What's going on with the Rockies?
Not long after they lost Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez for the season, SB Nation's Grant Brisbee named the Rockies the most hopeless team in baseball.
Their franchise players are chronically hurt, and they have a long track record of breaking young pitchers, both in body and spirit. Everything about them is a mess right now, from the top down. That's all before you get to the worst part: They already start with the biggest disadvantage in baseball, the thin air of Coors Field. For 20-plus years, the Rockies have diligently attempted to figure out a way for their hitters to survive on the road, just as they've tried valiantly to search for ways their pitchers can survive at home. They've tried sinkerballers and four-man rotations. They've tried a humidor and when they found a little success with it, they tried one with their Triple-A team.
Yikes. We know the Mets have plenty of issues, but at least our team has managed to built up a stock of young, talented pitching and has a park to deploy that talent in. The Rockies are often so desperate that they resort to things like humidors and four-man rotations. It's not like we've never seen them succeed (they've been in the playoffs more recently than the Mets have been), but it often seems like Colorado's only path to success may be to hit well enough to win all its home games.
In the immediate past, though, the Rockies have been good. They just finished off a 5-1 homestand against the Giants and Padres. Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario have just returned from the disabled list to form a still-formidable lineup that also contains possible future stars Nolan Arenado and Corey Dickerson.
Arenado's offensive figures (116 wRC+) don't blow you away, but when you factor in the fact that he's 23 years old and is already playing some of the best third base defense we've seen in years, he starts to look very appetizing. Dickerson is a little older than Arenado and not much of a defender, but his .405 wOBA and decent figures against fellow lefties make him a promising future piece in his own right.
Who's on the mound?
Jordan Lyles got off to a great start this season, but since May he's been rather ordinary. The former Astros prospect who was acquired in the Dexter Fowler trade last winter has allowed multiple runs in every start since May 5 and sports a not-so-sexy strikeout-to-walk ratio of 77:42.
Christian Bergman will face the Mets on Tuesday in just his seventh big league start. His control has varied wildly, with two walks combined in his first three outings, then seven in his next two, and then zero in his recent win over San Francisco (but no strikeouts either). The 26-year-old mostly throws three different fastballs as well as a slider and a changeup.
Finishing the series for Colorado will be another rookie in Tyler Matzek. The Rockies' first-round pick in the 2009 draft struggled for much of August but appears to have since adjusted to the show. In his last three starts, he's pitched 23 innings with two runs allowed, 17 strikeouts, and six walks. Another strong showing against the Mets might convince critics that Matzek's game is clicking into place... others will shrug and say "it's only the Mets."
Against the Rockies, the Mets will throw out Jon Niese, Jacob deGrom, and Rafael Montero. The latter is being inserted as a spot starter to give New York's veteran hurlers a rest. In his last start at Triple-A, Montero struggled with eight runs allowed in six innings, but his most recent big league was a successful one against the Cubs. Hopefully he can find some more of the good stuff against a Rockies team that tends to struggle offensively on the road.
Prediction: Mets sweep the Rockies!
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