The Arizona Diamondbacks make their way to Coors Field for the first time. Last week, the Rockies traveled to Phoenix to open the season series, and the Diamondbacks took two of three games.
Prior to the season, most thought that the Rockies and the Diamondbacks would battle it out for fourth place in the National League West. The Rockies enter the season at 11-13 and in fourth place—one game ahead of the last place, 10-14, Diamondbacks. Here’s what and who to watch from the opposing Diamondbacks over the next three days.
Hitters to watch
When the Rockies were playing at Arizona last week, Drew Goodman and Jeff Huson were in the habit of saying that Paul Goldschmidt was a "Rockie killer." True! But that’s a little like saying the sun is an "ice melter," as if it also didn’t melt snow. Goldschmidt’s .988 career OPS against the Rockies is actually worse than his career OPS against the Brewers (1.177), the Cubs (1.167), and the Marlins (1.061) among National League teams. The Diamondbacks don’t play those teams quite as often as they play other NL West teams, but Goldschmidt also has a career .977 career OPS against the Dodgers; it is .925 against the Giants and .898 against the Padres. I doubt those figures give any other NL West team solace. Currently, Goldschmidt’s park-adjusted batting has him 93 percent better than league average. Yup—he’s a hitter to watch.
David Peralta and Mark Trumbo round out the batters likely to give the Rockies fits this week. Trumbo’s prodigious power, in particular, is something to be wary of at Coors Field. The 27 year old AJ Pollock is another player to keep an eye on. He’s off to a slow start this season in the power department—Pollock has hit just one home run and is slugging .352—but he’s capable of much more. In an injury-shortened 2014, he hit .302/.353/.498 in 287 plate appearances. Even in limited playing time that was good enough to place him second on the team in fWAR behind Goldschmidt.
2015 hitting stats
Pitchers to watch
The Rockies will face Josh Collmenter, Robbie Ray, and Rubby De La Rosa Collmenter easily handled the Rockies when the team was in Arizona last week. He gave up just one run on five hits over eight innings. The Rockies will look to solve the soft-tossing pitcher in game one of the series. Collmenter relies on a cutter that has never averaged over 89 mph in any month of his career and a changeup and a curveball that sit somewhere between 70 and 79 mph. Hopefully, the thin air will sap some of the movement of his pitches. Collmenter has started four games at Coors Field in his career, and he has a 5.84 ERA 24 and two-thirds innings.
The other two starters are young power pitchers. The Rockies will get their first ever look at 23-year-old right-hander Robbie Ray in game two. Ray is more of a power pitcher, as his four-seam fastball sits at around 94 mph. He also throws a slider and a changeup. Rubby De La Rosa has a similar profile: he throws a four-seam fastball that sits around 95 mph, and he complements that pitch with a changeup and a slider.
The Diamondbacks bullpen is not very strong. The committee’s ERA sits around 4.37 at the moment in just over 78 and one-third innings pitched. The Rockies are likely to see submarining right-hander Brad Ziegler as well as lefty Oliver Perez. If the Diamondbacks have the lead heading into the ninth inning, the Rockies will get a look at closer Addison Reed. Considering that he’s only thrown six innings so far this season, they might get a look at him regardless of the score.
2015 pitching stats
|Rubby de la Rosa||5||5||30||1.8||0.293||17.10%||5.4||4.46||0||19||24.40%||6.30%|
Game 1 (Monday, 6:40 MT): Tyler Matzek vs. Collmenter
Game 2 (Tuesday, 6:40 MT): Eddie Butler vs. Ray
Game 3 (Wednesday, 1:10 MT): TBD vs. Rubby De La Rosa