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Series preview: Pirates look to snap skid vs. Rockies

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The Rockies are in town this weekend.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Colorado Rockies (19-32) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (18-31), May 28-30, 2021

Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA

TV: AT&T Sports Pittsburgh

Radio: KDKA-AM

Rockies SB Nation Site: Purple Row


The Pirates look to snap their six-game skid as the Rockies come to PNC for three.

Here’s a look at what we can expect this weekend:

Projected Starters

Friday, 6:35 p.m. EST

Jon Gray (4-4, 3.43 ERA) vs. Mitch Keller (2-6, 7.41 ERA)

Saturday, 4:05 p.m. EST

Austin Gomber (3-4, 4.56 ERA) vs. JT Brubaker (3-4, 4.20 ERA)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m. EST

Kyle Freeland (0-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. TBD

Projected Lineups

Rockies

  1. Raimel Tapia (LF)
  2. Garrett Hampson (CF)
  3. Trevor Story (SS)
  4. Charlie Blackmon (RF)
  5. Ryan McMahon (3B)
  6. C.J. Cron (1B)
  7. Brendan Rodgers (2B)
  8. Dom Nunez (C)
  9. Starting Pitcher

Pirates

  1. Adam Frazier (2B)
  2. Ben Gamel (LF)
  3. Bryan Reynolds (CF)
  4. Jacob Stallings (C)
  5. Gregory Polanco (RF)
  6. Erik Gonzalez (3B)
  7. Will Craig (1B)
  8. Kevin Newman (SS)
  9. Starting Pitcher

We spoke to Sam Bradfield of Purple Row to get a better insight into the Rockies season so far and what to look for this weekend:

After trading their All-Star third baseman in the offseason, the Rockies were projected to not do particularly well. Early season projections had them finishing in the basement of the NL West and many projections have them losing 100+ games for the first time in franchise history. PECOTA had them at 60.3-101.7. Now, that was to be expected after losing arguably one of the best players in Rockies history. But they still have Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, so it can’t be all bad, right?

Through the early goings, the Rockies are currently 19-32 and 3-20 on the road to start the year, including losing three of their last four to the Mets. They aren’t last in the NL West, but they are only one game in front of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Trevor Story left yesterday’s game with right arm tightness and has been hitting .255/.322/.424 with five home runs so far. He’s been close plenty of other times, but the ball has only left the yard five times. 34-year-old Charlie Blackmon has been starting to show some age, as he’s only hitting .238/.339/.351 with three homers so far. He had a frigid April after his .500 start last year, but he seems to have turned it back on a bit in May.

In the absence of Nolan Arenado, Ryan McMahon has really stepped up to take his place. The 26-year-old infielder is hitting .259/.305/.519 with a team-leading 13 home runs and turns plays almost like his predecessor nearly nightly. He has also played a lot of second base, where he shifted to in 2019 at the major league level. He had a difficult 2020 and struck out at a career-worst 34.2% clip, but has bounced back nicely in 2021. In fact, he might be a dark horse to make the All-Star Game this year if he keeps it up.

On the pitching side, the bullpen is a disaster. At the current moment, the Rockies don’t have a single left-hander in the bullpen. Righties Jordan Sheffield and Carlos Estévez are the only relievers who have made more than 10 starts and hold an ERA of under 3.00 (2.76 and 2.92, respectively). Estévez missed some time with a right middle finger strain, but Sheffield has made 17 appearances. Starter-wise, right-hander Jon Gray is the only one with multiple starts under his belt who holds an ERA of less than 4.00 (3.43).

Overall, the Rockies are about the team we expected them to be in the absence of Nolan Arenado. There are a few bright spots, sure, but overall it’s a bit of a mess in the Mile High City right now.