Probable Pitching Matchups
Matt Garza vs. Jhoulys Chacin
There’s been a strange symmetry to Garza’s starts. In his first one, he struck out 12 and gave up 12 hits, both career highs. In his second, he struck out eight and gave up eight hits. Garza says he’s getting beat on his soft stuff. Chacin struggled but still earned the win against the Pirates on Sunday. He threw seven scoreless innings vs. the Dodgers in his first start, but he didn’t have consistent fastball command in either start.
Casey Coleman vs. Jason Hammel
Coleman expected to make his first start of 2011 for Triple-A Iowa but instead was called up to sub for Randy Wells, who was placed on the DL with a strained forearm. In his first start Sunday, Coleman gave up nine hits and two homers to the Brewers. Hammel pitched six solid innings in a no-decision in a 7-6 victory over the Mets in his last start. But he gave up a first-inning run and is challenging himself to be better at the start of games.
Ryan Dempster vs. Alan Johnson
Dempster has a high career ERA of 6.79 against the Rockies, but a winning record at 5-4. In his last outing at Houston, Dempster allowed only one run in six innings before faltering in the seventh by giving up three runs. After winning 20 times over the last two seasons at Triple-A Colorado Springs, Johnson, 26, a non-drafted free agent signing in 2005, will make his Major League debut. Johnson relies on mixing pitches and throwing strikes.
Logan Burdine’s Scouting Report on the Rockies
Who’s Hot – Since September 1st, Troy Tulowitzki has hit twenty-two homeruns in 166 at-bats. For the mathematically challenged, that’s a dinger every 7.54 at-bats. During this week’s four-game series, The Mets tried everything to get Tulo out, but nothing worked. It didn’t matter if they pitched him inside or outside, he hit the ball out of the park. Arguably, he deserves the Barry Bonds treatment right now. New York manager, Terry Collins, was second guessed all series because he chose to pitch to Troy in several key situations and the Mets paid a heavy price.
Who’s Not – This season, the Rockies have put a lot of trust in Chris Iannetta. Initially, he looked like a new man at the plate. He even added a beastly Fu Manchu. However, Iannetta went on a 0-14 streak and his batting average is now below .200. Fortunately, he’s done a terrific job of handling the Rockies’ pitching staff. As long as players like Seth Smith and Todd Helton are contributing, the Rockies don’t need Iannetta to be an offensive force.
Interesting note – Troy Tulowitzki is the best shortstop in baseball, but his taste in music is atrocious. This year, Tulo’s initial pick for his walk-up song was Katy Perry’s “Firework” – much to my chagrin. After an 0-8 start at the plate, he switched to Justin Beiber’s “Baby”. Not that his current selection is any better than “Firework”, but he has been on a Babe Ruth-esque tear since making the change.
On Monday night, the Mets inadvertently played “Baby” just prior to Tulo’s eighth inning at-bat. He promptly hit a two-run game-winning homerun.
I can proudly say that I’ve never listened to a track by that rich little punk, and when it comes to Canadian imports, I much prefer Strange Brew and Steve Nash. However, if Tulo stays on pace to hit 80 homeruns this season, you can count me among those afflicted with Beiber Fever.
Prediction for the Series – My prediction? I turn, look into the camera, and, in my best Mister T voice, say……Pain!
Pardon me for stealing from the great Clubber Lang, but I wouldn’t want to be the Cubs right now. The Rockies are a focused baseball team with the best record in baseball – at least as of Thursday afternoon. They are off the best start in franchise history. Incredibly, they’ve achieved most of their success on the road and without Ubaldo.
Obviously, the Rox are very hard to beat at Coors Field, but they’ve been particularly tough on the Cubs. The Northsiders have lost nine of the last eleven contests in Denver. I think that trend will continue with the Rockies taking two out of three in this series.
Aside from Jhoulys Chacin, the Rockies don’t have their best pitchers going this weekend. Jason Hammel has struggled with command and Alan Johnson was just called up from AAA to make a spot start on Sunday. However, it hasn’t mattered who’s on the mound for the Rox lately. This team is just clicking.