It has been a rough last few weeks for the Colorado Rockies seemingly following out of the playoff picture. Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks have continued to remain in the thick of things. This sets up what should be an intriguing matchup on Monday night.
D’Backs eyeing playoff push
It has been a tough battle into the playoff picture in the NL for the Diamondbacks as they have had to work through various issues that have emerged throughout the season. They have been able to stay on the right track for the most part having won six out of their last 10 games that have them in the thick of the NL wildcard picture with the NL West firmly out of reach, with the Los Angeles Dodgers holding a commanding lead over the rest of the division. The Diamondbacks are currently 2.5 games behind both the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers for the wildcard spots. Arizona has pushed forward behind the strong play of their offense that has several bright spots that have emerged as anchors in their line. This has seen third baseman Eduardo Escobar step in as their primary run producer as he leads the team with 93 RBI, which is currently second-most in the majors along with a team-best 25 home runs while batting .274.
Escobar has been their best asset when needed to drive in runs as he’s batting .306 with runners in scoring position, posting 58 RBI with six home runs. At the same time, second baseman Ketel Marte has become one of their most promising talents as he’s in the midst of a breakout campaign as he’s batting .316 with 24 home runs, 67 RBI, and 78 runs scored. Although the production hasn’t stood out since the All-Star break, he has been swinging an efficient bat as he’s batting .347 with four home runs, and 14 RBI since then. The play of both Marte and Escobar should factor into Monday’s game and will need to be big components with right-hander Merrill Kelly set to take the mound. Kelly has struggled a bit this season as he holds a 7-12 record with a 4.52 ERA through his first 23 starts. This will need the Diamondbacks bats to step it up against the Rockies’ batting order that has shown they can drive in runs. Simply put, this will be the difference in Monday’s contest.
Rockies plagued by pitching woes
It has been more of a downhill trend for the Rockies over the last few weeks that has taken them completely out of the mix in the NL wildcard picture. They have dropped eight out of their last 10 games, while their glaring shortcomings on the mound have become more apparent as the season has worn on. Colorado holds one of the worst pitching staffs in the majors that have continued to overshadow the strong production that they have received from their bats. The Rockies are at the bottom of the league in several statistical categories when it comes to their pitching as they are ranked 29th in ERA, last in opposing batting average, 29th in opposing slugging percentage, most hits allowed, fifth in most double given up, and sixth in most home runs allowed. They have simply had zero reliability from their pitching staff that has been their Achilles heel throughout the year. This has certainly been the case with the limited action that right-hander Peter Lambert has had this season as he struggled tremendously.
Lambert is currently holding a 2-3 record with a 6.81 ERA, a 1.58 WHIP, 13 home runs allowed, 71 hits given up and a .311 opposing batting average in just 55.0 innings pitched in his first 11 starts. He has been largely unstable this year as he’s also coming off a discouraging outing going just three innings against the Houston Astros where he gave up nine runs on seven hits, including two home runs and four walks. All of this just adds more pressure on their hitting to pick up the slack. All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado has been their anchor in that regard as he’s batting .306 with 26 home runs and 87 RBI this season, which has him pace to notch 36 home runs and 120 RBI. This would mark his fifth straight year notching at least 30 home runs and 110 RBI. Arenado has remained productive in the month of August as he’s hitting .357 with four home runs and six RBI in 28 at-bats. Ultimately, if the Rockies hope to get back in the right direction, it will need their offense to put forth a strong outing on Monday night.
- Rockies are 1-4 in Lambert’s last five starts against the National League West.
- Rockies are 1-4 in Lambert’s last five home starts.
- Rockies are 1-4 in Lambert’s last five starts with four days of rest.
- Diamondbacks are 4-1 in their last five games against the National League West.
- Diamondbacks are 5-2 in their last seven games overall.
- Diamondbacks are 5-2 in their last seven games on grass.