It has come to my attention, via the comments and twitter and facebook and emails, that some people are growing tired of the title of the regular series previews. I get it and appreciate the feedback. What was once a not-even-that-funny joke became not funny, then maybe it became slightly funny again to some people but still unfunny, pointless, and maddening for others, unnecessarily upsetting opposing fans, and all the while risking the wrath of the gods of baseball. The Cardinals should destroy the Rockies.
The Cardinals head to Colorado for a very important road series with just 13 games left to go. This might come as a surprise to some of you who haven’t been following the Rockies all that closely, but the Rockies aren’t really a bad team. Record-wise, they are 72-77, which is actually just six games behind the Cardinals, and by BaseRuns, the Rockies are above .500. They have a star player in Nolan Arenado, who has a 125 wRC+ despite a low BABIP and massive Coors Field correction to his statistics. He’s great at third and already produced five wins above replacement this season.
Trevor Story is out for the season and he has been replaced by Christhian Adames and Daniel Descalso, who you might remember as a decent role player turned overexposed bench player to one-time backup first baseman in his time with the Cardinals. A Cardinals legend all the same. He’s having a decent season with the Rockies, putting up a 101 wRC+. Adames hasn’t hit much, and he’s not expected to, either.
D.J. Lemahieu is riding a .389 BABIP to a 120 wRC+ and nearly a four-win season. He’s not that good, but he’s solid, sort of a baseline of what fans were hoping for from Kolten Wong. Mark Reynolds has been adequate offensively, but below average for a first baseman which puts him near replacement level. He might not play as he is dealing with a hand injury, and Gerardo Parra is starting there tonight.
Parra was a strange signing by the Rockies. He apparently gave the team the freedom to trade Corey Dickerson to the Rays for Jake McGee, but Parra has hit horribly for most of the season. Carlos Gonzalez survived another round of trade rumors and he remains an above-average bat who probably doesn’t fit with the Cardinals in the future.
Charlie Blackmon, a high-contact, decent power center fielder with a slightly below average walk rate, has had a great year with Colorado this year with a .321/.381/.553 line good for a 130 wRC+, although as a center fielder, he appears pretty below average by UZR and DRS (less so with DRS). That could be because Coors Field is particularly difficult to play center field in, but it seems pretty possible he is just below average. That note is less for the series and more for those who might be inclined to trade for him in the offseason.
David Dahl, the Rockies rookie outfielder, is an intriguing player who has struck out about 25% of the time so far in the majors, but has a decent power-speed combo and potentially the defense to stick in center field. He is likely the guy who makes Blackmon expendable this offseason. Also, Nick Hundley seems fine.
The Rockies best pitcher this year has been Jon Gray. He’s not pitching this series. Their second- and third-best pitchers have been two Tylers: Chatwood, who isn’t pitching this series, and Anderson, who pitches tonight. The latter Tyler is a lefty with a solid ERA and FIP in the mid-3s. He missed last season with a stress fracture in his elbow, but he is at 2.2 WAR despite just 101 innings this season. His strikeout and walk numbers are solid with good home run numbers for the park. He throws a fastball, a cutter, and a change with the fastball generally topping out at around 90. Carlos Martinez pitches for the Cardinals.
Tomorrow night, Jorge De La Rosa pitches for the Rockies. De La Rosa, another lefty, was decent enough the past three years, but has not been good at all this season with an ERA and FIP both over five. He struck out eight against one walk in five innnings in his last start of August against the Nationals, but has given up five runs in each of the past three starts (in one start all runs were unearned). He’s given up two homers in four of the last six games. Adam Wainwright will pitch for St. Louis.
The other player who came to Colorado in the Corey Dickerson trade, German Marquez, will pitch for the Rockies on Wednesday. This will be Marquez’s first career start after three games pitching from the bullpen. He is not left-handed. He pitched very well in Double-A this season, and then had some struggles in Triple-A before his promotion. We will see how his stuff plays as a starter, but in his brief time in the pen, Marquez used a mid-90s fastball along with a curve and sometimes a change and rarely a cutter. Luke Weaver tries to rebound from his first poor start.
Tonight’s game is at 7:40 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest. It is also the free MLB.tv game of the day.
Tuesday’s game is at 7:40 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest.
Wednesday’s game is at 2:10 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest.