DENVER -- Jhoulys Chacin has had quietly one of the best starting pitching seasons in MLB in 2013. If you're a believer in fWAR, Chacin's 3.1 mark places him 5th in the NL and 11th overall among starting pitchers. If you prefer rWAR, his 4.0 mark also ranks 5th in the NL (behind rotation mate Jorge De La Rosa, who has 4.5 rWAR) and 10th in MLB.
That's because the 25 year-old right-hander has managed a 3.53 ERA and 3.09 FIP in a good hitting environment while allowing HRs on a historically good 2.8% of his flyballs. That's lucky and will probably regress, but the fact remains that Chacin is a front of rotation type pitcher that nobody outside of Colorado talks about.
The struggling Rockies offense will need another great performance from Chacin, who was hit in the thigh by a line drive in his last start, today. The team had a golden opportunity with a 10 game homestand against the bottom-dwellers of the NL right out of the All-Star break, but dreadful hitting has meant that Colorado needs a win in today's game to salvage a 5-5 record on the homestand.
Opposing Chacin today will be Donovan Hand, a 27 year-old rookie right-hander who has made 16 appearances for the Brewers this season, only four of them starts. I pride myself on my knowledge of baseball, but Hand is a player I literally just heard of this morning. I can't make this up: he was literally struck in the hand in his previous start.
Looking at his stats, Hand's actually achieved decent results in his 37 innings pitched, sustaining a 3.41 ERA and 1.30 WHIP despite a meager 4.9 K/9 rate, perhaps due to a 54% GB rate that would rank him in the upper echelon of the league if he had more innings. Far more dangerous is the potential for bad puns that he brings to the table. I'll be providing Jenny and company a good list of Hand puns today.
Looks like a Sunday squad today. I'll have more on Carlos Gonzalez's injury in a little bit.
Time: 2:10 MT