Tribe Travels to the Rockies for Rare Series at Coors Field
Bob Toth | On 06, Jun 2017
The Indians’ interleague tour of the National League West continues this week as Cleveland travels a mile high to Denver for a brief two-game set with the Colorado Rockies this week.
The Indians (29-26) could benefit from a trip out of the division. Their recently completed series with the Kansas City Royals highlighted an issue this season – too much time playing in the AL Central. The Indians fell to 4-5 against the Royals by dropping two of three over the weekend, which lowered their record in the division to 13-14. Interleague play has been a similar story for the club, as they have lost series to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds thus far this season to post a 1-5 record against National League opponents.
The Rockies (36-23) have raced out to one of the best marks in the NL this season and have been fending off both the Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot in the league. They are off to the best start in franchise history and own the second best record in the National League, trailing only the 36-20 start by the Washington Nationals. The Rockies lost just two series in May – a mid-month three-game series against the Dodgers and a four-game set with the Seattle Mariners to close out the month. Over the weekend, they took two of three from San Diego, outscoring them 18-10 before an off-day Monday.
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Clevinger will make his second career interleague start in the series opener with the Rockies and his first appearance against the National League since making his Major League debut against the Cincinnati Reds last season. He took the loss in his last start against Oakland on May 31 to end his May with a 2-2 record and a 3.10 ERA. He allowed three runs on five hits with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings in that start, his second-longest outing of the campaign.
The 22-year-old rookie righty Senzatela has impressed in his debut campaign for the Rockies. Through eleven starts, he has posted a 1.16 WHIP and has made six quality starts for the club. He has also been the recipient of plenty of run support, as the Rockies are averaging 8.33 runs scored per nine innings in his starts.
Bauer saw his start on Sunday come to an early end as Mother Nature dropped a nearly two-hour rain delay five outs into his start against Kansas City. He was coming off of career-best performance against Oakland in his previous start when he struck out 14 batters in a 9-4 win. While Bauer began his career in the National League West as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he has never faced the Rockies.
Marquez, the 22-year-old second-year right-hander, will look to stay to the positive in regards to winning percentage for both the season and his career as he makes his 12th career start and ninth of the season for the Rockies. Originally signed by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, the Venezuela native debuted last September in relief. He won his first Major League start later that month, becoming the second-youngest Colorado pitcher ever to earn a win, falling just six days short of matching the record.
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Abraham Almonte (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/16) – right biceps strain
Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF) – activated from 7-day concussion disabled list (6/6)
Brandon Guyer (OF) – 10-day disabled list (5/14) – left wrist sprain
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (6/4) – right shoulder soreness
Tyler Anderson (SP) – 10-day disabled list (6/1) – left knee inflammation
Chad Bettis (SP) – 60-day disabled list (3/26) – testicular cancer
David Dahl (OF) – 10-day disabled list (3/30) – stress reaction in sixth rib
Jon Gray (SP) – 10-day disabled list (4/14) – left foot stress fracture
Tom Murphy (C) – 10-day disabled list (3/30) – hairline fracture of right forearm; on rehab assignment
Adam Ottavino (RP) – 10-day disabled list (5/30) – right shoulder inflammation
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The brief all-time series between Cleveland and Colorado has been limited to 21 contests, with the Indians taking eleven and the Rockies taking ten. The bulk of the wins for the Indians have come in Cleveland, where they are 9-3 in the series. At Coors Field, it is a much different story as they are just 2-7.
The two teams met for the first time in 2002 and played for four straight seasons. The head-to-head matchup returned in 2008, 2011, and 2014. The last time the Indians visited the Rockies’ home was in 2008, when they were swept in three straight. The Indians have not won in Denver since June 16, 2002.
ROCKIES BY THE NUMBERS
Charlie Blackmon, leadoff hitter and one of the best center fielders in baseball, is the Major League hit leader with 79. Not necessarily the typical build of a leadoff hitter, he is hitting .328 with 13 homers and 47 RBI on the year. He enters the game coming off of three straight two-hit games against the San Diego Padres.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado has hit in all four games to start June to boost his batting average eleven points. He is tied with Mark Reynolds for the team’s home run lead with 14 and is third with 39 RBI while hitting .289 on the year.
Outfielder Gerardo Parra is 6-for-13 (.462) in the last week. In those five games, he has five singles, a double, two walks, and three runs batted in.
The Rockies are averaging 10.7 runs per game at Coors, the top home field mark in baseball. Their earned run average (5.04) at home, however, is the worst in the league.
The Rockies and manager Bud Black have some ties to the Indians organization.
Black spent two stints in an Indians uniform, with the first coming from 1988 to 1990 before he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays. He returned to Cleveland in 1995, going 4-2 with a 6.85 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP in eleven games (ten starts) before his July release. Those outings would be his final big league appearances as a player.
Black is in his first season as the Rockies skipper after spending nine seasons at the helm of the NL West’s San Diego Padres. He led the club to just two winning seasons during that span, with a top mark of 90-72 in a second place finish in 2010. That season, he was named the National League’s Manager of the Year.
Tony Wolters is one of the top hitters on the club, hitting .301 with a .405 on-base percentage this season in 35 games. He has hit in four straight games, six of his last seven, and ten of his last twelve. He was snatched off of waivers by the Rockies in spring training last season and made the Colorado roster despite never playing above the Double-A level.
Reynolds, who spent a forgettable stint in Cleveland in 2013, has reemerged as a power threat in the Rockies lineup. He is tied for the team lead in homers with 14 and is second on the squad with 46 RBI this season. His batting average, always notably low throughout his career, is at a strong .295.
INDIANS IN DEPTH
Michael Brantley is hitting .333 in the last week with five hits in 15 at bats. He looks to be fully recovered from injuries that cost him nearly the entirety of his 2016 campaign as he is tops on the club with a .309 average and .375 on-base percentage this season. Since returning from an ankle injury in the first week of May, he has hits in 20 of 21 games while hitting .341 with a .413 on-base percentage. Twenty-two of his 28 hits in that span have been singles and he has added ten walks.
Jose Ramirez’s last five contests with hits have been multi-hit games. After a down month of May (.258/.330/.398), he has four hits in eleven at bats (.267) to start June.
Daniel Robertson is hitting .286 in the last week with four hits, including a pair of doubles, and three RBI.
The Indians will take Thursday off, their second day off in a span of four days. They will open a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox over the weekend before hosting the Rockies’ division rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, from Tuesday to Thursday next week. With their nine-game homestand complete, the Rockies will head east to Chicago for a seven-game road trip, starting with four with the Cubs before three more with the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning Monday.
Photo: Denis Poroy/Getty Images