Rockies vs. Diamondbacks Odds
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of early Sunday morning and via DraftKings.|
The two teams at the bottom of the NL West standings meet on Sunday afternoon to conclude a four-game series.
Arizona is off to a better start than expected, finishing the month of April above .500. The Diamondbacks have taken two of the first three games in the current series with the Rockies. Snagging a third and decisive win on Sunday could be the boost that Arizona needs in order to keep pace with the top of the division.
Entering the 2021 season, Colorado was expected to be one of the worst teams in MLB. Through the first month of play, the Rockies’ performance has matched their lowly preseason expectations. The Rockies have the fewest wins in the National League, and their current trajectory would grant them a top-10 pick in the MLB draft. Colorado will send Chi Chi Gonzalez to the mound on Sunday in hopes that he can right the ship.
As expected, Colorado’s offense has struggled through the first month of the season, posting a .301 wOBA and 76 wRC+. Those metrics are particularly awful given that half of Colorado’s games have been played at the hitter’s paradise of Coors Field.
Most of the Rockies’ struggles have come against right-handed pitching: Colorado ranks in the bottom half of MLB in wOBA and wRC+ against righties.
Merrill Kelly is a below-average right-hander who struggles with his fastball. Meanwhile, despite Colorado’s offensive struggles overall, it is actually an above-average team against fastballs. So, the Rockies may actually have a shot at getting to Kelly this afternoon.
The Diamondbacks offense has been very good through the first month of the season. Arizona ranks fourth in wOBA and has been absolutely crushing fastballs. The Diamondbacks have 19.3 weighted runs against fastballs, which is the second-best mark in MLB.
Chi Chi Gonzalez is one of the worst pitchers in MLB and has been struggling with his fastball, allowing over a .340 wOBA against it over the past two seasons.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Chi Chi Gonzalez (COL) vs. Merrill Kelly (ARI)
2021 ZIPS Projected Stats (via Fangraphs)
Rockies Starting Pitcher
Chi Chi Gonzalez, RHP
2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
It is truly astonishing that Chi Chi Gonzalez is still in the Rockies starting rotation. In four starts last season he posted a 6.05 xERA and 5.61 xFIP. I wish I could say that was a bad year for Gonzalez, but last year’s marks are actually very close to his career average.
Gonzalez has been ineffective with every pitch in his arsenal throughout his career, but his fastball has been particularly troublesome. Opponents tagged Gonzalez’s heater for a .343 wOBA last season. Given that the Diamondbacks rank second in league against fastballs, they should have a great matchup this afternoon.
Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher
Merrill Kelly, RHP
2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Merrill Kelly was pretty decent in five starts for the Diamondbacks last season, posting a 3.85 xERA and 3.95 xFIP. His biggest problem by far was giving up way too many home runs. Kelly’s HR/9 rate rose all the way up to 1.44 in 2020, and he has already given up four homers through five starts this season.
He has a five-pitch arsenal but mainly utilizes his fastball and curveball. Kelly’s fastball has average velocity and has been touched-up pretty well so far: Opponents have compiled a .400 batting average and .553 wOBA against Kelly’s fastball this year. However, his curveball and sinker have been highly effective, allowing 12 hits on 190 pitches.
The Rockies have … quite possibly the worst bullpen in baseball, posting a 5.08 ERA and 4.62 xFIP. Relief-pitching was the primary source of preseason criticism for the Rockies, and it seems that pessimism has come to fruition. Arizona hasn’t been much better, but it will have the advantage in the later innings.
Rockies vs. Diamondbacks Pick
With two below-average starting pitchers on the mound, I think we are going to see a lot of runs early in this matchup. Kelly and Gonzalez are mainly fastball-pitchers, and both of them must contend against good fastball-hitting lineups. So, this game could get out of hand early.
Since I have 5.26 runs projected for the first five innings, I think there is some value on Over 4.5 runs at -113 odds (DraftKings).
Pick: First Five Innings Over 4.5 runs (-113)