The Rockies and Reds play tonight in the second of a three-game series. Colorado won the first game last night 9-6, and were pretty comfortable throughout the game until the Reds scored three in the bottom of the 9th. The teams have met four times this season, with the Rockies 3-1 up over those games. Their only loss to the Reds was in a close 6-5 defeat in which Chris Rusin, Rockies relief pitcher, came in and gave up two runs off two hits.
Colorado’s win last night halted their four-game skid, and kept their record above .500 (31-29). Fortunately, that record is enough to keep them well within a chance to win their division as they’re only one game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks – although the resurgent LA Dodgers are hot on their tails on a four-game winning streak.
The Reds haven’t had a winning record since 2013 and have been one of the worst teams in baseball since then. They’re currently bottom of the NL Central, which is something they’ve been used to having not finished any higher since 2014.
Jon Gray starts for the Rockies tonight, and although he’s top of their starting rotation (after back-to-back 10-win seasons), he has an ERA of 9.33 over his past 4 starts. His only win over those games was against the Reds. He has been relatively erratic this season, with his hits per 9 rate the highest it’s been since he entered the league. However, his 10.5 K/9 is the best of his career. Sal Romano is the home starter tonight, and this is his 2nd season in the majors. Hhis 6.00 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over 12 starts isn’t anything to smile about. He also has a higher H/9 rate and lower K/9 rate than Gray, as well as a -0.6 WAR – his pitches are definitely more hittable. That’s something the Rockies will be pleased about, as they need to turn a corner with their bats.
After being pretty consistent at the plate over the last few seasons, the Rockies’ slash line is significantly worse than their last five seasons. The pitching has slightly improved, especially since 2015 when they had the worst ERA in the league. The Rockies are the only team with a winning record to have a minus-run differential (-28). The Reds’ current record of 21-40 (.344) is the joint third worst in the league, and they have a run differential of -74 (4th worst in baseball). They also have the 2nd-worst ERA in the league, looking set to maintain their record of finishing in the bottom three in ERA every year since 2014.
Neither team is missing anyone of note for tonight’s game.
The Rockies always have a chance when players like Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon are healthy. Lefty Blackmon will look to feast off the right-hand pitching of Romano tonight as the Rockies will want to start to build up some momentum to put the rest of their tough division under pressure. I fully expect Colorado to start to turn a corner with their bats, and against the lowly Reds they’re 28-17 in runs scored over the four meetings between the two this year.
Prediction: Colorado Rockies to beat the Cincinnati Reds.