The Colorado Rockies get two more games at home before they head back on the road. While the upcoming road trip cannot be as bad as the last road trip (don’t bust my bubble!) the Rockies need to win these last two home games.
The Wild Card leading San Francisco Giants are coming to town for a mini two-game set before the Rockies travel to Pittsburgh for four.
The Rockies currently trail the Giants by 5.5 games in the Wild Card race. The San Diego Padres show no signs of slowing down and I am becoming resigned to the fact that they are going to surprise the league this year and win the NL West. Right now the best chance for the Rox to slip into the playoffs is via the Wild Card. They will need to jump over St. Louis/Cincinnati (whoever does not win the NL Central) and Philadelphia, too.
The Rockies play 13 of their next 18 games on the road and by the end of the third week in August we should have a pretty good idea if the Rockies stand a chance or not.
With the Giants coming to town the Rockies luck might have shifted, finally. After crazy injuries like the band on Jorge De La Rosa’s finger becoming detached to Huston Street getting nailed in the pelvis by a line drive off of Ian Stewart’s bat during BP, the Rockies are due for some favorable fortune.
If I had to rank the five starting pitchers for the Giants I would go, in order: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner.
Without a doubt Lincecum and Cain are 1a and 1b in this rotation. Cain has an ERA under three this year and Lincecum isn’t far behind with a 3.10 ERA (and the last two Cy Young awards that were handed out for the National League).
Zito is the pitcher I rank third in this rotation. Zito’s ERA currently stands at 3.38 and while he has had a few rough starts this year, he has only allowed six earned runs in his past four starts, spanning 28 2/3 innings (1.88 ERA). This is by far his best season since moving across the Bay from Oakland to San Francisco in 2007.
That leaves Sanchez and Bumgarner.
Sanchez has a really good looking ERA of 3.54, but he has allowed five runs in two of his past four starts. He can get wild and walk batters and that has helped keep him from pitching six innings or more 10 times this season (22 starts in 2010, thus far).
Bumgarner is the rookie in this already very young rotation. Bumgarner just turned 21 on Sunday and has made seven starts so far in 2010. His ERA is 2.70 and he is no slouch on the mound, but I would rather see the kid than Lincecum or Cain, for sure.
The Rockies get Sanchez tonight and Bumgarner tomorrow.
In looking at the bright side, this is a good thing.
But I gotta look at the possibility that this goes bad. It wouldn’t be like to me not give some sort of negative spin.
While Sanchez does walk batters, he also strikes them out. Sanchez has 127 strikeouts in 122 innings pitched. Sanchez also does have a much better strikeout to walk ratio against lefty batters than right handers. While LHB (left hand batters) hit for a slightly better average, it still isn’t pretty. LHB hit .223 off of Sanchez while RHB hit .200. The good news is that due to his high number of walks both LHB and RHB have an on-base percentage over .300 against him.
The news doesn’t get much better against Bumgarner either. Against lefties this year, the southpaw Bumgarner has a very impressive .510 OPS against. His sample size is much smaller than Sanchez, but he strikes out three batters for every single batter he walks, for right or left hand batters.
I will choose to look at this as a positive. We know Lincecum, Cain and Zito are capable of pitching in big games. We know that the version of Sanchez that walks seven batters in an outing can show up at any time. We know that Bumgarner is young and he has had concerns over his arm in his short career when he experienced a drop in velocity earlier this year.
The Rockies will need to be patient at the plate, not an easy thing for them to do. We will see our share of Melvin Mora and Ryan Spilborghs. Todd Helton could be reinstated today from the disabled list and the corresponding move could be Dexter Fowler to the DL after that catch against the wall against the Cubs on Sunday. Helton’s patient bat in this two game series could be a huge lift for the Rockies.
Getty Images – Ezra Shaw
For more from the Rockies Examiner:
- Does Ian Stewart need to get motivated?
- CarGo is amazing. At home.
- Cubs fans are strange
- My pictures from last night’s action prior to the game, from the Rockies dugout
- Street injured, taken off of field in ambulance