Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM
With the San Francisco Giants suddenly racing out to the biggest divisional lead in Major League Baseball, this weekend’s showdown between Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies is a virtual elimination battle in the National League West. Whoever loses will be way out of the race for first place. If one team gets swept, chasing down a Wildcard will also be tough in a race that will likely include the series winner and the runner-up in the NL Central (currently the St. Louis Cardinals).
It’s only June…but the playoff picture is already taking shape in both leagues with most divisional leaders opening up some space. Dodgers/Rockies is a BIG series!
Let’s start our evaluation on offense. You have to make HUGE adjustments here mentally because Colorado plays its home games at altitude in a hitting paradise, while Los Angeles plays its home games in a great pitcher’s park. The raw numbers pre-adjustment…
LA Dodgers: 4.21 runs per game, .320 on-base, .404 slugging
Colorado: 4.97 runs per game, .334 on-base, .465 slugging
Clearly the Rockies are superior across the board before you adjust for context. Let’s do that now. Here are these teams offensively this year in ROAD games only…
LA Dodgers: 4.66 runs per game, .337 on-base, .408 slugging
Colorado: 3.67 runs per game, .291 on-base, .396 slugging
Huge difference! The Dodgers have the better offense (particularly over the past month), and it’s not even close. On a neutral field, the Dodgers would have a big edge. When playing in LA, that means superiority in a low scoring environment. In Colorado, that means superiority in a high scoring environment. Keep that in mind this weekend, and all season when evaluating the Rockies.
We know LAD has an edge with the bats…so let’s move to the probable pitching matchups…
Hyun-Jin Ryu: 3.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.87 K-Rate
Eddie Butler: making MLB debut
How’s this for some added drama?! Eddie Butler is a hot young prospect for the Rockies. He’ll be making his Major League debut Friday Night…and have to face Yasiel Puig in his first inning! Talk about getting thrown in the deep end. This isn’t exactly starting in an out-of-the-way road game to get your feet wet. Home game…series opener…vs. big rival…with so much at stake in the race.
Ryu’s only lasting 5.8 innings per start this season, and his strikeout totals have fallen in recent action. The league may finally be catching up to him…which is hidden a bit in his full season numbers because it’s a low scoring year and he throws his home games in a pitcher’s park. He’s more vulnerable right now than the full season numbers suggest, but still likely to be a meaningful contributor going forward.
Zack Greinke: 2.50 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10.4 K-Rate
Jhoulys Chacin: 5.51 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.5 K-Rate
Greinke has slowed down in his last two starts after a reign of terror. But, you know he’s ace caliber and fully capable of dominating on any given night. Normally we’d warn you about park effects in Chacin’s numbers. But, four of his six starts have come on the road, and he’s mostly been facing bad offenses. So, he’s REALLY going to be in trouble fading an offense like the Dodgers at altitude. Mismatch on the mound to be sure. Sometimes the altitude is an equalizer that makes great pitchers mediocre. Rockies are hoping for that against Greinke.
Clayton Kershaw: 3.32 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 11.4 K-Rate
Jorge DeLaRosa: 3.68 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 6.5 K-Rate
This worked out about as well as possible for the Dodgers in a big series. Their three best rotation pitchers in terms of skill sets and full season projections will be on the mound for this crucial road battle. DeLaRosa is the ace of the Colorado staff with numbers like that. Very tough to post good ERA’s and WHIPS when you throw for the Rockies.
You can see from the pitching matchups in this series why the Dodgers are so much better positioned to make a playoff run than the Rockies. LA has a playoff caliber rotation (don’t forget about Josh Beckett!). Colorado is a longshot unless Butler has a great run through opponents’ first looks.
JIM HURLEY will be studying the full baseball board every day, so Dodgers/Rockies may or may not show up for major releases this weekend (though Greinke may prove irresistible on Saturday!). Don’t forget we also have THE BELMONT and Game Two of the NBA Finals. You can always purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
Here’s the NOTEBOOK schedule for the rest of the week:
Saturday: Boston at Detroit in MLB on FOX in prime time
Sunday: Game Two of the NBA Finals…Miami at San Antonio
Monday: MLB series preview for Oakland at the LA Angels
Tuesday: Game Three of the NBA Finals…San Antonio at Miami
A fantastic sports weekend is upon us with the final jewel of the 2014 Triple Crown in horse racing, the important second game of the NBA Finals, and another veritable baseball bonanza. Will there be a bigger weekend all summer? Make sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!