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The Rockies are coming off of a series win over the Chicago Cubs, taking two out of three in their home stadium to improve to 48-61. They are in fourth place in the National League West and 21 games behind the San Francisco Giants, who lead the best division in baseball with the best record in baseball.
Trevor Story was the hero of the Rockies’ last outing, slapping two balls out of the park to bring him to 15 home runs. Story has assumed the mantle as the team’s best offensive player since they traded Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals in February. Although Story has not been lights-out, his manager was extremely complimentary of him after Thursday’s victory.
“I think we’re going to see the best of Trev here in the next couple of months, I really do,” said Rockies skipper, Bud Black, after a 6-5 victory in a rubber match against the Cubs.
While the lights have been shining bright on Story, Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon are also havign decent seasons for their club.
As a whole, Colorado is all over the place offensively. The Rockies rank eighth in batting average, 16th in scoring, and fourth-worst in home runs. It is too late to turn their season around, but if Story rounds back into some sort of form and the team reloads with a couple of power batters in the offseason, they could target a winning season next year.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) August 5, 2021
Pitching has held the Rockies back more than anything. They rank 25th in ERA and batting average against and cannot regularly slow down any of their opponents.
German Marquez (9-8, 3.51 ERA), the team’s lone 2021 All-Star representative, will be on the mound for Friday’s clash. The 26-year-old won his last start after allowing two earned runs over a six-inning appearance.
The Marlins just took three out of four off from the New York Mets to move up to 47-62 in the NL East, 9.5 games behind the Mets.
Miami traded a few players leading up to the deadline, none of which was bigger than Starling Marte, who is now playing for the Oakland Athletics. The team is 8-12 since the All-Star break and is missing Marte’s consistent bat, despite their recent series victory over their division rivals.
The team’s biggest offensive weapon is Jesus Aguilar, who has hit .266 for 19 home runs and 76 RBIs, the last of which is tied for the fifth-highest total in the league. Aguilar and Jazz Chisholm Jr. are the only members of the active roster that have hit double-digit homers, which has played into the team’s struggles.
Miami has scored the fourth-fewest runs and is often reliant upon its pitching staff to bail them out of games. To their credit, their starters have produced the fourth-lowest ERA in baseball, with Trevor Rogers (7-6, 2.45 ERA) leading the way.
Sandy Alcantar (6-9, 3.12 ERA) will be on the bump for Miami on Friday, hoping to replicate a seven-inning shutout he dished out to the New York Yankees five days ago.
Despite the Marlins’ statistical dominance on the mound, they do not have a clear advantage in the series. The ball tends to sail in the Rockies’ home stadium and that favors teams with home run hitters, though neither squad is particularly impressive in this area.
Miami is only 20-35 on the road while Colorado is an impressive 35-21 in its home stadium. The Marlins have the upper hand in the season series at 2-1.
This matchup will come down to whether or not the Rockies’ batters can exploit the Marlins’ pitchers, as they are unlikely to win low-scoring games. Miami needs solid performances from its pitchers and anything it gets at the plate is a boost.
The Marlins should be expected to win this series despite their woes on the road because of their pitching. They have a very talented rotation that can stand up to the best batters in baseball, which the Rockies certainly do not possess.
With neither team having anything to play for, it is important to pick the team with the clear advantage, which in this case is Miami’s pitchers. Take the Marlins to win two out of three and move a game closer to the Mets in the NL East.