I was running out of time this morning to fill out the metaphor I was alluding to in the Rockpile's subtitle, but the Rockies don't want to be on the wrong end of the pass when the early fall snowstorms start to hit. That's why the next four games are far more crucial than the six that will come after, as the Rockies have an excellent opportunity to clear one metaphorical pass (the Padres) before heading into their last NL West road trip of the season.
Today we need Jhoulys Chacin to get the Rockies up this last gradual phase of the ascent before they have to tackle the really steep stuff starting tomorrow. For this we need to see a trailblazer, a guy that eats up distance and can marshal the team forward. It's a rare leadership opportunity for a 22 year old rookie, but he showed he has the stuff for it the last time he faced Arizona, a 1-0 win on August 22.
As promising as that and his overall 2.21 ERA against the Snakes sounds for our chances, there's an issue of oppositional familiarity that could affect Chacin's next two starts, as his next two scheduled opponents, Arizona and Los Angeles, are the two teams that he's already pitched the most to this season. When professional hitters see a lot of a given pitcher, they tend to get better at hitting said pitcher. The good news would be that the Rockies are as familiar with Kennedy as the Diamondbacks are with Chacin this year, so for today, there's no advantage in this.
Which brings us to where there are advantages: the Rockies are a better team than the Diamondbacks offensively, they are at home, they tend to do better in day games. They should win.
Sunday, Sep 12, 2010, 1:10 PM MDT
Ian Kennedy vs Jhoulys Chacin
Mostly sunny. Winds blowing out to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 80.