Series Preview

Colorado Rockies: Series Preview

The Reds will travel to Denver for a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies beginning on Thursday evening. The Rockies have the worst record in Major League Baseball at 46-74. This is a crucial series for the Reds, who will enter play on Thursday 5.5 games back in the NL Central, and 3.5 games back from the second wild card spot. After this series, the Reds play three at the Cardinals (63-56), followed by four games at GABP against the Braves (61-59).

The Rockies got off to a good start to 2014. On May 7th, the Rockies had a record of 22-14, and were tied for the lead in the NL West (also were tied for the 4th best record in baseball). Since then, the Rockies are 24-60 (.285). Just how bad is a .285 win percentage? Well, only the 2003 Detroit Tigers (43-119, 265) have a win percentage of .285 or worse in the last 50 years over an entire season.

The injury bug has bit the Rockies pretty hard this season. Currently, the Rockies three best offensive players are on the DL: Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Michael Cuddyer. The Rockies just got terrible news that Tulowitzki will have season ending surgery. Despite only playing in 91 games this season, Tulowitzki is still tied for the third highest WAR (5.1) in the MLB. His 173 wRC+ is also the highest in the MLB of any player with 300+ PA.

Offense

The Rockies offense is pretty good, but of course it gets inflated quite a bit because of Coors Field. Their offensive numbers also feature 91 games of Troy Tulowitzki posting a 173 wRC+. The Rockies have an MLB best .879 team OPS at Coors Field (78 points higher than any other team), but have a .660 OPS on the road (27th in the MLB).

offense
Projected Lineup

  1. Charlie Blackmon (RF) .285/.331/.431, 14 HR, 57 RBI, 21 SB, 97 wRC+, 1.4 WAR
  2. Drew Stubbs (CF) .289/.332/.482, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 14 SB, 111 wRC+, 1.7 WAR
  3. Justin Morneau (1B) .324/.364/.508, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 128 wRC+, 1.9 WAR
  4. Nolan Arenado (3B) .286/.325/.481, 11 HR, 46 RBI, 108 wRC+, 2.3 WAR
  5. Corey Dickerson (LF) .323/.379/.576, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 8 SB, 150 wRC+, 2.8 WAR
  6. Wilin Rosario (C) .248/.287/.404, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 73 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  7. Josh Rutledge (SS) .258/.310/.403, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 85 wRC+, -0.7 WAR
  8. D.J. LeMahieu (2B) .264/.318/.339, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 8 SB, 67 wRC+, 0.7 WAR

Bench

bench

Pitching

Starting Pitching Matchups

The pitching matchups in this series give the Reds a strong advantage, especially on Friday and Sunday with Cueto and Latos. In those two games the Reds will be going against Morales, a pitcher who has struggled all season, and Flande, a pitcher making his 9th career big league start.

Thursday nights matchup does however beneift the Rockies, despite Simon having a significant advantage in ERA and WHIP. If you look closely at the peripheral numbers (FIP, K/9, HR/9), de la Rosa has an advantage over Simon (although Simon does do a much better job at not hurting himself in BB/9). Those peripheral numbers are even more important in a such a hitter friendly ballpark like Coors Field. Simon also has a 4.78 ERA/5.06 FIP since the all star break, while de la Rosa has a 3.66 ERA/3.34 FIP since the break.

Saturday’s matchup will be the big unknown. C. Trent Rosecrans reported that Homer Bailey will be going on the DL. The Reds have still not made the move official, and there is no word on who will start in Bailey’s place. Bailey had been absolutely terrific of late. In his last 13 starts, he had posted a 2.65 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 75 K, 25 BB. Jordan Lyles has had a pretty solid season for the Rockies, with numbers very similar Bailey’s.

 simon de la rosa

Bullpen

Both the Reds and the Rockies have struggled with poor bullpen production this season. The difference in the two teams bullpens is that the Reds have Chapman and Broxton in the back end. The Rockies don’t have a single great reliever. It would certainly be in the Reds benefit to tap into the bullpen early and often in this series.

bullpen

rockies pen

Defense

The Reds have one of the best defenses in baseball, if not the absolute best. The Rockies are about average. This should give the Reds an advantage in this series. It will also be exciting to see Billy Hamilton (who has 8 Defensive Runs Saved this season) get to play in a big outfield.

The Rockies have a very good infield defense, with 3B Nolan Arenado (16 DRS) and 2B D.J. LeMahieu (15 DRS). Their outfield defense is about average: Charlie Blackmond (3 DRS), Drew Stubbs (-1 DRS), and Corey Dickerson (-3 DRS).

defense

Conclusion

This is a big series for the Reds. Time is really starting to run out in the 2014 season. Four games against the worst team in the MLB gives the Reds a big chance to gain some ground. The Brewers will be playing three games against the Dodgers this weekend, and the Pirates will be playing three games at Washington. If the Reds starting pitching can hold their own (which I believe they will do), and the offense can do just enough in a very friendly ballpark, I don’t see any reason why the Reds can’t win at least three of four.

55 thoughts on “Colorado Rockies: Series Preview

    • • “As much as we would have liked to have given everybody the extra day off, it didn’t make any sense at all to ask Homer to go out there and try to throw through some unusual stiffness in his elbow,” Price said. “We’re pretty optimistic that by Saturday, he’s going to be good to go.” Posted on August 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm Marksheldon,mlb.blogs.com

      • The Reds will place Homer Bailey on the 15-day disabled list before his next start, multiple sources have told the Enquirer.
      C. Trent Rosecrans, crosecrans@enquirer.com 5:59 p.m. EDT August 13, 2014

      And people wonder why Reds Management is doesn’t have our confidence.

      I agree about Stubbs.

      • Just like the report of Phillips being day to day with a thumb strain, 1 hour before he was scheduled for sugery. Not to mention letting Votto play on a torn meniscus 3 years ago and a Quad Strain this year. Total BS. Kremcheck is highly dubious, ask around UC hospital.

      • It is too imaginative for the Reds to figure out they could go on and DL Homer today and use the spot to have an extra position player the next two days. Oh. but wait. I guess they don’t have anybody (already on the 40 man) to bring up anyway since Price seems unwilling to give Lutz or Soto a start…..

        • At this point, I certainly don’t see what it would hurt to give Soto a chance to play 1B most days. Of course Reds management still feels they can get in the playoffs. Yes, a lot of baseball to play but honestly I don’t see how the lineups that are out there right now are going to be much more effective than if you have Soto at 1B.

        • I more than agree with you on Soto. This year, when Soto plays everyday at AAA, he hits and that is despite spending 6 weeks to 2 months on the MLB bench before he got started then being brought up and sitting for another several weeks before he went back down.
          His current OPS is in the mid 700’s for about half a season’s worth of plate appearances. The OPS mark is approaching what Frazier did in his last full year at AAA.
          Nobody is ever going to know if he is a MLB player or 4A guy unless they get him MLB AB’s. This sure looks like a spot for the Reds to have been doing that.

  1. Bailey apparently going on the DL now. Who the heck is going to take his place? Is Chien-Ming Wang still a Bat?

    • . I do believe that, as WVRedlegs wrote and Kevin J. Brown suggests,”they move up Contreras from the bullpen and recall Partch again.” that way Carlos goes 4 or 5 innings Partch goes 2 to get to the 7th and then the normal bullpen rotation takes over. The real key is the performance of Leake and Simon because, even with a healthy Homer, if they don’t perform there is no hope.

      • I didn’t see Kevin’s comment before I made mine. He was out in front of that on Contreras. Now, if they instead bring up Holmberg or Axelrod and that doesn’t go well, then Contreras is probably plan B. Partch just seems like the likely choice, if they go with Contreras. Unless Logan Ondrusek is ready to come off the DL. I don’t know what his status is right now.

  2. Even though the Rockies don’t have Tulo, I’m not optimistic about this series. The reds have made scrub pitchers look like cy young all year and our offense has been MIA since the all star break. If we win, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If we lose I won’t be too disappointed. Too many injures to seriously contend this year, so we’ll get em next year

  3. Reds pitchers are batting a combined .211 (8-for-38) since the All-Star break.

    That’s a better average than Bruce (.205), Heisey (.196), Cozart (.190), Hamilton (.188), Ludwick (.179), Santiago (.176), and Hannahan (.000) over the same stretch.

    • I might be one of the bigger Jay Bruce fans around here but have to admit that his whole season at the dish has been a disaster.

      • Who would have thought that Stubbs would ever be having the type of season he is having and Bruce is having a year long battle with the Mendoza line?

        • You really don’t like Jay Bruce do you? You seem to take shots at him whenever you can. He’s having a bad season but he isn’t a bad player… I always kind of liked Stubbs but he’s not as good as Bruce. Even this year I don’t think he’s as good as Bruce. Coors Field has inflated the heck out of his numbers this year. Mr. Stubbs’ home/road splits are enormous:

          At home in 156 plate appearances he’s slashed .354/.381/.632 for an over 1.000 OPS!

          On the road in 153 plate appearances though, we see another story. He’s slashed .221/.283/.329 for a very unimpressive .611 OPS.

  4. The Rockies were flying high back in May. I went to the Saturday night game of the Rockies series in May. The Rockies beat the snot out the Reds and Alfredo Simon that night 11-2. Simon barely could make it 4 innings.
    I heard last night that Tulowitzki’s surgery is on the labrum in the hip joint. They said it was the same kind of surgery that A-Rod had on his hip and that Tulo will have a long road of rehab and might not ever be the same. That’d be a shame.
    Injuries. If the Reds didn’t have the starting pitching and defense they do have, they’d be in the same boat that the Rockies are in now. Last place and the worst record in baseball. What a difference 3 months can make in the grand scheme of 162 games.

  5. All I can say is, LaTroy Hawkins is still bringing it with an average FB velocity of 93 at the age of 41. His low K/9 rate makes me wonder though. That fastball must not be moving too, too much and the slider must not have the bite it once did.

    • I hope my comments about the Rockies bullpen didn’t come across as insulting towards LaTroy Hawkins. The season he has put together at age 41 is incredible. He just isn’t a Chapman or Broxton.

      • No, I didn’t take it that way at all Nick… I was just pointing out that what he’s been doing the last couple years, in his 40s is pretty impressive.

  6. Lineup for tonight:

    CF Hamilton
    RF Bruce
    1B Frazier
    C Mesoraco
    LF Ludwick
    2B Schumaker
    3B Negron
    SS Cozart
    P Simon

    Schu at 2B isn’t what I want to see when Simon is on the mound. He throws an awful lot of grounders.

      • The way he’s hitting in compared to most the Reds, it would make sense to hit him 1st, 2nd, or 6th in this lineup over whomever. Really, it’s rearranging deck chairs. Bruce has been miserable this season. It makes me sad. Negron’s MiLB track-record suggests that he’ll regress but right now he’s swinging an ok bat.

        • If there was a larger sample size against De La Rosa, I’d use it. I find your ignoring of stats when they clash with your preconceived opinions intellectually lazy..

          Every time Skip is placed in the lineup, someone complains about it not matter how much such a placement is justified. In principle, I’d prefer someone else playing 2B with Simon on the mound. But the specific factors mentioned here justify Price’s decision in this game.

        • He’s only ignoring the stat because it’s not relevant. The sample size is too small to mean anything at all.

          You do realize that with only 8 at-bats, the only difference between a stellar .375 average (3 for 8) and a mediocre .250 average (2 for 8) is one measly hit? Do you really think it’s wise to base a lineup decision on how Skip did in that one particular at-bat?

          Look, you like Schumaker, I get it. I have no problem with that. And if it’s between him or Santiago getting the start, I’d probably go with Skip as well. But it sure wouldn’t be because of a history against some pitcher that consists of 8 at-bats.

  7. So you’d just ignore all batter-pitcher matchups under what, 50 ABs? Or more? Or any at all?

    To me, it’s a factor that the batter has had some success against a pitcher. If Skip was 0 for 8, I’d say start Santiago.

    • This has been explained to you before, several times. You are always using stats that either have no predictive value or the sample sizes are too small to mean anything. It’s fine to look at those stats and say hey look what happened here. But you want to use those stats to argue about playing time and who should start. The other day you compared schu and heisey by looking at their numbers with a runner on third and less than two outs. And the sample size was like 8 pa for one of them and 9 for the other. This stat tells you what happened in that situation so far this year, but it has absolutely no predictive value. Basing judgments of players on a stat like that is ridiculous. Anything can happen over 8 ab’s. Anything.

    • I remember in 2012 the reds were facing the nats and Edwin Jackson. Before the game the talking heads were making a big deal out of the fact that joey votto was like 1-14 against jackson in his career. Of course that was the day votto hit 3 homers, a double, and a fly out to the warning track. Two of the homers were off Jackson and I think the double was too. Anyone who has played baseball will tell you that there are certain pitchers you just feel better against and see the ball better against. But you can’t tell if that’s the case for a player based on stats for 8 ab’s.

    • I would certainly ignore a sample size of 8 at-bats. Saying Skip went 3 for 8 tells you has had some measure of success in the past, but holds no predictive value.

      The thing is, if Skip was 0 for 8 against DeLaRosa, it wouldn’t sway my opinion either. I’d still start him over Santiago, because he’s a better player (although not by much).

      • So prior performance holds no predictive value?

        Thanks for the tip. Can’t imagine why the managers refer the those batter-pitcher matchup stats; after all, “anything can happen”. Shame all those trees died for nothing.

        • No, I never said prior performance holds no predictive value. I said a sample size of 8 holds no predictive value. Big difference.

          Now, if said batter had face that pitcher 800 times in his career and held a .375 average against him, then yeah, that sounds good. So go ahead and print those sheets after all, who needs the trees.

  8. Someone claimed that Skip had performed poorly with men on 3B with less than 2 out; I gave stats showing he had not. I generally respond to other posts with facts rather than the “holding your breath until turn blue” arguments like “anything can happen” others like yourself prefer.

    Batters and managers seem to think that previous experience against pitchers is some guide to further performance. Obviously they are not as smart as some posters here but what are you gonna do?

    • Just because some MLB managers might make a decision based on a small sample size, doesn’t mean it’s the right course of action. So-called experts once thought the world was flat, too. It doesn’t mean they were right either.

        • I’d say it’s pretty high if the major league manager is making his decision based on assumptions that have no factual basis.

        • You are adorable, kev. You brought out the old “you must be wrong cause you’re on the internet and a major league manager has a job in baseball” argument. Andrew Friedman of the rays and Billy Beane of the A’s have built two of the most successful teams over the past 10 years despite having fewer resources than almost any other team. You know how? By using statistical analysis and questioning traditional baseball thinking. Baseball, for the most part, is run by a good ole boys network. The same people get the same jobs and nobody ever questions if how they are doing the job is the best way. They stick to the conservative, traditional baseball mentality and when somebody comes along that runs their team like a business and analyzes the market and player performance then they run circles around the old guard. Now, things are definitely changing, but there are still plenty of managers who know a lot about playing baseball but they don’t understand the strategy of it. So, just because some big league managers make playing time decisions based on a tiny sample size does not mean it’s the right decision. There are lots of research articles and analysis on sample size in baseball if you are interested.

        • No, Kevin. If a manager is smart, he knows which data is relevant and which is not, and he only bases his decisions on data that is predictive.

          If he is lazy, he looks at one single line on his “stat sheet” and follows it like the gospel, even if the sample size is so small it is basically irrelevant.

        • And another good post, TCT. I think Kevin believes that if a MLB manager assumes something to be true, then it must be so. Thankfully, that kind of thinking is slowly dying out of the baseball culture.

  9. Kevin, if Skip had one less hit against de la Rosa (2 for 8), he would have a .250 average instead of .375. Would that really change your assessment of his chances to have success against that particular pitcher in the future? One measly hit?

  10. Congratulations to the A’s and Rays for winning all those World Series over foolish managers who take into account all possible data not just the data internet experts find “irrelevant”.

    The decision to play either Skip or Santiago at 2B should be evaluated using the information you have. They are both utility players and there is no overwhelming argument for either. In general, Santiago is superior defensively, Skip superior offensively. But there might be situations where the latter is minimized enough so that Santiago would be preferred. One such circumstance might be where Skip has had no success against a pitcher or is in a major slump. Conversely, if Skip has a record of success against the pitcher and has been hitting the ball well lately this is an additional factor as to why he should play over Santiago.

    You can continue to pretend that such an evaluation is meaningless because of your “hold your breath until you turn blue” insistence that SSS mean nothing, but I prefer the manager at least take them into account with a grain of salt perhaps, but not disregard something that may be relevant. You may laugh at how stupid every team management but the A’s and Rays are for doing so if you choose.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s