The Brewers return home after what was, all-in-all, a successful road trip in which they went 5-3 in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Let us never speak of what transpired on Thursday night again.
After catching a red-eye back home, the NL West-heavy portion of the schedule continues tonight with a weekend series against the Colorado Rockies.
The team that beat the Brewers out for a playoff spot by a single game last year enters this series at 58-50, 2 games out of first place in the NL West and 1.5 games behind Atlanta for the second wildcard spot (and 3 games behind the Brewers for the top wildcard).
The Rockies were hovering around .500 the last time the Brewers saw them, when the Crew took 3 of 4 — a series that was capped off by Freddy Peralta’s historic debut. After a disappointing month of June that saw them go 11-16, the Rockies caught fire in July with a 17-6 month, at one point winning 7 in a row and 12 of 14.
Nolan Arenado is once again a legitimate MVP candidate, hitting .308/.391/.592 with 28 home runs, 23 doubles, and 80 RBI. It’s not just the Coors Field Effect -- he also carries a .411 wOBA and 144 wRC+ and looks to be headed to his third straight 5+ WAR season.
Fellow All-Stars Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon also pack plenty of punch. Story is hitting .288/.351/.532 with 20 home runs and 29 doubles at shortstop, while Blackmon is hitting .284/.353/.495 with 21 home runs. Ian Desmond hasn’t hit as well as expected when he signed with the Rockies, but has still belted 19 home runs of his own.
Friday - 7:10 p.m. CDT
German Marquez vs. Junior Guerra
Saturday - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Tyler Anderson vs. Freddy Peralta
Sunday - 1:10 p.m. CDT
Jon Gray vs. Wade Miley
Marquez was part of the reason why the Rockies struggled in June. Making six starts that month, Marquez gave up 4 earned runs twice, 5 earned runs once, and 6 earned runs twice. He was able to turn it around in his last start of June, though, holding the Dodgers to 2 hits and 1 run over 8 innings. His July showed even more success, allowing 2 earned runs or less in 3 of his 4 starts. Like many Colorado pitchers, he has significant home/road splits -- in 11 home starts, he’s been hit for a 6.63 ERA; in 10 road starts, he has a 3.15 ERA.
Unlike Marquez, Anderson has been able to find a good amount of success at home and has pretty even home/road splits. He’s been pretty consistently solid with a 3.69 ERA in 22 starts, with a 4.26 FIP and 129 ERA+, striking out 8.3 batters per 9 innings. In his last start, the Cardinals were able to get to him a bit with 4 earned runs in 6 innings.
The 26-year-old Gray entered the season with high expectations, hoping to take the full leap to staff ace. Instead, it’s been a rocky year that included a short-term demotion to Triple-A at the end of June, when his ERA was sitting at 5.77. It appears he found something during his couple weeks in the minors -- since coming back on July 14th, he has a 1.66 ERA, striking out 17 and walking just 5 in 21.2 innings and holding opponents to a .137/.192/.205 line. That efficiency has gone a long way, as he’s also worked into the 8th inning in 2 of those 3 starts, and he’s dominated two playoff contenders in Seattle and Houston.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs