Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM
TWO CINDERELLA STORIES SQUARE OFF IN EXCITING NL WEST SHOWDOWN
It was assumed before the 2017 Major League Baseball season started that the Los Angeles Dodgers were going to run away with the NL West. San Francisco would have a chance to make things interesting. But, it's been so long since either the Colorado Rockies or Arizona Diamondbacks mattered, nobody was thinking about THOSE two teams as potential playoff threats.
Heading into Tuesday's action...
Colorado: 46-26...first place in the NL West
Arizona: 44-26...just one game behind them
Colorado enters the series 20 games over .500 just 72 games into their season. Arizona can get that high if they pull off a road sweep. So, not one...but TWO Cinderella stories in the same division at the same time.
And, it's not like the Los Angeles Dodgers have been left out of the cold. They're right in the thick of that divisional race as they host the disappointing NY Mets early this week. The Dodgers could be in first place in the West if the Rockies and D-backs beat each other up!
For now, it looks like those three teams will join the NL East and NL Central champs in the playoffs. It would take a collapse from one of the three...or a huge surge from BOTH the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs to disrupt the brackets.
Two exciting young teams trying to make a run at a shocking championship. Let's run some of JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats to see how things might play out a mile high this week...
Arizona: +89 runs, while playing 35 home games and 35 road games
Colorado: +75 runs, while playing 34 home games and 38 road games
These aren't pretenders by any means. Not that you can make a run at 20 games over .500 with smoke and mirrors. Arizona currently has the better run differential. But, Colorado's played more road games...and is capable of equalizing this category if they play well this series. Bottom line...two very good teams. At least one will have to settle for a Wildcard, and BOTH might have to when it's all said and done.
Arizona: 5.1 runs-per-game, .332 on-base, .451 slugging
Colorado: 5.3 runs-per-game, .334 on-base, .447 slugging
Both teams have good offensive numbers. But, you have to remember that both play in great hitter's parks. In fact, this season, they play in the two best hitter's parks in baseball. If you look at road only stats, Arizona falls to a disappointing 3.8/.298/.379 line in those same three categories. Colorado is much better at 4.7/.322/.406, but far from fantastic. These are PITCHING teams who happen to play in horrible parks for pitchers. Keep that in mind when both are on the road...and when both are matched up in big games against other NL contenders. Don't forget that Colorado just won three of four from the Cubs at Wrigley Field thanks to excellent pitching.
For this stat, raw edge to Colorado because of those road numbers.
Here are the probable pitchers for the series...
Greinke: 3.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 10.4 K's per 9 innings
Marquez: 4.19 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 8.6 K's per 9 innings
Zack Greinke is back in Cy Young form. He's at his best when he doesn't have to carry the full media or pitching load. Clear edge here over Marquez...though Marquez is probably better than you had been thinking. Remember, it's tough to post great stats in these home ballparks. Greinke is awesome, and Marquez has been more than adequate in context. Edge to Greinke head-to-head.
Walker: 3.32 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 8.2 K's per 9 innings
Hoffman: 2.25 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 10.1 K's per 9 innings
Hoffman has only made five starts this season, and there's no way he'll keep his ERA and WHIP that low over a large sampling. That said...he's still a guy you have to watch. He's been a stud out of the gate pitching in front of teammates who are drinking the kool-aid. Look to find value spots for both of these arms moving forward. The market is having trouble accepting the new reality, which is why backers of both teams are so flush at the moment!
Godley: 2.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 7.9 K's per 9 innings
Senzatela: 4.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 6.5 K's per 9 innings
Godley has been ungodly thus far. Another pitcher who could still offer value while he gradually regresses to more realistic ERA and WHIP totals. Senzatela continues to get results. Tough to do with a low K-Rate in a great hitter's park. If you haven't been paying much attention to either of these teams, the pitching matchups give you a GREAT opportunity to get caught up. Stop letting ESPN's East Coast bias blind you to the money-making strategies staring you in the face from these surprisingly good Western teams!
JIM HURLEY will definitely be watching this series closely. He might just have a play or two for his customers. You have to sign up to find out! Purchase OUR BASEBALL WINNERS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-800-323-4453. Don't forget to check on early-bird football prices when you call. Those summer newsstand publications are out...which means you should be getting your ducks in a row!
Enjoy this great series. Back with you before the weekend with more NL West coverage because Colorado must visit the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We always preview the most important matchups for you here in the NOTEBOOK. We want you to win while you watch!