Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rockies-Mets Preview: April 16th, 2013

The Rays and Rangers played “the coldest game in the history of the Ballpark at Arlington,” last week. The temperature? 39 degrees --- Which would be balmy compared to the snow filled streets today in Denver.  The Rockies and Mets are scheduled to play a double header today at Coors, less than 24 hours after a typical spring storm dumped close to a foot of snow in the city. Ain’t no May flowers coming from these April showers. But hey, we need the moisture right?

The expected temperature for today’s afternoon first pitch is 37 degrees, with the sleet rolling in around the fourth inning. Baseball weather. According to the esteemed and respected sources that consume the Twitterverse, the MLB has already pre-approved a triple-header for Wednesday. I don’t think I’m alone in hoping for that scenario to play out; brings new meaning to the importance of a “Short memory.”

But, assuming the Rockies and Mets play the most miserable double header in baseball history (as if they weren’t miserable enough), here’s what you need to know:

  • ·      The Mets roll in with a 7-4 record, having just beaten the Twins in equally as miserable weather, so they are starting to get used to playing with snow balls. The Rockies come in having swept San Diego, so, I’m guessing this snow is just a bit different from the Southern California conditions, but that is pure speculation. The Mets have six wins against the Padres, Marlins and Twins, which aren’t exactly perennial contenders in today’s baseball landscape (A combined record of 10-28 in 2013), and dropped two of three against the only decent team they have played, the Phillies. That being said, the Rockies have all eight of their wins against the Brewers and the Padres, and had one of the most discouraging series I have ever witnessed last week in San Francisco. So both teams have beaten the worst teams in baseball this year, and seemingly joined the cellar-club when faced with solid competition. But for both teams, mediocrity would be an improvement over the misery of 2012.
  • ·      These teams match up surprisingly well in both pitching and batting. Both have pedestrian starting pitching and the Mets gain the advantage when it comes to the bullpen. There’s no hiding the fact that the Rockies “strength” coming into the season, their solid bullpen, has been virtually their only short coming thus far. Cold temperatures and April scheduling could bring the bullpen into focus in this series, so we’ll find out how this group responds. Both teams have swung the bats well also, ranking near the top of the National League in batting average (Mets .272 Rockies .277), Runs (Mets 69, Rockies 65), and the Blake Street Bullies gain the advantage over the entire Major Leagues in terms of Home Runs with 21 through only 12 games (Mets have 15).
  • ·      The only real discrepancy between these two teams in 2013 has been the defensive play. While the Rockies haven’t exactly been stellar, making 4 errors thus far, the Mets rank towards the bottom on the NL with 8 errors. To make matters worse, 8 runs have resulted from Metropolitan shortcomings contributing directly to one of the Mets four losses thus far. Defense will be even more important in the wet, cold conditions here in Anchorag—I mean Denver.

Bottom line: The two games today will emphasize the importance of defense and pitching. Whichever team gets better starting pitching tonight, will set itself up for a successful series.  Pitch counts will be extremely important, and the Rockies can ill afford to walk several batters (yes, that means you Nicasio). The Rockies offense needs to put the pressure on the Mets defense and put the ball in play. If they can continue to get solid starting pitching as they have in all of their wins this season, there’s no reason they can’t win this series. It’s highly unlikely that the offense will bail them out however, and this bullpen needs to step it up.

Player to watch: Troy Tulowitzki—Tulo has consistently destroyed the New York Mets and he needs to continue to do so tonight. With Dex out of the lineup for at least the first of the double header, this offense needs to find its spark from those who are paid to do so.

Tulo has a .373 BA with 4 HRs and 10 RBI in 51 AB against pitchers on the Mets roster including 2 hits in 3 trips against game one starter Dillion Gee.  

(Source: http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/batvspitch/_/id/28567/troy-tulowitzki)

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