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Rockies vs. Diamondbacks series preview: Probable pitchers, game times, and analysis

What you need to know about the Rockies and Diamondbacks’ weekend series.

The Colorado Rockies (47-34, 3rd in the NL West) will conclude their nine game road trip this weekend with a visit to Chase Field and the Arizona Diamondbacks (50-28, 2nd in the NL West). To say the Rockies bats have struggled on this trip would be a monumental understatement. They were outscored 40-15 by the Dodgers and Giants, good for a run differential of -25. They have scored a run in only eight of the 54 innings they have played. They are 11-for-45 with runners in scoring position—a .244 average. All of that is bad, but the Rockies at least have a chance to salvage one road series win this weekend.

Unfortunately for the Rockies, the D-backs, at 30-12, have the second best home record in all of baseball. They are also 16-4 in their last 20 overall, so it won’t be an easy feat. On the bright side, the D-backs are coming off of a home series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Rockies have a 5-4 record against the D-backs this season, despite being outscored in their collective games 47-39. The run differential there is largely due to the recent series the two teams played at Coors Field in which the D-backs scored 29 of those 47 runs.

Offensive Notes

Pretty much everyone in the starting lineup is swinging the bat well for Arizona. One guy who has been on fire lately is former Rockies player Daniel Descalso, who has hit in five of his last six games as the D-backs’ primary left fielder while Yasmany Tomás has been on the DL. Aside from Descalso, Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, and Jake Lamb are all hitting over .300 for the month with 14 home runs combined. In the month of June, the D-backs are averaging 6.4 runs per game in their thirteen home games. Needless to say, it’s been a really good stretch for the offense.

Starting Pitching Notes

The Rockies are slated to face Robbie Ray on Friday, Zack Greinke on Saturday, and Taijuan Walker on Sunday. All three have faced the Rockies at least once this year and the Rockies are 4-2 in the games they’ve started. All three guys have been very good lately, and honestly they are the three guys you hope you don’t catch in a series with the D-backs. The Rockies, however, have had some success against all three and their most recent victory, just over a week ago (that can’t be right can it?) came against Grienke at Coors Field. Still, this isn’t an ideal draw for the Rockies.

Bullpen Notes

Remember on April 29 when the Rockies beat the D-backs in Arizona due to a three-run 9th inning melt-down by Fernando Rodney culminating in a wild pitch that scored Carlos González and eventually won the Rockies the game 7-6? Well after that game ended, Rodney boasted a 12.60 ERA and a 2.30 WHIP. Since that game, Rodney has thrown 18 23 scoreless innings, with a 0.47 WHIP while striking out 20. Wow. Not only do the D-Backs have the hottest closer in baseball, but they boast a 2.35 bullpen ERA in June, the lowest in baseball this month.

Defensive Notes

Finally a weakness! The D-backs have been a bad defensive team this season. they have the second most fielding errors in the National League and are in the bottom ten league-wide in fielding percentage. The infield is to blame as the combination of Chris Owings, Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury have combined for 14 fielding errors and 7 throwing errors. All three rank in the bottom half in the NL in fielding percentage at their respective positions; and Owings ranks dead last in the category among all NL players. Yikes.

Rockies Notes

Despite the awful road trip thus far, the Rockies have some great news on the horizon in the return of Jon Gray. He is scheduled to take the mound on Friday. Tyler Chatwood and Germán Márquez will throw the final two games for the Rockies. DJ LeMahieu is expected to play in the series after suffering a cramp in his groin on Tuesday.

You probably don’t need to be reminded but the Rockies enter the series on an eight game losing streak.

Takeaways

It’s not a great time to catch the Diamondbacks at Chase Field but that’s the schedule for you. The Rockies have to hope for a big return from Gray on Friday to give them some momentum going into the weekend. The offense will have to start stringing hits together as they face a tough pitching staff and an even tougher bullpen. They key for the Rockies will be piling on runs early in the ball games and holding the potent D-backs offense in check. If all else fails, just hit the ball hard on the ground and hope for a bobble from one of the infielders.

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Probable Pitchers and Schedule

Friday, June 30 @ 7:40 pm MT (ROOT Sports, 850 KOA/94.1)

Jon Gray (0-0, 4.38 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (8-3, 2.87 ERA)

Saturday, July 1 @ 8:10 pm MT (ROOT Sports, 850 KOA/94.1)

Tyler Chatwood (6-8, 4.32 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (9-4, 3.08 ERA)

Sunday, July 2 @ 2:10 pm MT (ROOT Sports, 850 KOA/94.1)

German Marquez (5-4, 4.38 ERA) vs. Taijuan Walker (6-3, 3.50 ERA)