Editors Note: Hayden was busy with work on Monday and I was traveling back from Miami, so we could not get this up yesterday. With three games left in the series, there is still ample for Hayden to preview for the Marlins-Rockies series.
The Miami Marlins will look to end their scoring struggles against the Colorado Rockies, as they play in the always hitter friendly Coors Field. To preview the series between the Marlins and Rockies, I had an email chat with Hayden Kane, the editor for the Colorado Rockies Fansided Site, Rox Pile. Rox Pike does a phenomenal job of covering everything surrounding the Rockies team.
Hayden and I chatted about everything from how great Troy Tulowitzki would be if it were not for injuries to if the Rockies will be buyers at the 2013 trading deadline.
Without any further ado, here is my chat with Hayden:
Ehsan Kassim: At the beginning of the season, did you anticipate the Colorado Rockies being this close to contending in the division?
Hayden Kane: In a word, no. We thought the lineup would be able to produce if Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki stayed healthy for enough of the season. The problem was supposed to be the starting pitching, and their relative success so far has been the pleasant surprise. They are hanging around .500 because they have had surprisingly good pitching. And of course they benefit from the fact that a sub-.500 record leaves him 3.5 games out of the top of the West when they would be buried in a division like the NL Central.
EK: What has been the biggest surprise about the 2013 Rockies? Who was the teams first half MVP?
HK: The biggest surprise has been the emergence of starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood, whom the team acquired from the Los Angeles Angels before last season. He looked so lost last season (5-6, 5.43 ERA) and it was reasonable to think he would spend most of this season in Triple-A. Instead he has been arguably the best starter on the team, posting a 2.48 ERA and getting a ridiculous number of ground balls in the process. His strong showing has given the team three good starting pitchers, something that seemed impossible in March.
The first half MVP is Carlos Gonzalez, but not by much over Michael Cuddyer and his amazing season so far. The biggest difference for CarGo is how well he is hitting on the road (.324/.379/.620 away from Coors Field).
EK: Will the Rockies be buyers at the trading deadline? Its clear they need some upgrade in their pitching staff.
HK: Pending the results of this series against the Marlins and the one that follows against the Brewers, it looks like the Rockies will be buyers. They could use a bullpen arm, a starter, and believe it or not a bat if they found the right deal. Another competent starter tops the list, though it might be hard for the Rockies to find a deal because team ownership refuses to take on extra payroll for a “rental” situation. That wouldn’t rule out a guy like Jake Peavy, but they are not in a position to buy that aggressively just yet.
EK: Are injuries the only thing holding Troy Tulowitzki back from being one of the best players in baseball?
HK: In my opinion, yes. And I am 100% and openly biased in that regard. You just don’t find shortstops who hit for power, hit for average, and play elite defense very often. Or ever. But he has to stay on the field, and that is going to be the qualifier for him for the foreseeable future.
EK: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series?
HK: Drew Pomeranz is the pitcher whom the Rockies acquired from the Cleveland Indians for Ubaldo Jimenez. He is a big, strong lefty who throws hard but he is an absolute mess right now. Don’t be surprised when he issues a bunch of walks to the Marlins. (Last night’s game)
Jhoulys Chacin acts as the team’s ace, and rightfully so. He has learned to work more efficiently, pounding the strike zone this year. He has nasty enough secondary pitches to miss bats but has not been striking out a ton of hitters. The trade-off has been that he works deeper into games, something the Rockies will happily take on any night.
Jorge De La Rosa has great stuff, borderline ace stuff, with a good fastball and wipeout slider. He is one of the highest paid Rockies at about $11 million, and if not for their surprise status as a contender, would surely be the subject of trade rumors right now.
Juan Nicasio is a complete wildcard. He throws mid to upper 90′s heat with a lot of sink. If he commands the strike zone he can be really tough, but if he doesn’t, he turns into a two-pitch starting pitcher and gets mashed.
EK: Any bold predictions for the series?
HK: You will be surprised at the lulls in the Rockies offense, even at Coors Field.
A big thank you to Hayden for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Rockies fans the best of luck for the rest of the series. If you get a chance, do check out some of the great content over on Rox Pile.