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Series Preview: Colorado Rockies @ Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers hope to avoid a sluggish start to an important weekend series after a red-eye flight home from Los Angeles

Colorado Rockies v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

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.

Probable Pitchers

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