You get to play, Papi! Photo by Kelly O'Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

You get to play, Papi!
Photo by Kelly O’Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

Ah, interleague play. A delightful little thing. Where the traditionalists love to tote the pitcher batting and – what? The Colorado Rockies are coming to Fenway? Really? YES! No ridiculous pitcher PAs! David Ortiz is a full-time player! Let’s get this show on the road! (Stats are of the 2013 season unless otherwise mentioned)

COLORADO ROCKIES39-38, 2nd place in the NL West

The Rockies, thanks to a more than helpful ballpark in Coors Field, are an offensive-minded team. They’re third in the majors in wOBA, behind the Red Sox and Tigers. Strangely, the team’s wRC+ is a decidedly average 100, which is quite odd. The pitching isn’t the burning, crumpled train wreck that it was last season, but instead it’s much improved, with their 3.72 team FIP good for 9th in the MLB. Colorado rolls into Boston after splitting a four-game series with the Washington Nationals. Upon arriving at the airport, the team was disappointed to find that marijuana is, in fact, still illegal outside of their home state (unless you’re Washington).

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

1 – Dexter Fowler – CF – .295 AVG/.393 OBP/.480 SLG

  • Extremely productive center fielder. A whiz at getting on base. Has some pop in his bat (.185 ISO).
  • Good on the basepaths as well. 12 steals and 3.8 runs above average in Fangraphs’ baserunning metric. In short, he’ll give Jarrod Saltalamacchia fits.
  • Has the highest walk rate on the team at 12%, which says a lot about the rest of the lineup’s patience.

2 – DJ LeMahieu – 2B - .295/.352/.402 (in 124 PA)

  • Infield bench player given a full-time gig at second due to injuries & others’ lack of production at the plate. Has some speed with 9 steals.
  • Pretty drastic splits between being home at Coors Field and away games – .370 wOBA at home, .270 wOBA away.
  • He’s been quite lucky too, but that’s been his whole career. Owns a .348 career BABIP.

3 – Carlos Gonzalez – LF - .300/.371/.621

  • Best active player on the Rockies. He totes an fWAR of 3.8. *insert any & all Troy Tulowitzki injury reports here*
  • Highest strikeout rate of the qualified players on the team, with a 25.2 K%. Balances it out with a 10.3% walk rate.
  • Solid on the field, and with his baserunning. No longer plagued by huge home/away splits. Has a legitimate shot at a 30-30 season in 2013.

4 – Michael Cuddyer – RF - .339/.394/.573

  • Former Minnesota Twin whose power (unsurprisingly) spiked when he came to Colorado on a three-year deal.
  • His 2013 season’s ISO is the highest it’s been since his 32-homer season in 2009, when it was robust .245 over 650 PA.
  • Capable of starting at multiple positions, a la Ben Zobrist. Doesn’t come close to the glove that Zobrist has, however (career -54 Defensive Runs Saved).

5 – Wilin Rosario – C - .259/.295/.448

  • A player of extremes, so to speak. Good power hitter, and still has room to grow at 24 years old.
  • All-or-nothing guy at the plate. The ball will fly if he connects (21.5 LD%, 14.9 HR/FB%), and he’ll whiff if he doesn’t (4.5 BB%, 22.5 K%).
  • Mediocre behind the plate defensively. He’s not been as bad as his 2012 season, where he was 12 runs below average, but not great either.

6 – Todd Helton – DH - .252/.310/.394 (in 171 PA)

  • Old stalwart of the Rockies. Long removed from his 2000-2004 reign of dominance where he accumulated 34.7 fWAR over 5 seasons.
  • A low BABIP (.266) and a career second-worst walk rate of 8.2% have hindered Helton’s 2013 so far. Owns a low wOBA because of it (.309).
  • Helton’s 2013 fWAR (-0.8) shows that he’d nearly be a win worse than a replacement player. A shell of his former self, sadly.

7 – Nolan Arenado – 3B - .257/.295/.442

  • A rookie third baseman, Arenado was called up 53 games ago. Already a productive player with a 1.5 fWAR so far.
  • Fantastic fielder. His defense is worth 10 runs above average at the hot corner – much more than what the Rockies used to get.
  • Not yet all the way there with the bat. Prodigious power potential, but has a wRC+ of 88, albeit in 217 PA.

8 – Jordan Pacheco – 1B - .248/.286/.333 (in 162 PA)

  • Originally a bench corner infielder, Pacheco’s gotten increased playing time since his defense is better than Todd Helton’s, even if only slightly.
  • Abysmal with the bat. .274 wOBA, no real power to speak of, and the plate discipline he showed in the minors hasn’t translated to the bigs.
  • I keep staring at that 57 wRC+. It’s just so awful.

9 – Josh Rutledge – SS - .228/.290/.344

  • Middle infielder that showed a good contact-speed combo in the minors. Called up last year to replace Tulo when he went down (again).
  • Despite increasing his walk rate and decreasing the amount of strikeouts, a .250 BABIP has derailed his season so far.
  • He’s hit 14 homers in his career total of 500 PA, so it’s not like he has no power, just a little bit sprinkled here and there.

Who’s hot? – Last 14 games:

  • Rockies
    • Carlos Gonzalez (.294/.321/.667, 4 HR, 9 RBI)
    • DJ LeMahieu (.357/.386/.500, 15 hits in 45 PA, 4 SB)
  • Red Sox

Who’s not? – Last 14 games:

  • Rockies
    • Todd Helton (.241/.267/.241, 1 run, 1 RBI)
    • Tyler Colvin (.167/.211/.417, 6 hits in last 38 PA)
  • Red Sox
    • Daniel Nava (.132/.233/.289, 5 hits in last 43 PA)
    • Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.147/.216/.176, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

SERIES PROBABLES

Juan Nicasio vs. Ryan Dempster

Nicasio, if you can remember, was the pitcher who was nailed in the head by a line drive in 2011 and suffered a fractured vertebrae as a result. While he miraculously returned in 2012 to pitch, a knee injury limited him to 11 starts. Recently, however, he’s been shaky and inefficient, having needed 90+ pitches to go six innings or less. His low strikeout rate, along with a below average 1.14 HR/9, might be a boon to a Red Sox offense looking to bounce back from a Detroit series loss.

Speaking of home runs allowed, Ryan Dempster might be in trouble as well. Despite a career-high strikeout rate, Dempster’s given up a whopping 1.61 HR/9, and could face some dire threats with the 3-4-5 hitters in Colorado’s lineup. Expect this game to be a shootout.

Roy Oswalt vs. John Lackey 

Look at all that baseball goodness. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor

Look at all that baseball goodness.
Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor

Small sample size alert: Oswalt has a 19.8 K/9. Oh, and a 0.00 BB/9. Amazing what you can do in five innings, huh? Roy Oswalt’s career, however, has been defined by his ability to limit walks & homers and strand opposing runners. However, his last season with the Rangers was so bad, he was relegated to the bullpen and had 5.80 ERA and a 4.23 FIP. Could we see that Oswalt? Possibly. But I’d count on seeing the Oswalt we saw in Philadelphia – 3.44 FIP, 0.65 HR/9.

Set your watches to AWESOME O’CLOCK. John Lackey will be back on the mound, showing off a shiny 3.03 ERA and a fantastic 51.9 GB%. This will be the game of the week, folks, simply because of The Greatest Starting Pitcher in the History of Baseball(tm). When Lackey throws his 27-pitch perfect game, ESPN will rue the day they didn’t decide to show the Rockies @ Red Sox Wednesday night game with John freakin’ Lackey pitching.

INJURY REPORT

  • Rockies
    • Carlos Gonzalez: Questionable for Tuesday’s game (June 24th, cramping in left leg)
    • Rafael Betancourt: 15-day DL (June 1st, strained right groin)
    • Troy Tulowitzki: 15-day DL; expected to miss 4-6 weeks (June 14th, broken right rib)
    • Edgmer Escalona: 15-day DL (June 10th, sore left triceps)
  • Red Sox
    • Shane Victorino: Doubtful for Tuesday’s game (June 24th, lower back tightness)
    • Franklin Morales: Expected to be placed on 15-day DL (June 23rd, strained left shouder/pectoral)
    • David Ross: 7-day DL (June 15th, concussion)
    • Clay Buchholz: 15-day DL (June 9th, strained neck)

IN CONCLUSION

Enjoy the offense, cry over the pitching & the fact that you won’t get to see Tulo play. Two-game interleague series at Fenway! Woo-hoo!

Categories: 2013 Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox Carlos Gonzalez Clay Buchholz Colorado Rockies Daniel Nava David Ortiz David Ross Dexter Fowler DJ LeMahieu Franklin Morales Jarrod Saltalamacchia Jordan Pacheco Josh Rutledge Juan Nicasio Michael Cuddyer Nolan Arenado Rafael Betancourt Roy Oswalt Todd Helton Troy Tuowitzki Wilin Rosario

Brett Cowett is a young, die-hard Red Sox fan. An undergrad at Arizona State University, Brett is studying digital journalism with a minor in Dustin Pedroia studies. Apart from laughing at Nick Swisher's escapades in the field, Brett enjoys the occasional sci-fi flick, playing Halo, and being snarky. Follow him at @BACowett for more baseball, random musings, and random baseball musings.

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