Rockies vs. Marlins: Jorge De La Rosa, Jose Fernandez set for Opening Day duel

Dustin Bradford

The Colorado Rockies 2014 season is finally here, with Jorge De La Rosa and Jose Fernandez the Opening Day duel in Miami.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Rockies baseball will be gracing your TVs and airwaves in a few short hours. After an interminable winter filled with trade rumors, strategizing, stat crunching, platoonerating, practice baseball, and general tomfoolery, the real thing is finally here.

Rather, real baseball is here if you consider the Marlins a real team. Ooooh, burn, zing! Miami cruised to a 100 loss season in 2013 after dumping almost all of their big contracts the previous winter. They fielded a team replete with kids and castoffs, and no one performed particularly well. Other than a couple of prospects who aren't there yet, the Marlins only have two interesting players in Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez.

But those two guys are very interesting indeed, and can win games all by themselves. Fernandez deservedly won Rookie of the Year last year and is already one of the top arms in the majors. Stanton crushes monster home runs that land in different counties. Both players will be featured today, squaring off against Jorge De La Rosa and the Colorado Rockies.

Colorado Rockies

1. CF Charlie Blackmon

2. RF Michael Cuddyer

3. LF Carlos Gonzalez

4. SS Troy Tulowitzki

5. 1B Justin Morneau

6. C Wilin Rosario

7. 3B Nolan Arenado

8. 2B DJ LeMahieu

9. LHP Jorge De La Rosa

Miami Marlins

1. LF Christian Yelich

2. 2B Jeff Baker

3. RF Giancarlo Stanton

4. 1B Garrett Jones

5. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

6. 3B Casey McGehee

7. CF Marcell Ozuna

8. SS Adeiny Hechavarria

9. RHP Jose Fernandez

Look at that, former Rockie Great Jeff Baker is manning second base for the Marlins. Yelich is an interesting prospect, and Jones, Saltalamacchia, and McGehee have had successful seasons in years past, but this is not the best Opening Day lineup I've ever seen. Of course, now that I say that they'll probably hang a 7-spot on the Rocks.

The Rockies, meanwhile, have all their thumpers healthy and ready to go. That's as good a 2-through-7 as anyone in the game, by my reckoning. Charlie Blackmon got the nod for the center field job, since Fernandez is a righty. That indicates that the Rockies are serious about using platoon advantages this year, which is an encouraging sign. The Bash Bros, Gonzalez and Tulowitzki, have the three and four spots nailed down, and that's always a beautiful sight.

But while the lineup is healthy, the pitching most definitely is not. The Rockies top starter, Jhoulys Chacin, suffered a scary bout of shoulder inflammation early in the spring. It didn't appear to be too serious, and he's back to building up strength, but he won't be back until May. Number three starter Tyler Chatwood tweaked a leg a few days ago running the bases, and he could be DL-bound as well. The Rockies' depth at pitcher is already being tested; hopefully they survive until the wounded return.

So Jorge De La Rosa gets the Opening Day nod for 2014, in recognition of his many years of solid work in a Rockies uniform. JDLR posted a rock-solid 3.49 ERA last year and helped anchor the rotation. He'll look to continue his success into 2014.

So now we are here. The endless preamble is winding to a close. Baseball is back.

Go Rockies!

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