Tonight at Coors Field in Denver, the Reds open a four games series against the Rockies. This game marks the beginning of the mathematical second half of the season for the Reds. Their 35-46 record in the first half of 2017 fell one win short of their Pythagorean projection. On a more positive note, thanks to a week of home cooking against Central Division rivals, the Reds are 5-5 over their last 10 games.
The Rockies enter the series at 48-36 which while 3rd in the tough NL West is good enough to hold down the second NL Wildcard spot, a full six games better than the Wildcard third place Chicago Cubs . The unhappy news for the Rockies is that they are 1-9 in their last 10 games with the single win coming on Saturday to break an 8 game losing streak.
The more significant stat for both teams in this series may be that the Rockies play at nearly a .600 clip at home (.595) while the Reds are a miserable .317 road team.
Righthander Luis Castillo will experience his Coor’s Field baptism in his third career MLB start for the Reds. In his first two MLB starts, Castillo was up to the task versus two powerhouse offenses, the Nats and Brewers. However, despite providing a welcome breath of refreshing air to Reds fans, Castillo has experienced control issues. His control will need to sharpen if he is to prosper in the harsh Coor’s Field environment.
Jeff Hoffman starts for the Rockies. Hoffman, a 24 year old righthander, was the ninth overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft (chosen by Toronto) even though he was in the midst of recovering from Tommy John surgery at the time of the draft. Hoffman came to the Rockies in the trade that sent Troy Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays. He will be making his eighth MLB start of the season after being brought up from AAA in early May. Overall this will be Hoffman’s 14th MLB start, the first 6 coming in 2016 after he was called up last August. Watch for a big fastball in the mid 90’s paired with a solid curve and OK change up from Hoffman. As with the Reds Castillo, at Coors if his command is not sharp, Hoffman could get hit hard and often.
Coors Field is known for burning through bullpens. This said, the Reds bullpen starts the series in about as good of shape as possible. The Reds have already swapped a starting pitcher roster spot for a reliever by calling up Asher Wojciechowski.
With the All Star break on the horizon, do not be surprised if Luis Castillo is optioned out in favor of an additional reliever following his start tonight. Yes, his spot does come up once more before the All Star break; but, the bullpen monster must be fed. Saturday can be dealt with when it arrives; there are candidates aplenty at AAA.
The Rockies are coming in off the road. Their recent bullpen usage looks light and well distributed.
|1. Jose Peraza (SS)
2. Scooter Gennett (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (CF)
7. Patrick Kivlehan (RF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Luis Castillo (P)
|1. Charlie Blackmon (CF)
2. DJ LeMahieu (2B)
3. Nolan Arenado (3B)
4. Mark Reynolds (1B)
5. Carlos Gonzalez (RF)
6. Raimel Tapia (LF)
7. Trevor Story (SS)
8. Tony Wolters (C)
9. Jeff Hoffman (P)
News and Notes
Zack Cozart is getting his All Star donkey; and, Joey Votto will be in Miami along with him. Will Joey deliver the donkey in person at the game?
Votto has decided to take a pass on the home run derby. His explanation is vintage JDV.
Then there is Adam Duvall who will not be on the All Star team this year…..
Late this afternoon, the Reds shuffled some chairs on the minor league deck:
The Reds starter in game 4 of this series (Thursday) is no longer a mystery:
Seven games in seven days before the All Star break enforces a step back to collect our thoughts on the season to date and state of our beloved Reds. Those days of inactivity will go down a lot more smoothly if the Reds give a decent accounting of themselves this week. Go Reds!