Game 81 Preview: Zito Vs. Chacin

Garrett Ellwood

The Rockies have a great opportunity in schedule if they can swing some of these close losses into close wins with better timely hitting and a healthier, deeper bullpen, to put together a stretch that keeps them in contention until Troy Tulowitzki returns.

It's been a tradition among some baseball teams I've seen or been a part of to have the coach take all of the bats out of the dug-out during a slump and throw them in the dirt thereby, "waking up the bats." Maybe the Rockies need to do something like this. If only Ryan Spilborghs was a coach.

Hopefully, the return of Rafael Betancourt will be a shot in the arm for a bullpen that hasn't been as good lately as it was early on. It certainly feels like running in quicksand as of late; dropping game after game when the top three rotation pitchers have been dominant. Jhoulys Chacin hopes to keep that stretch of great starting pitching going for the Rockies tonight.

I'm going to read that last sentence again because it reminds me just how far we have come from the season-that-shall-not-be-named.

Michael Cuddyer will surely be hoping he is not the only offense for the Rockies again tonight as he looks to extend his franchise record hitting streak,."I'd trade it for a win, though," he told reporters. The Rockies have dropped 11 of their last 15 games but remain only a half game out of second place in the NL West and 4 games back of the lead with 16 consecutive games coming up inside the division starting with the Giants tonight.

Barry Zito takes the hill for the Gnats. He has historically been a Rockies killer but his most recent numbers are trending the other way. Firstly, he has been much worse on the road this season, posting an 11.28 road ERA as opposed to his 1.98 home mark. He has a 6.94 ERA against the Rockies in his last two starts after having a minuscule 2.51 ERA in his first 19 starts against the boys in purple.

Jhoulys Chacin, meanwhile, has struggled in his career against the Giants, especially Pablo Sandoval who is 7 for his last 14 against Chacin with two home runs. Still, it has been a while since Chacin has been fully healthy and in a good pitching rhythm, hopefully tonight can be the night he concurs this particular demon.

The Rockies have a great opportunity in the schedule if they can swing some of these close losses into close wins with better timely hitting and a healthier, deeper bullpen, to put together a stretch that keeps them in contention until Troy Tulowitzki returns. If you can consistently beat your own division, especially in this year's NL West, you can remain a threat deep into the season. The Rockies can either hold it together and scratch out some much needed wins and head into the all-star break with some momentum and the confidence that comes with the return of a superstar.... Or they can fold and fall out of the conversation before they ever really got into it.

Wake up the bats.

It starts tonight.

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