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Colorado Rockies (37-52) @ Milwaukee Brewers (49-39)
Who's on Tap?:
July 7th: Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8, 4.50 ERA) vs. Seth McClung (5-3, 4.18 ERA)
July 8th: Mark Redman (2-3, 7.05 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (6-8, 3.83 ERA)
July 9th: Greg Reynolds (2-6, 6.71 ERA) vs. Manny Parra (8-2, 3.69 ERA)
July 10th: Jorge De La Rosa (3-4, 6.58 ERA) vs. Ben Sheets (10-2, 2.77 ERA)
Who Should You Watch?:
The Rockies can just not get healthy as they have placed at least nine different players on the DL and most recently had to place Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton and Jeff Francis on the list within the last week. This really hogties the Rockies, who still managed to score 35 runs in their last three games. Matt Holliday has a lot to do with that. Holliday is batting .343/.424/.566 this season and has recorded a hit in 21 of his last 22 games. A lot of those games were at home though, so the Rockies are hoping he can do the same outside of hitter-friendly Coors Field. On the mound, Brian Fuentes continues to be the talk of the town, as he may be able to be traded and offer some support for the ailing Rockies. Fuentes has struggled recently, so it's important he gets back on track. Elsewhere, Taylor Bucholz is well worth your time to check out if he takes the mound. He's carrying a 1.73 ERA in 41.2 innings this year and you wonder why he hasn't been moved to the rotation considering how awful it's been.
For the Brewers, it's C.C. Sabathia time. Sabathia will be announced as the Brewers new starting pitcher this morning in just a few house. Sabathia has only seen Miller Park twice in his career, one of which was last year's make up game against the Angels when Brewers fans paid ten dollars for general admission tickets. Sabathia went seven innings in that game and got to see Brewers' fans do the wave in slow mo, fast forward and split down the middle. The fans are a bit crazy to say the least. At the plate, it's time for Corey Hart to make his last pitch to be an All Star. I've done my fair share of voting for him already. I think he's way way under rated as far as his skills go. Look for Corey to try and do it all this weekend, stealing bases, hitting the ball hard and showing off his incredible range in right.
Keys to Victory:
The Rockies are going to give up a lot of runs... A LOT. Their ERAs are a bit bloated because of Coors Field, but Coors isn't that awful to pitchers, especially since the humidor was installed. Anyways, the poor starting pitching really forces the hurting Rockies to try and tack on runs in bunches. If the Rockies plan on being successful, Holliday will need Clint Barnes, Ryan Spilborghs and Garret Atkins to continue deliver. If just one of these guys falls off the wagon, the Rockies could fall just as well.
The Brewers need to show patience following yesterday's game. They had 12 extra-base hits in yesterday's game, but if they try to repeat it against these guys, they'll find themselves striking out more than they would like to. Jimenez has walked 52 in 100 innings and Reynolds 24 in just 57.2 innings. Redman only has one good year under his belt as far as success goes and De La Rosa is just not a good pitcher, as Brewers fans remember. The mistakes will be there to hit, but you'll have to wait on one and not get greedy. The excitement of Sabathia's arrival could make things a little testy and we'll have to see how the young squad will respond.
Predictions and Notes:
- With one move the Brewers have struck fear into the NL Central leading Cubs and Wild Card leading Cardinals. No team is particularly interested in facing Ben Sheets, Manny Parra and C.C. Sabathia in one series. The Rockies get the first look of what this could mean for the surging Brewers.
- Tonight's game will be interesting because the excitement at Miller Park will start early and the fans will no doubt be electric. But I think the more interesting thing is the pitching match up. Jimenez gave up four runs in in six innings of work in his last outing against the Brewers, but was saved by Guillermo Mota's blow up in the eighth. McClung has struggled in his last two outings and benefited from some phenomenal defense in his last start. He continues to show flashes of a consistent starter though, settling down in his last three innings and keeping the Brewers in the game, which they eventually won. Look for the Brewers offense to pick it up again tonight and all series and roll over the streaking Rockies.
- As for the remaining three games, one of these guys is gonna be vulnerable and I'm going to say it's Ben Sheets. Now vulnerable doesn't mean he's going to get rocked, but it does mean that the Brewers offense will handcuff themselves for a game and make another bad pitcher look like an ace. Look for Sheets to have a quality start, but the offense can't pick him up. Sabathia will be lights out in his first performance. His arrival almost guarantees a sell out and the crowd in Milwaukee will be all over every pitch and strike out. Parra deserves props in his own right. I can't imagine what this team would look like if he hadn't shown up and became a solid two starter. Look for him to have continued success this weekend and pick up his ninth win.
- I should be back this afternoon to discuss the ramifications of today's trade. For the current details, check out my last article that lays out the deal.