Entering play Monday, the LA Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are bookending the National League West. The Dodgers are absolutely running away with the division at this point. Los Angeles has the best record in baseball, and they hold a massive 14 ½ game lead over the Giants, who sit a very distant second. Meanwhile, the Rockies have fallen to eight games under .500, which is 19 ½ games adrift of the Dodgers.
The Rockies have made back-to-back postseason appearances, so their plummet to the cellar of the division this season is a bit of a surprise. Many had Colorado challenging for a playoff spot again this year, so the fact that they have a worse record than teams like the Mets and Reds is quite the surprise. The Rockies lost two of three in Cincinnati over the weekend, which came on the heels of dropping three of four in Washington against the Nationals.
Perhaps some home cooking can do the Rockies some good. Colorado has played just 50 home games to this point, and tonight’s game will be their first at Coors Field since the first series after the All-Star break. This will be the 11th meeting of the season between the Rockies and Dodgers, and the first 10 haven’t been great for Colorado. The Rockies are just 2-8 against their NL West rivals on the season, including a 2-5 mark at Coors.
2019 ATR Home
2019 ATR Away
2019 O/U Home
2019 O/U Away
All that’s left for the Dodgers to worry about at this point is getting home field advantage for the duration of the playoffs. It would take a collapse of epic proportions for this team to miss out on the postseason at this point. They’re so far ahead of the rest of the division that it’s almost unfathomable to think they’ll be anywhere but playing at home for the first two games of the NLDS this fall.
The Dodgers’ lead over the American League powerhouses is slim. If the Dodgers want to have home field advantage in the World Series, they’re going to have to try and stave off the Yankees and Astros, who each sit just one game back of LA for the best record in the major leagues. The Twins (4) and Indians (6) are looming, while the Braves (6 ½) are the closest NL threat as it stands today.
Kenta Maeda will take the ball for the Dodgers on Monday night. The right-hander has a record of 7-7 through 21 appearances this season, including 20 starts. His 3.81 ERA looks nice, but his 4.37 xFIP shows that his ERA involves a little bit of good fortune. He’s done a fine job in terms of limiting hard contact (30.1%), but he does give up more fly balls than ground balls. That’s a skill that may not hurt him at Dodger Stadium, but giving up fly balls at Coors Field is scarier.
Maeda has already allowed 17 homers this season, which is just five shy of his career-high of 22, which was set last season. Maeda has always been excellent against right-handed hitters, and that’s been the case again in 2019. He has held righties to a .215 wOBA, which is incredibly low. Lefties have had more success, though. Left-handed hitters boast a .338 mark against him, and tonight, he’ll face a number of threatening LHBs like Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan McMahon.
The Rockies aren’t the most imposing lineup, but they’re quite a bit more daunting when a pitcher has to face them in Denver.
One of the surprising aspects of the Rockies’ struggles is that the starting pitching hasn’t even been terrible. Pitching is always hit-or-miss for this team, considering their hitter-friendly home ballpark. During their recent dip, though, the offense has been the problem. So far this month, the Rockies have scored 93 runs, which is 23rd in the big leagues.
Their team wOBA of .308 also ranks 23rd, while their strikeout rate over 25% is the seventh-highest mark in the league.
Jon Gray will take the mound for Colorado in the series opener. Gray has a 4.05 ERA on the year, which is actually slightly worse than his 3.95 xFIP. ERAs are often bloated for Rockies’ pitchers, and that seems to be the case with Gray. He has struck out 24.1% of all opposing hitters, though he obviously gets a dreadful matchup tonight against a Dodger team that has been crushing right-handed pitching all year long.
Lefties have always been trouble for Gray, and he has allowed a .340 wOBA to them so far this season. Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Alex Verdugo will all have the platoon advantage against Gray in this spot.
Coors Field is the premier run-scoring environment in baseball, and it feels like we’ve had an unusually high number of wild, high-scoring games already this season. The ball being juiced certainly doesn’t hurt either. Neither starter profiles all that well in this matchup tonight, which has me thinking we could see a cavalcade of relievers coming into the game earlier than usual.
13 is a sky-high total, but with a couple of so-so pitchers on the mound, I think we’ll have plenty of scoring in this one. Rockies home games are 31-19 on the O/U so far this season, and I like that trend to continue on Monday night.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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