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Rock Mining Week 8: Beating Lefties

Up until this week, left-handed pitchers were the kryptonite to the Blake Street Bullies' lineup. This week's Rock Mining looks into how the Rockies have improved recently against lefties.

No longer a harbinger of loss, can the Rockies beat him twice in two tries?
No longer a harbinger of loss, can the Rockies beat him twice in two tries?

While the Rockies started off the season strong, their weakness had been left-handed pitching. Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks, Travis Wood of the Cubs, and the San Francisco tandem of Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito had all taken turns dominating the Rockies up until last weekend. A huge reason for this was the Rockies' lack of right-handed at-bats to use the natural advantage they have against left handers.

Of the Rockies regulars, two of the top four batters this year against left handers are lefties Carlos Gonzalez (1.028 OPS) and Todd Helton (.762 OPS), while switch-hitting Dexter Fowler (.842 OPS) is another. The lone right hander in the group is Michael Cuddyer (.952 OPS). These are the only regulars with an OPS against left handers above .750, compared to almost an entire lineup (seven regulars) hitting above .750 against right handers.

The injury to Cuddyer obviously took one key bat out of the lineup, but other bats that failed were taken off the team. Chris Nelson (.556 OPS) didn't help against lefties and was replaced by Nolan Arenado (.655 OPS). More recently, ability against lefties probably sealed the fate of Josh Rutledge (.520 OPS). D. J. LeMahieu (.685 OPS) turned starts against the aforementioned San Francisco duo into a somewhat respectable .661 OPS performance. Josh then countered with an 0-3 Monday night against Corbin, which ended up being his last start before being sent to AAA. Hitting left handers is something he needs to work on while in Colorado Springs and, if corrected, will make him a dominant player again.

As for the team, it appears to be set up much better to face left handed pitching. Nolan and D. J. helped the team to a 2-1 record over lefties in the last ten days and the return of Cuddyer will only improve the lineup. This is good news for a team that is 27-21 but is only .500 when facing a southpaw. Onto the Good, Bad, and the Ugly for this week.

The Good-Tyler Chatwood

All Tyler has done in the last week is go 2-0 in 11 and 2/3 innings pitched with a 0.77 ERA. Well, that is not exactly true, he has also helped exorcise the demon that was Giant dominance over the Rockies as both wins came against the team from the bay. Helping his team to a combined score of 15 to 2 in those two games was impressive, as he helped with his arm and his bat. There were many good performance for the week, but Tyler coming up from the Springs and providing this boost was the top of the group

The Bad-Thursday off day

This team has been playing so well that Thursday was a melancholy day with no game to look forward to. Add in the fact that Wednesday was an afternoon game and that Friday was a late game on the West Coast, and Rox fans had approximately 51 hours without baseball. Way too long when the team had won five of their last six.

The Ugly-Monday's loss to Arizona

In the only blemish to the record this past week, the Rockies were dominated by Patrick Corbin who didn't even need 100 pitches to complete the game. At least the Rockies were able to score a run late in the game to keep from being shut out.