Series Six Pack: Brewers face struggling Rockies
By Benjamin Orr
Perhaps for the Milwaukee Brewers (52-61), Sunday’s win on the road will provide some confidence going forward. Yesterday’s win snapped an 11-game losing streak on the road for the Brew Crew. The Colorado Rockies (41-71) on the other hand, have just had a season that they would really like to forget. Tonight, both teams meet for the second and final time this season. The Brewers and Rockies met before in a three game series in late April in which the Rockies won two games to one. With August almost at its halfway point, both teams may not be on the fast track to the World Series, but perhaps for the Brewers, more wins on the road may pose a slightly possible wild card run.
For the Rockies offensively, they have been seeing the ball fairly well this season, being ranked 5th overall in batting average at .267. Behind the big bat of All-Star Carlos Gonzalez, unlikely heroes in Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer have also helped the offensive production for Colorado. Fowler is batting .292 on the year with 12 home runs, 42 RBIs and has 23 extra base hits, 11 of which are triples. Cuddyer is batting .260 with 15 home runs, 56 RBIs and has also come around to score 52 runs. With shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s injury, the Rockies have turned to rookie Josh Rutledge to take over that role temporarily. In Tulo’s absence, Rutledge has done incredibly well, hitting .327 with six home runs and 20 RBIs, mind you that’s in only 26 games played. Rutledge’s defense has some fine tuning to do, but once Tulo comes back I’m sure Rutledge may move over to third and have more chances to improve his defense.
The Brewers’ offense has been awake for so long, it’s just been to hard to notice it with the pitching blunders. Ryan Braun still leads the team in every offensive category even though he fell into a small 0-18 slump last week. Aramis Ramirez is threatening to break .300 as he is currently batting .292 and has been a huge part of the offense. Even Norichika Aoki is now hitting .290 so the Brewers’ offense is more than solid. With Jonathan Lucroy back, his bat has been far from quiet as he is hitting .333 in his last 10 games. The Brewers have a good offense and one that is really not much different than last year aside from Prince Fielder. This offense going into next year should be just fine as they have proven from June that they are for real.
Pitching wise for the Rockies, it’s been one giant mess. They rank last in every pitching category and have really found no solutions for their problems. With the bullpen in chaos, the starting rotation hasn’t responded the way manager Jim Tracy would like. Rex Brothers has the most wins on the team with six, and he’s a relief pitcher. That says a lot about the pitching state of the Rockies and how it may very well not improve by the end of the season. Perhaps a positive for the Rockies is that Matt Belisle has 18 holds on the season, which is tied for 7th in the NL. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot going right for them.
Looking at pitching from the Brewers’ perspective, it hasn’t been any easier. With the closer role now between four possible players, the bullpen might as well just play dead for the rest of the season. John Axford may be the guy that Ron Roenicke will likely still call the main closer, but with Kameron Loe acquiring his first save of the season yesterday, perhaps the Ax-Man’s job isn’t as secure. The starting pitching has been pretty good and the Brewers saw a great performance out of Yovani Gallardo yesterday.
Here are the projected pitching match-ups and start times for this series:
- Monday: Mike Fiers (6-4, 1.80 ERA) vs Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.06 ERA) – 8:40 PM EST / 7:40 PM CST
- Tuesday: Randy Wolf (3-8, 5.46 ERA) vs Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 5.06 ERA) – 8:40 PM EST / 7:40 PM CST
- Wednesday: Mark Rogers (0-1, 4.08 ERA) vs Drew Pomeranz (1-7, 5.04 ERA) 3:10 PM EST/ 2:10 PM CST
As always, good luck to the Rockies, but go Brew Crew.