Series Preview – Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants – 8/25/14-8/28/14

(Stubbs - zimbio.com)

Colorado Rockies (52-77) at San Francisco (68-61)

  • COL on the road (18-44), last 10 (6-4).
  • SF at home (32-32), last 10 (6-4).

Probable Starters:

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

Do You Have A Sign? - Sitting 4.5 games behind Los Angeles and in the final Wild Card spot San Francisco will be looking to put an odd week behind them which saw them win a protest and got roughed up by Washington.

Hunter Pence signs have taken over the world. The quirky outfielder leads the Giants in hits (151) and home runs (18). Pence is hitting .296/.286/.556 over his last six games looking to end the month on a high note as August overall has been his worst month in average, .258 and OBP, .286.

(Pence - www.sfgate.com)

(Pence – www.sfgate.com)

Panik has set in at second base. 23 year-old Joe Panik that is. Hitting .307/.355/.371 through 42 games and injecting life into the Giants middle infield. In his last five starts Panik has slashed .435/.458/.565.

Those two will complement the core of the Giants offense, Buster Posey (15 HR, 61 RBI’s) , Pablo Sandoval (14 HR, 59 RBI’s) and Angel Pagan (.301/.341/.392). Pagan did miss two games with a strained calf over the weekend.

The Giants are on track to have their best averages of any month this season .278/.321/.413, with 92 runs scored and 16 home runs. The spacious outfield and ocean air make AT&T park very friendly to hurlers. San Francisco wouldn’t mind feasting on Rockies pitchers to help boost their .500 home record and 3.6 runs per-game. While their home average (.247) doesn’t differ from their road average (.250), the power numbers do. The Giants have gone deep 69 times on the road opposed to 40 at home.

Wading through - San Francisco picked up veteran Jake Peavy to do what he’s done, eat innings and give the Giants a chance. Since being acquired from Boston Peavy has started five games throwing 32 2/3 innings. Despite opponents putting the ball in play, 33 hits and a .273/.323/.413 batting line against, he has limited runs scored to 14. That’s good for a 3.58 ERA.

Madison Bumgarner is 3-for-8 with two home runs and seven RBI’s against the Rockies this season. The 24 year-old is the young gun and leader of the Giants rotation. He leads the team with 176 innings pitched and 179 strikeouts. He has posted a 3.17 ERA with a 1.136 WHIP overall. In four starts against the Rockies Bumgarner has given up 32 hits and 13 runs in 27 IP with a .305/.365/.495 batting line against.

strike-zone (2)

Tim Hudson can pitch. The 39 year-olds 2.99 ERA leads all Giants starters. However August has been the roughest month of the season for Hudson. Through four starts (20.1 IP) he has surrendered 13 runs on 26 hits including three home runs with a .313 batting average against. That leads to a 4.87 ERA and 1.574 WHIP both which would be his highest monthly totals this season. The veteran is continuing the trend of his career, inducing ground balls. 53.6 percent of balls in play this season have been just that.

Manager Bruce Bochy knows it’s time to do whatever needed to win games.

Bochy talked about possibly skipping Tim Lincecum‘s next start after Sundays loss,”When you are talking about that game it’s who gives us our best chance to win. That is call-up time, too.”

Lincecum is scheduled to pitch the series finale Thursday. His last three starts, 3.1 IP verses Kansas City, 5 IP verses Philadelphia and 2.2 IP against the Nationals. Lincecum gave up 14 ER while walking 11 and striking out six.

The meat of Bochy’s bullpen has combined for a 1.031 WHIP and 177 strikeouts. That’s lefties Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt and right-handers Jean Machi, J.C. Romero and Sergio Romo. Romo and his slider have closed 23 games this season but ran into some struggles allowing Santiago Casilla to step in and finish 11 games. Yusmeiro Petit has been a starter and reliver this seaon posting a 3.79 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 17 walks over 76 IP. A look at DailyBaseBallData.com shows the pens usage over the last seven days.

Down the Stretch – The 143 2/3 innings thrown between Triple-A and MLB this season is a career high in innings for 23 year-old Tyler Matzek. The rookie struggled to start August (15 IP, 22 hits, 16 ER, 5 HR’s against) and responded in a big way against Kansas City. Matzek threw 98 pitchers over 6 2/3 innings inducing 17 ground balls while giving up three runs on six hits. He has flashed the ability to succeed at the big league level and demonstrated the attitude needed to survive a mile high.

Jorge De La Rosa feasted on his former team with his best start of August tossing eight innings of five hit two run ball against the Royals. If only the Rockies could have more DLR’s in the rotation. Someone looking into how much it would cost to clone him. The Giants have been a thorn in his side this season. In four starts DLR has a 5.28 ERA, 1.435 WHIP as San Francisco has scored nine runs on 14 hits in 15.1 IP. The last time he toed the rubber in San Francisco his start was cut short due to back stiffness as he only lasted three innings. DLR will be looking to set a new tone against the Giants this week.

hit-chart (3)

Speaking of turning things around Franklin Morales needs to get the fish stink off of him. Miami slapped him around over the weekend scoring six runs on eight hits in four innings. Morales has not enjoyed his four innings of work at AT&T park this year. He gave up six hits, three of which left the park. If Morales can’t get the stink off early he won’t be able to fight off the seagulls on his way to an early shower.

Jordan Lyles will be looking to buck the five inning blues Thursday afternoon. He gave the Rockies a chance over the weekend tossing 5 2/3 innings giving up three runs to the Marlins. His last three outings: 5.1 IP, 101 pitches verses San Diego; 5 IP, 96 pitches verses Cincinnati and 100 pitches thrown to Miami. Opponents have been putting good wood on balls with a .368 average on balls-in-play over his last two starts.

 Depth – As Michael Cuddyer hits the disabled list once again Colorado’s outfield will be ok in the hands of Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon and the streaking Drew Stubbs.

Stubbs enters San Francisco hitting .421/.450/.684 over his last five games. On the year Stubbs has 16 home runs, 39 RBI’s and 16 stolen bases.

Colorado has won six of their last nine games and they averaged 6.2 runs per-game in those contests. If you take a snap shot of their last five games the Rockies are hitting .315/.386/.543 with nine home runs and 26 runs scored. Adam Peterson has a look back at the weekend against Miami in which the Rockies offense got some help from their pitchers.

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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