Dodgers: Previewing the First Match up with the Rockies in 2018
The Dodgers will face off with the Colorado Rockies for the first time this season on Monday night. After a strange start where the Dodgers seemed to play the Dbacks and Giants every week, they finally play the Rockies.
The Dodgers will come into Monday’s series opener riding a four-game winning streak. Perhaps this is the start of yet another magical run for the Dodgers. Their play has been much better all across the board from situational hitting, to clutch hitting, to the bullpen finally locking down the late innings of games.
The Rockies will come into Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium on a two-game losing streak. The Rockies have split their last two series which were a two-game series with the Padres and a two-game series with the Giants. Like the Dodgers, the Rockies have been gaining ground on the Dbacks and enter Monday just a half game back of first place in the NL West.
Despite playing in Coors Field and being known as a slugging team, the Rockies offense has not been overly impressive in 2018. The Rockies are currently 7th in home runs, 25th in batting average, 22nd in slugging percentage, and 23rd in OPS. That is not the kind of numbers you would come to expect from the Rockies, but that is what they have done so far this season. The Rockies do have David Dahl finally healthy, so that is one more bat the Dodgers need to silence beside the usual suspects.
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The Usual Suspects
The Rockies offense is once again spearheaded by their core four players of Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and DJ LeMahieu. Blackmon and Story lead the Rockies with twelve and ten home runs respectively, and while Arenado has “only” eight home runs, he is batting an impressive .331 and slugging over .500. The Rockies also have notorious Dodger killer Gerardo Para, so that is one name the Dodgers need to shut down outside of the Rockies core four.
The Rockies have spent big money on their bullpen in recent seasons handing out 19 million to Mike Dunn, 27 million to Bryan Shaw, and 27 million to Jake McGee but so far they have had a poor return on their investments. The Rockies bullpen ranks 19th in FIP, 17th in WAR, and 25th in ERA. Just looking at the three ERA’s of their highest paid relievers you see some ugly numbers with Dunn (7.94 ERA), Shaw (5.01 ERA), and McGee (5.82 ERA).
Maybe Dodger fans should take note that spending on relievers does not automatically guarantee that the bullpen will be better. The one addition they did make who is living up to expectations is closer Wade Davis who is 16-18 in save situations.
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Starting pitching wise the Rockies rank middle of the pack across the board. Their rotation has been average although Jon Gray has been a big disappointment for the Rockies this year. This series the Dodgers will face German Marquez, cancer survivor Chad Bettis, and southpaw Kyle Freeland. Squaring off against these three starters it would be a disappointment if the Dodgers do not take two of three from the Rockies. As the saying goes though, thats why they play the game.