Series Preview #25: Diamondbacks @ Rockies

The fourth-ranked Diamondbacks (34-42) take on the fifth-ranked Colorado Rockies (33-43) for a three-game series at Coors Field this weekend. The Diamondbacks need to win at least two out of three games to avoid a tie for last place.

This is only the second meeting between the two teams this year. The D-Backs picked up two of three from Colorado May 6-8 at Chase Field.

The Rockies just won two of three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers this week and are slightly better at 11-17 in June than the D-Backs, who are 9-16 in the month. Arizona split a two-game series against the San Diego Padres earlier this week.

It is very important for certain teams to view their team and individual stats in the context of their home park environment. The Rockies, of course, play at the most hit-friendly park in the majors. (Although Cincinnati actually ranks “higher” this year).

Using multi-year park factors (3 years), both Baseball Reference and Statcast show Chase Field close to neutral and Coors Field second only to Great American Ballpark. Coors increases offense by 10-13%. For these reasons, many of the metrics shown here are adjusted to park and league averages. Keep in mind that the overall offensive environment is lower than it has been in years past. Batting lines that have looked mediocre in the past may be better than you think, and the opposite would be true for pitchers. As a reminder: OPS+ and ERA+, 100 = Average. The higher than better.

STORY ON TAPE

These are two fairly even teams. The Rockies fared slightly better, although not as strongly as the raw, unadjusted averages suggest. The overall Park-adjusted ERA is the same, although the Rockies have a 4.90 ERA and a 4.31 D-Back. The D-Backs catch and ride a little better and have a better barrel differential. The Rockies have more WAR. There’s not much of a difference when you look under the hood between these two teams and the standings reflect that.

ROCKIE’S BULLPEN (Click link for table)

Daniel Bard (RHP) has continued his feel good story into 2022 posting a Sterling 2.12 ERA and 224 ERA+. He made 15 saves and only messed up 2, 88%

The Rockies lost Tyler Kinley (RHP) for the rest of the season and that was a big blow as he only allowed 5 runs in 25 games with 2 of them earned.

Alex Colome (187 ERA+) is having an excellent season. Jhoulys Chacin (73 ERA+) and Carlos Estevas (93 ERA+) struggled. Luca Gilbreath (111 ERA+) is her primary left-hander

ROCKIES LINEUP (Click link for table)

CJ Cron has cooled off a bit since his explosive start, but still has 134 OPS+. Conor Joe (109 OPS+) and Charlie Blackmon (108 OPS+) are the only other hitters over 100. However, there aren’t any gaping holes in their lineup either, as the remaining primary starters have between 87-99 OPS+. Big off-season pickup Kris Bryant just recently returned from his second IL stint and has just 86 PA and 79 OPS+ for the year.

DIAMONDBACKS OFFENSE (Click link for table)

History for Arizona was an inconsistent offense. You scored a run 0 or 9 times in June. But they’ve also hit 7 or more runs 9 times this month. The month-to-month split simply shows a good month of May between two very bad offensive months. Would the real D-Backs please stand up?

Ketel Marte (119 OPS+), Christian Walker (116 OPS+), David Peralta (115 OPS+) and Alek Thomas (105 OPS+) are the previous team leaders. A word of caution about Thomas: His groundball rate is sky-high at 61% compared to a league average of 43%.

Daulton Varsho (97 OPS+) slumped for most of June, falling below 100. Pavin Smith cratered down to 76 OPS+ before finally recovering slightly to 85. Catchers Jose Herrera (33) and Carson Kelly (9) are the definition of black holes this year, and Geraldo Perdomo has slumped to 70 OPS+ after hitting the high 80s earlier in the season.

START PITCH MATCHUPS

Merrill Kelly accepted defeat in his last start against the Tigers, going 6 innings and giving up 4 runs on 7 hits, a walk and a homer. In his first 7 starts he had a 1.71 ERA, but in his last 8 starts he had a 5.57 ERA. He was blasted by the Dodgers for 8 carries in 2 IP on May 17 and has had a 4.05 ERA in his last 7 starts since then

H2H Splits vs. COL Batters. Bryant has a history of success against Merrill.

Antonio Senzatela is about average for his career and that’s pretty much who he is, although he’s been pretty unlucky with base hits this year, giving up 89 in 58 IP and having a .403 BABIP against. Hence the big difference you see above in ERA and FIP.

H2H Splits vs. AZ Batters: Walker and Marte had a lot of success against him

Dallas Keuchel makes his second start for Arizona. He had a mediocre start against the Tigers in his first start for the D-Backs, giving up 4 runs in 4.1 IP. There were some encouraging signs with plenty of momentum and failure. A field start from Coors against the Rockies will present more of a challenge for the sinkerballer.

H2H splits, not much recent history. Most Crons 27 PA vs. Keuchel came before 2017

Austin Gomber is having a tough season and was recently demoted to the bullpen for a “rest” before being reinstated into the rotation for this start. You can read more about his struggles HERE

H2H splits, Josh Rojas has 4 hits in 5 PA and Ketel Marte has a home run against him.

This game has the potential to be one of those Coors Field Games.

Zac Gallen is off to one of his worst starts of the season, giving up 6 carries on 7 hits and a home run for the Padres. The team came back and won those games 7-6 on a walkoff, allowing Gallen to avert defeat. Through his first 7 starts, Gallen had a 1.14 ERA and was in early discussions for the Cy Young award. In his last 7 starts he has a 5.65 ERA and is looking for consistency.

H2H splits: Charlie Blackmon was a thorn in his side, 10 for 21, .476, 3 doubles, but the rest of the Rockies hitters didn’t do much against Zac.

Chad Kuhl threw a full game, 3 hit shutout against the Dodgers at Coors field on June 27, requiring only 102 pitches to complete the feat. He dropped 5. He was an underperforming starter at a pitchers park in Pittsburgh for 5 years and has had a career year in Colorado so far. Imagine that. He uses a wipeout slider to get results. If hitters can put down the slider, they’ll hit his sinker, but putting down the slider has proven difficult for the D-backs.

H2H Splits: Very little contact with current D-back hitters, but Ketel is 3 for 4 with a homer and a double

If any game in this series is going to be a good pitcher’s matchup, this game should be it

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