NLDS Rockies vs Brewers: Analysis and Predictions
The Colorado Rockies entered the playoffs as the second-highest scoring offense in the entire National League. All of the sudden, they’ve gone cold, and the frustration has been evident. Chris Iannetta broke a bat over his leg following a strikeout. Nolan Arenado couldn’t stop talking to himself after whiffing on a badly hung breaking ball. Colorado has yet to score more than two runs in a game this postseason, and it has them on the brink of a swift exit.
This NLDS is 2-0 in favor of the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers as the two teams now head to Denver for game three. For Milwaukee, the formula has been pretty simple: timely base knocks and a deep, unrelenting bullpen. They have cashed in with six hits while runners are in scoring position, and their relievers have allowed just two runs over 11 innings of work.
Meanwhile, the Colorado offense is nowhere to be seen. As a team, they are 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They have yet to hit a home run this series after going deep 210 times during the regular season. They are slashing .154/.211/.185 with 22 strikeouts in just 65 at-bats.
The Rockies had the Brewers on the ropes in game one when, trailing by one run, they loaded the bases with no outs in top of the ninth inning. A functioning offense would have taken the lead and never looked back. The Rockies were only able to tie the score.
It has not been the finest hitting display by the Brewers either, but they have been noticeably better than their opponent. Mike Moustakas has come up with key RBIs in both games, and Christian Yelich provided a big two-run homer in the opener. Plate discipline has been key to the team’s success. They have reached base on balls 11 times; four of those walks have turned into runs.
All hope is not lost for Colorado. They now return to Coors Field for the first time since September 30, game 162 of the regular season. This offense performs much better in the thin Rocky Mountain air. Nearly sixty percent of their runs have been scored at home, and they have a slightly better record in the friendly confines as well.
Arenado’s wRC+ is 57 points higher at Coors, Trevor Story gets a 17-point bump, David Dahl gains a ridiculous 101 points, and Charlie Blackmon adds 35 points at home. That should, theoretically, lead to more offense in game three and (if necessary) game four.
Germán Márquez will be on the mound for the Rockies. In his last seven starts at Coors Field, he has a 1.90 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. Bud Black would love to see Márquez throw seven shutout innings, but ace Kyle Freeland will be ready to enter the game at any sign of trouble. All hands will be on deck, and the hands that the Rockies have for game three may be better than Milwaukee, who will start lefty Wade Miley.
Even so, Colorado needs to get more from their late-inning bullpen arms. Adam Ottavino was bad in the Wild Card game against the Cubs (1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB) and struggled again in game 1 of this series (1.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 2 BB). Seung-hwan Oh had a tough time of it in game 2 (0.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB). It’s possible to patch together enough arms to stave off elimination for one more day, but Colorado is going to need their best relief pitchers to step up if they have any shot at a total comeback.