Rockies, NL West trio surging as Diamondbacks head to Denver
There’s never a good time to lose a bunch of ballgames, but perhaps the worst time is when three of your division rivals are on a tear in the midst of a shortened, 60-game season.
The Diamondbacks (6-10) stumble into Denver on Monday to play the Rockies (11-4), who have won seven of their last nine and are 5-2 in their own ballpark this season. Surprisingly, the Rockies are fourth in MLB in team ERA at just 2.84, their bullpen ERA (3.19) is seventh-best and their starter ERA (2.65) is third. Colorado’s team batting average of .263 is tops in the majors.
The Rockies started out No. 21 in ESPN’s MLB power rankings but have since climbed to No. 12. Daniel Murphy and Charlie Blackmon have combined to hit .417 this season.
Arizona is 4-6 in its last 10 games and in last place in the NL West.
It doesn’t help that two of the D-backs’ other NL West are playing so well. ESPN ranked the Dodgers (11-5) No. 1 while the Padres (9-7) are No. 10. Arizona is all the way down at No. 22.
Madison Bumgarner failed to eclipse 88 mph or pitch more than two innings on Sunday, though that was due to back spasms, the team said. But he allowed six runs on four home runs, and the team mustered only five hits all day. The Rockies, meanwhile, were in Seattle and won 5-3.
Now the D-backs seek their mojo with Robbie Ray on the mound on Monday. Ray’s 9.45 ERA is the product of three poor starts so far that have seen him issue 11 walks in 13.1 innings. This would be a good time to turn it around, but hitter-friendly Coors Field is among the toughest places to do it.
The good news: Zac Gallen, one of the D-backs’ best pitchers this year, is due to pitch in the series after Ray. Luke Weaver is the current probable pitcher for Wednesday.
While three-fifths of the rotation has struggled, at least Zac Gallen is showing that his impressive rookie season wasn’t a fluke. He has a 2.81 ERA through three starts, and his 21 strikeouts in 16 innings shows he can still generate swing-and-misses despite a fastball that is neither big-velocity nor has a high spin rate.
On the mound for the Rockies will be Jon Gray (3.31), Kyle Freeland (2.41) and Antonio Senzatela (2.65) in that order.