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Milwaukee Brewers Series Preview: Colorado Rockies

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The last time the Milwaukee Brewers played the Colorado Rockies, hopes were high as the season began and the Rockies quickly dashed those hopes. With a three game sweep as their offense looked like the 1927 Yankees the Rockies dominated Milwaukee.

While their bats have continued to hit this season, the pitching has not continued to dominate like they did against Milwaukee in those first three games. Instead of maintaining their hot start, the team is currently ten games under .500 as they find themselves at the bottom of the National League West.

With the help of Bobby DeMuro at Roxpile, I was able to take a deeper look at the team. Here is what he had to say:

The Rockies looked awesome throughout the first series in Milwaukee. What has gone wrong for them that has put them into the bottom of the tough National League West at this point?

Well, everything. The pitching has been awful pretty much ever since the Rockies left Milwaukee, and although there’s been a few weeks here and there of bright spots (the Rockies nearly got to .500 about a week ago) things have collapsed at points, too. The Rockies have endured an 11-game losing streak and are now in the middle of a streak of 1-6 in their last seven games (I write this as the Thursday day game with Houston is about to get underway).

I wrote earlier about the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild and the trade candidates. Are the Rockies headed towards a rebuild and if so who are some players that you see them moving in these next few months?

Yes, the Rockies need to be thinking rebuild and trade. Tulo is the biggest name out there, as well as Carlos Gonzalez. I’d prefer the Rockies didn’t trade Tulo, but if they do, boy, they better get a hell of a haul in return. More realistic trade candidates include Justin Morneau (if he can get healthy), Wilin Rosario (if an AL team can think of a position for him, or suddenly has a need at DH), and possibly starters like Kyle Kendrick (believe it or not) and Jorge De La Rosa.

Nolan Arenado has been awesome this season. Who are some other Rockies to watch for this series and is there anyone who has really surprised at the plate this season?

DJ LeMahieu, for sure. LeMahieu deserves to be an All Star at second base, backing up Dee Gordon in the game in July. He hits well with two outs, with RISP, to all fields, and he’s a Gold Glove winner. Long term he probably isn’t as good as Arenado will be, but LeMahieu has been phenomenal this season.

Former Brewers closer, John Axford has been great this season in the Rockies bullpen. What has been the biggest key to his success?

He throws a lot of strikes! He doesn’t get too many chances to get the job done in the closer’s role, but when he does, he’s sharp and quick. The Rockies desperately needed him, after LaTroy Hawkins collapsed at the start of the year, and Rafael Betancourt is now on the DL, as well.

The Rockies drafted a player who looks like a future superstar in Brendan Rogers in the June draft. What can you tell us about him and when do you project him making an impact in Colorado?

It looks like the Rockies got the best player available in the entire draft when he fell to them at third, so that’s something. Signability evidently wasn’t the issue, either, as he’s already locked up — under his slot recommendation — and will be heading to rookie ball in Grand Junction, Colorado, this week. The Rockies really like him at shortstop, and seem to want to fast track him to the big leagues (you know, as much as you can fast track a high school kid — this isn’t a polished college SS we are discussing). Either way, the Rockies did really well in the draft this year, and came away with one of the better draft classes in baseball. At least they can win at something.

Jon Gray was a pitcher who looked like he was going to be up in Colorado soon when the year began. Although he hasn’t appeared to have a great year numbers-wise do you see him making it into the team’s rotation this year?

It’s funny you mention Jon Gray, because there is perhaps an outside chance that he makes his Major League Debut against the Brewers this weekend. He’s starting to throw very well in AAA after a tough first month of the season, and his sustained success, coupled with some of the Rockies’ starters really beginning to struggle — in addition to the Super Two deadline having passed — indicate he may be in Colorado much sooner, rather than later. Whether it’s this weekend or not, assuming there isn’t a catastrophic injury or a complete breakdown of ineffectiveness on the mound, Jon Gray will absolutely make his big league debut this season.

After a dominating sweep the first time around, what are your predictions for the series this weekend?

I can flat guarantee the Rockies won’t sweep you guys. Hell, maybe they will, but let’s be real. This club is hard to figure, though — they took two of three against the Cardinals the last time they faced an NL Central opponent a week ago, so… who the hell knows? All I can say is, I’m glad Kyle Kendrick’s turn in the rotation is already past us, and I’m not sure I can imagine him getting another one, but… yeah.

Pitching Match-ups:

Taylor Jungmann 1-1 2.25 vs. Jorge De La Rosa 4-2 4.29

Kyle Lohse 3-8 6.44 vs. Chad Bettis 2-2 3.74

Matt Garza 4-8 5.07 vs. Chris Rusin 5.14

Next: 10 Brewers Prospects Eying Promotions

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