These last nine or 10 days is a perfect time to see the various teams as starters play longer into games and starting pitchers look to build arm strength with more innings of work.
The vast majority of MLB handicappers and sportsbooks are not calling for winning seasons from either team and another long season could be in the works for each.
Here is what we thought coming into the season our impressions from today.
Colorado – Projected Win Total 71 wins – 4th in the NL West
As those making MLB picks on futures wagers and season win totals against the betting odds compared Colorado and Arizona this spring, they preferred the Rockies. After being tied with the Diamondbacks on MLB odds for last place in the division and 70 season wins, they have pulled ahead of the Snakes to fourth place and moved to 71 wins in the NL West division race.
It’s impossible to ignore their offense as they still finished third in runs scored and 1st in slugging percentage even with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez combining for only 515 at bats.
Herein lies the problem with Colorado’s offense, it is built around these two players who are injury-prone. Last year was the perfect example of what these players meant in terms of leadership, especially on the road.
The Rockies averaged a robust 6.2 runs per game at home, but on the road, that total was cut in half to 3.1 RPG, which was at least half the reason Colorado was 21-60 away from Denver, losing -33.9 units for anyone who dared to use them with sports picks.
The truth is they need Tulo and Cargo in the lineup for 130 to 140 games, along talented third-baseman Nolan Arenado and 1B Justin Morneau just to have a chance to see .500.
The starting pitching is still going to be a conundrum but at least it’s not all the same old pitchers or retreads. There is young talent like Jordan Lyles, Tyler Matzek and possibly ace in the making Jon Gray. At least there is promise.
Just the fact 42-year LaTroy Hawkins in the Rockies bullpen speaks to how unimpressive this contingent is.
If healthy, Colorado might climb to 75 to 77 wins, but depending on injury-prone players, young pitchers and no bullpen generally spells trouble.
Game Notes: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Colorado Rockies
It was terrific to see the 23-year old Gray start for the Rockies, allowing two singles in four scoreless innings. The radar gun reached 97 MPH on more than one his fastballs and his breaking pitches either had Milwaukee batter swinging feebly or taking, but not 100 percent certain to swing with how close the pitches were. Gray is a big dude at 6’4, 235 and has never pitched above Double-A, but is being given serious consideration to fit in the rotation.
In Colorado’s 5-1 win on a perfectly sunny 85-degree day in Salt Rivers Fields in Scottsdale, Arenado was the hitting star with a home run (his 4th) and an opposite field double. Outfielder Tim Wheeler also went yard for the Rockies.
On this day, Walt Weiss’s team also flashed the leather with four notable defensive plays that took away hits.