When Kirk Gibson took the helm, there were all of the standard issue "New Manager" concerns. But Gibson really inspired the Dbacks, and now they're a force to be reckoned with in the NL West.
Thus far in 2012, the bats have struggled, with the exception of Chris Young and... Willie Bloomquist. While only 2 non-Young/Bloomquist players are posting an OPS over .700 (Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt), Young has already belted 32 homers and is up above a 1.300 OPS and Bloomquist is inexplicably batting .389/.421/.556 from SS.
But the bats aren't really necessary when only one of your starters has pitched fewer than 6 innings in a start this season.
#31 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Dec 19, 1984
|2012 - Ian Kennedy||2-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||12.2||13||4||4||1||3||12||2.84||1.26|
While we're dodging Kennedy this series, it's hard not to write about such an impressive pitcher.
The guy who looked to be a failed prospect with the Yankees came to Arizona in the 3-way trade between Arizona, Detroit, and New York that sent Daniel Schlereth and Max Scherzer to Detroit and found Edwin Jackson in the desert has really come into his own with the Dbacks. If you believe in Baseball Reference's WAR (rWAR as some call it, bWAR according to others), Kennedy was not only the 21-game winning Ace of the Diamondbacks but also their most valuable player, worth 5.5 wins beyond what a AAA guy would provide.
Along with WINS and 222 innings pitched, Kennedy is also a decent strikeout pitcher with excellent command of his arsenal (under 3 walks per 9 innings allowed). We saw Kennedy do it again last night against the Padres, going 6 innings with 9 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 1 run allowed. For being a relatively flyball heavy pitcher, Kennedy's survived well in Chase Field's hitter friendly confines. As stated above, the Rockies will miss Kennedy, but instead will face Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter, and new acquisition Trevor Cahill.
In his career, Hudson has faced the Rockies 4 times with a 2.73 ERA and .588 OPS against, while Collmenter's started 4 games (and made 1 relief appearance) against Colorado with a 2.81 ERA and .701 OPS against.
Terrible prediction: Rockies sneak one away from Cahill, but given what we've seen so far, divisional "that guy just kills us" opponents hold true to form, and Colorado buys into the hype.