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Series Preview: Rockies welcome Guardians to Coors Field

It was an interesting series for the Colorado Rockies as they took two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies to win the series against the team with the best record in baseball. If not for a bullpen implosion in the top of the ninth in the second game of the series, it’s conceivable that the Rockies could have pulled off back-to-back sweeps of the World Champion Texas Rangers and the Phillies at home.

The Rockies will look to keep a competitive edge going at home as they welcome the American League Central leader Cleveland Guardians for a three-game set. The Guardians could be considered one of the surprise teams in baseball this season as they didn’t do much to add to their roster in the offseason, entering the season as a relatively younger team. Still, the machine in Cleveland keeps on turning as they come off a series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels to give them nine straight victories and 12 wins in their last 13 games.

Here are a few things to watch for in Colorado.

Pitching Probables

5/27: Austin Gomber (1-2, 2.76 ERA) vs. Xzavion Curry (0-0, 1.93 ERA)

5/28: Ryan Feltner (1-4, 5.07 ERA) vs. Triston McKenzie (2-3, 3.44 ERA)

5/29: Ty Blach (1-2, 4.55 ERA) vs. Logan Allen (6-2, 4.89 ERA)

Pass the Baton

The Guardians are never without a stockpile of arms as they are well known for their ability to develop pitching. Their homegrown rotation is what the Rockies have always aspired to be but still haven’t figured out how to do so consistently. The only homegrown pitching in the rotation right now is Ryan Feltner who has shown both excellence and mediocrity as he tries to find consistency on the mound. Still, the Rockies have managed to craft together a rotation that doesn’t look downright awful when you sit and watch the game. Austin Gomber has been one of the best pitchers in baseball and ranks second in the National League this month with a 0.68 ERA in 26 2/3 innings of work. Ty Blach has also shown spots of brilliance in a Rockies uniform, like in his last start against the Phillies in which he handcuffed them for six-plus innings, giving up just a pair of runs. The rotation’s ability to feed off one another and pass the baton to the next guy will be crucial against a hot team like the Guardians.

Home sweet home

The Rockies enter the series 11-13 at home as they slowly continue to improve their results at Coors Field. While a 4.04 ERA isn’t the most attractive number for a pitching staff, it’s relatively good enough for the Rockies starting rotation all things considered. Still, the team seems to be more comfortable at home and can take advantage of the hitting advantages presented to them. The team’s power numbers are down, but the advantage of Coors Field doesn’t lie in home runs, but rather in the expansive outfield that allows more bloop singles and extra-base hits to the power alleys. Despite their offensive woes, the Rockies have the sixth-most doubles in baseball, a number that their home ballpark definitely aids. If the Rockies ever want to get back to contention they have to reliably dominate at Coors Field and do as much as a they can on the road.

Bullpen blues

While the rotation has been much better, the bullpen not so much for the Rockies as it remains a huge concern. Inconsistency from the relief unit, led by an overabundance of walks has been the demise of the Rockies’ bullpen. They notably floundered in the Oakland series as well as game two of the Phillies series, but they did put in admirable performances in the Rockies’ two victories against the latter team. While the Guardians own baseball’s best bullpen, the Rockies boast one of the worst statistically speaking. Their 103 walks are the second-most in baseball, but their 4.91 BB/9 is the highest rate in baseball and an ERA over 7.00 doesn’t help matters as the walks typically end up coming around to score. Should the Rockies manage to get after the starting pitchers and build a lead, the bullpen will have to work on limiting the walks and getting outs in clutch situations. Otherwise, the Rockies offense is going to have a difficult time scoring runs late against a stellar pen.


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