Sereis Preview – Kansas City at Colorado – 8/19/14-8/20/14

cuddy1

Kansas City Royals (69-55) vs Colorado Rockies (49-75)

  • COL at home (31-31), last 10 (4-6).
  • KC on road (36-27), last 10 (8-2).

Probable Starters:

(Innings pitcher per-start, strikeouts per-9 IP, walks per-9 IP)

Helton Magic - A walk-off home run from Drew Stubbs in the afternoon and a three-run comeback at night, Colorado made the most of Sunday’s retirement of number 17 with two wins. Adam Peterson has the look back at the entire four games series against Cincinnati.

Don’t Call it a Comeback - Fresh off the disabled list Michael Cuddyer capped off the second game of Sunday’s double-header with a cycle. It was the second of his career (had on with Minnesota) and the first in Major League Baseball this season.

Colorado got five two-out RBI’s Sunday night, two from Cuddy as their offense helped them win three-of-four from the Reds. Colorado is hitting .225/.330./339 with two-outs and runners in scoring position this season. Over the four games the Rockies hit .330 (46-139) with 29 runs scored, seven home runs, 28 strikeouts and 17 walks.

“I always say, no matter what your record is or where you are in the standings, it’s always more fun to smile after a game than frown,” Cuddyer said Sunday. “And we’re able to smile after two games today. So today was a fun day.”

Even without Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez in the lineup, the Rockies offensive talent is above average. It’s why everyone says “what if” when it comes to the health of those two stars and why the organization still believes in this group, no trades.

24 year-old outfielder Corey Dickerson through 99 games and 345 plate appearances is hitting .326/.380/.588 with 17 home runs and 15 RBI’s. The lefty tore the cover off the baseball last week (six games) with a .417/.423/.833 line with two homers and eight RBI’s which earned him NL Player of the week honors. What’s makes Dickerson a legitimate hitter is his .310 average against lefties to go with his .329 average off right-handed pitchers.

It dosen’t matter if the pitch is inside the strikezone or outside it, Dickerson will hit it.

strike-zone (1)

Continuing the offensive momentum at home won’t be easy against a Royals team firing on all cylinders.

Royale with Cheese – Kansas City has won 13 of 16 games in August as they now sit 1.5 games ahead of Detroit atop the AL Central. Their pitching staff has a 2.92 ERA, 1.077 WHIP with 117 strikeouts and 29 walks through 142 innings pitched in August.

Big Game James toes the rubber Tuesday night against the Rockies. The 31 year-old righty will be making his second career start at Coors Field and as the nickname stats, he won’t be intimidated. Shields has 137 strikeouts and 37 walks through 172.1 IP this year which has helped keep his ERA at 3.29 with teams hitting .262/.305/.415 off him this season. August is shaping up to be his best month of the season (3 GS, 23 IP, 185 BAA, 12 SO, 2 BB, 5 R). His fastball averages 92.4 mph and Rockies hitters will face a cutter, curve and changeup.

25 year-old Danny Duffy has found his footing in the Royals starting rotation this year. He’s appeared in 25 games but has started 19 posting a 2.64 ERA, 1.101 WHIP with 81 strikeouts and 41 walks in 112 2/3 innings as a starter. He’s neutralized lefties this season to the tune of a .138 batting average and zero home runs given up. An area of concern starting at Coors, 47.8 percent of balls in play against Duffy this season have been fly balls opposed to 33 percent on the ground.

Greg Holland, all 5-foot-10 of him, has shut the door on 37 Kansas City wins this season. The right-hander has surrendered 11 runs in 48.1 IP while striking out 70 and walking 16. DailyBaseballData.com has a look at how Ned Yost has used his lights out bullpen.

)Holland - zimbio.com)

)Holland – zimbio.com)

Blue Streak – Power has been absent from the Royals offense this season as their 77 home runs rank dead last baseball. That hasn’t stopped them scoring runs, 513, 13th in MLB. They’ve found their power stroke in August hitting 16 home runs with 87 runs scored through 17 games good for a .284/.326/.424 team batting line.

Fresh off his first All-Star game appearance 24 year-old catcher Salvador Perez is climbing the ranks of top offensive catchers in the game. He leads the team with 15 home runs but is only hitting .200/.229/.378 over the Royals last 13 games. Perez did leave Monday nights game with a sore knee.

From top prospect to Mr. Consistency, Alex Gordon makes an impact on offense (124 hits) and defense. Gordon over the last 13 games is hitting .386/.460/.727 with 12 runs scored.

A move no one batted an eye at in the off-season but is paying huge dividends is veteran table setter Nori Aoki. The 32 year-old outfielder who played in Milwaukee last season has helped set the table with a .335 OBP and 15 stolen bases.

There’s speed on offense and defense from Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson. Potential pop from Mike Moustakas (14 HR’s) at third and Big Billy Butler slashing away (team high 127 hits) as the Royals designated hitter, which of course will not be in use in a National League ball park.

Josh Willingham was picked up off waivers this week from Minnesota to add pop. So far he’s 8-of-24 with one home run, with 5 RBI’s and four runs scored.

A former Royal and a rookie will be tasked with trying to slow down KC at Coors.

(Butler - zimbio.com)

(Butler – zimbio.com)

Young and OldJorge De La Rosa started 33 games for the Royals over two seasons (2006-07). He posted an ERA above five both seasons. DLR has enjoyed life at Coors Field which no pitcher in their right mind would say.

De La Rosa is 43-14 overall at Coors with a 4.06 ERA, 1.337 WHIP with 379 strikeouts and 156 walks through 452 2/3 innings pitched. August hasn’t been a stellar month for him (3 starts, 17 hits, 11 ER, 13 SO, 2 BB). DLR has done his job eating innings tossing 19 2/3 innings.

If De La Rosa’s August hasn’t been stellar, Tyler Matzek‘s month has been down right bad. Matzek has shown an ability to grind this season but you could say he has slammed into the rookie wall. The lefty has given up 22 hits, 17 ER and five home runs through 15 IP.  His fastball is averaging 92.7 mph (60.6%) and his slider 83.5 (24.7%), the two pitches he’s leaned on this season.

Refer back to Adam’s series recap and catch your breath, yes he said the Rockies bullpen isn’t that bad!

About J.J. Buck

J.J. Buck - Sports radio host in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Also a student at the University of New Mexico. I grew up just outside of Denver in Arvada, Colorado. My parents took me to the first ever Rockies game at Mile High Stadium. While my memories are hazy, I was five years-old, it got me hooked on the game. My passion for sports runs deep. From the Rockies to the Avalanche, a Rocky Mountain sports fan to the bone.
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