Editors Note: This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I was unable to get to a computer in time to post my series preview chat with Hayden. It’s still extremely relevant to the series though.
The Miami Marlins have lost four straight games, including the first game of their three game series against the Colorado Rockies. Despite the loss, the Marlins have to go just 15-20 in their final 35 games to avoid the franchise’s second 100-loss season. This is a major accomplishment for a team that was 13-41 near the end of May.
To preview the series between the Rockies and Marlins, I had an email chat with Hayden Kane, the editor at the Colorado Rockies Fansided Site, Rox Pile. Hayden and I chatted about everything from how the Rockies have struggled to hit well on the road and why rookie superstar Jose Fernandez is a threat to throw a no-hitter tonight.
Without any further ado, here is my chat with Hayden:
Ehsan Kassim: What has gone wrong with the Rockies season since the last time these two teams faced off?
Hayden Kane: For starters, that last series between the Marlins and the Rockies was kind of the beginning of the end. Dropping that series, and doing so by failing to score runs at home, started a nasty losing stretch that ended any hope they had of remaining contenders. Many of the losses, including that series, have been emblematic of the story of the season: the pitching is surprisingly decent and the offense is surprisingly average.
EK: If the Rockies can remain healthy in 2014, do you like their chances of competing in the NL West? Or does the team need to make some moves in the off-season?
HK: As it stands now they need to make some moves. With all the adoration we can muster for Todd Helton, the team is not getting enough production from first base. Whether they get a first baseman with more pop or move Michael Cuddyer to that spot and look for a corner outfielder, they need at least one more bat. They also need pitching help in the rotation and in the bullpen, but they at least have some good arms to build around in Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin in the rotation and Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers in the bullpen.
EK: A lot of talk is always about how the Rockies offense isn’t as strong on the road as it is at home, does this ring true in 2013?
HK: Painfully so. They strike out more and they sorely lack timely hitting on the road. When they charged out to a fast start in April and held a brief lead in the NL West, it’s because they were actually hitting away from Coors Field, led by Carlos Gonzalez. That stopped, and over time so too did their stay atop the division.
EK: Do the Rockies have any interesting prospects that they may give an extended look to in September when the 40-man rosters expand?
HK: In a way that process has already started for the Rockies thanks to injuries. To me the prospect worth the most buzz is Corey Dickerson, who you’ll see this weekend. He destroyed minor league pitching at every step and if he can produce with consistent at-bats, he could make a case for himself for next season.
EK: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series?
HK: On Friday and Sunday, the Marlins will see the best that the Colorado rotation has to offer. Jhoulys Chacin has been efficient, pounding the strike zone and getting ground balls in bunches. He will be pitching with a heavy heart, as he is just returning from Venezuela where he attended his grandmother’s funeral. Jorge De La Rosa won his 13th game this week, and besides his accomplishments this season, he is staking his spot on the list of best starting pitchers in team history. He has been really good for them for a really long time, a fact that was obscured by injuries the last couple seasons.
Jeff Manship has been awful. He is a sinkerballer, but to date has not been able to keep the ball down, which explains his 7.80 ERA. The moment the Rockies have a better option healthy, he will be back down in the minor leagues.
EK: Any bold predictions for the series?
HK: Fernandez will give up fewer than two hits Saturday night, and he might flirt with a no-hitter.
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 upcoming of the series. If you get a chance, do check out some of the great content over on Rox Pile.
My bold prediction for the series: The Miami Marlins take the final two games, including another strong performance from Jose Fernandez.