Colorado Rockies (44-66) at Detroit Tigers (60-47)
Time/Place: 1:08 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation blog: Purple Row
Pitching Matchup: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (11-6, 4.20 ERA) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-5, 3.57 ERA)
|De La Rosa||22||122.0||6.86||3.47||0.96||1.28||4.33||4.13||1.4|
You may remember Jorge De La Rosa from his days with the Kansas City Royals in 2006 and 2007. In particular, you may remember him because he was bad. De La Rosa was 11-16 with a 5.64 ERA and 5.57 FIP in 33 starts with the Royals during that stretch. Surprisingly, a move to Colorado has made things better for him. De La Rosa has spent seven years pitching for the Rockies, during which he is 66-40 with a 4.23 ERA and 4.05 FIP. He has a pair of 16 win seasons under his belt (2009, 2013) and could reach that milestone again with a hot streak down the stretch. Considering he is already on one -- he was 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA and 26:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in July -- he may even surpass 16 victories.
Speaking of hot streaks, De La Rosa has actually been pretty consistent over the past few months. Overall, he is 9-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 4.12 ERA since May 1st. Save for a pair of rough outings against the Dodgers, he has held opponents to four earned runs or fewer in every start, and the Rockies are 10-5 with him on the mound during this stretch. This is even more impressive when you consider that the Rockies are just 28-53 since May 1st. Of course, it also helps that De La Rosa ranks second in the National League in run support, receiving 5.5 runs per game. This only trails teammate Juan Nicasio, who has somehow found a way to lose in starts when he received nine, seven, and 10 runs from the Rockies' offense.
Anibal Sanchez's middle inning demons came back to bite him yet again in his last start. Sanchez allowed two runs in his first six innings of work, but faltered in the seventh. He allowed a third run on his own account after two singles and an error by Nick Castellanos, then was charged with a fourth earned run when Joakim Soria allowed back-to-back hits. A pair of home runs later, and Sanchez had gone from a solid outing to another hard luck loss, his third in July alone. Now in August, Sanchez will be looking to turn the clock back to his solid stretch from April through June, when he held opponents to a .197 batting average and .555 OPS.
Hitter to fear: Carlos Gonzalez (.300/.364/.700 in 11 plate appearances)
Hitter to fail: Michael McKenry (.000/.200/.000 in 5 plate appearances)
Carlos Gonzalez has put up some gaudy numbers against a lot of pitchers in his seven seasons in the big leagues, and Sanchez is no exception. Gonzalez has a double and a home run against the Tigers' right-hander, and is the only active Rockie to have homered off of Anibal. It's anyone's guess if Gonzalez plays today after reaggravating an ankle injury when he slid into the right field wall on Friday night. Justin Morneau has also hit Sanchez well, picking up six hits (including two doubles) in 19 at-bats. Drew Stubbs is 2 for 8 against Sanchez, but has struck out four times.
Surprisingly, De La Rosa pitches much better at Coors Field than he does on the road. The southpaw has a 5.28 ERA and a 4.80 FIP away from home. He has somehow found a way to allow home runs at a higher clip on the road as well. However, the key number in today's game is .802. This is the OPS that De La Rosa has allowed to right-handed hitters this season, nearly double the .475 OPS lefties have against him. The Tigers may need to score runs today given Sanchez's recent struggles in the middle innings, but that hasn't looked to be a problem so far in this series.
The Tigers sweep thanks to a bounce-back outing from Sanchez.
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