The 17-24 Colorado Rockies host the 18-22 Cincinnati Reds for a three-game series at Coors Field in Denver. The two teams share more than sub-.500 records.
That the Reds haven’t won a postseason series since 1995 is a sad but well known fact for the team’s fans. The Rockies can match our postseason futility in certain respects. Since they were swept by the Red Sox in the 2007 World Series (Willy Taveras was their CF), the Rockies have only appeared in eight postseason games. Of those, they have won one, and that was in 2009. Their most recent postseason games were in 2017 and 2018, the former being a 1-and-out loss in the Wild Card play-in game.
Since they began as an expansion team in 1993, the Rockies have never won their division, finishing 2nd four times in 30 seasons. Their 68-94 record in 2022 was good for last in their division and 43 games behind the LA Dodgers. The Reds lost 100 games last year, 31 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
Also much like the Reds, the Rockies faced financial uncertainty this season due to the shaky status of their broadcast partner. While the Reds ultimately have been paid by Bally Sports, in the Rockies case AT&T Sports Net did reneg on their $40-50 million right fee. Instead of slashing payroll by $30+ million like the Reds did, Rockies owner Charlie Monfort boosted his payroll from $136 million to $173 million.
- Monday (8:40 pm)
- Tuesday (8:40 pm)
- Wednesday (3:10 pm)
The Rockies were 4-2 against the Reds last year, sweeping the three games in Colorado and outscoring David Bell’s team 24-8. Veteran skipper Bud Black has led the Rockies since 2017.
The Rockies offseason was also similar to that of the Reds: one lower-tier free agent signing and a bunch of curb shopping. Colorado did spend up a bit on a couple relief pitchers.
- Jurickson Profar (OF) free agent, 1 year, $7.75 million
- Harold Castro (2B) free agent, arbitration $1.3 million
- Mike Moustakas (1B/3B) waivers, 1 year, league minimum
- Connor Seabold (SP) trade, Boston, league minimum
- Pierce Johnson (RP) free agent, 1 year, $5 million
- Brent Suter (RP) waivers, arbitration, $3 million
- Brad Hand (RP) free agent, 1 year, $3 million
- Nick Mears (RP) free agent
At the top end of their payroll, you have Kris Bryant making $28 million, Charlie Blackmon at $15 million and Kyle Freeland pulling in $10.5 million.
The Rockies offense ranks near the bottom, like the Reds. They are 29th in wRC+ (Reds 26th), 24th in ISO power (Reds 26th), 10th in batting average (Reds 14th) and 23rd in walk rate (Reds 18). You might wonder how the Rockies hit in the high altitude of Coors Field. Looking at “home” splits, they still rank 28th overall, 17th in power and 2nd in batting average. The Rockies aren’t much of a threat to run. They’re next-to-last in the league with 13 stolen bases.
Two Rockies players — CJ Cron and Ryan McMahon — have put up ISO power numbers better than the league average of .159. Kris Bryant has five homers, but his overall ISO is .146.
Here are the 13 Rockies position players with their 2023 stats through Saturday.
Former first-round pick 2B Brendan Rodgers is on the IL (shoulder surgery).
The Rockies have been working OF Randal Grichuk into their lineup. Grichuk missed the first month recovering from offseason hernia surgery. Here is a close guess of Bud Black’s batting order against a right-handed starter:
As a staff, the Rockies rank 22nd in ERA at 4.77 (Reds 26th at 4.93), 24th in xFIP (Reds 17th) and 21st in xERA (Reds 18th). Here is our chart for Rockies pitchers through Saturday.
Rockies ace Kyle Freeland pitched yesterday. Ryan Feltner started Saturday. Here are the series’ probable starters:
- Monday Hunter Greene vs. Connor Seabold
- Tuesday TBA vs. Chase Anderson
- Wednesday Graham Ashcraft vs. Austin Gomber
Overall, the Rockies bullpen ranks in the upper part of the middle of the pack. They have an impressive collection of xERA and K% (see the chart).
The right-handed Pierce Johnson has been Colorado’s closer with last-year’s guy Daniel Bard (34 saves) sidelined earlier in the season with anxiety. Bard is back from the IL and working lower-leverage spots. Justin Lawrence (R) and Bruce Suter (L) are the set-up guys.
The 32-year-old Johnson throws a curve for more than 50% of his pitches. A 95-mph fastball makes up most of the rest of his portfolio.
The Reds and Rockies are evenly matched. Edge to Colorado because of their home field advantage.
Image: Rockies Twitter