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Quick and Dirty Preview: Colorado Rockies

The Reds head West for some thin air baseball and to hang out and play Xbox and golf and go fishing and be best friends with me.

Together again!  Steakhouse An-angus!
Together again! Steakhouse An-angus!
Doug Pensinger

So the Reds are coming to visit me this weekend.

I know you're all jealous. Well, not all of you, I guess, since BK, Farney, and Ash are in Denver to watch the beatdowns, too.

But the rest of you? Jealous. As jealous as I am each and every time the Reds trot out of their dugout in GABP the 81 times a season I'm not there to witness it. I'm indulging. I've waited all year for this.

Sorry, I'm not sorry. I digress...

As for the Reds, they roll in for a three game set against the Colorado Rockies over what looks to be a piping hot, sunny Labor Day weekend. Coors Field was rocking early in 2013, as the Rockies were the darlings of every talking head that was never taught about small sample sizes following their 13-4 start to the season. I suppose it was easy to be excited then, as a healthy Troy Tulowitzki returned from his injury plagued 2012 season to slot in a scary lineup that featured Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, a resurgent Michael Cuddyer, and Todd Helton in his swansong, but it was easy to overlook the fact that those wins came against the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, and New York Mets.

The rest of the Rockies season has, shall we say, gone the way of most every other non-2007 Rockies season: broken and disappointing. They've gone just 50-68 since their quick start, they've seen Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Rafael Betancourt, Dexter Fowler, Tyler Chatwood, and Roy Oswalt be relegated to watching from the dugout due to injuries, and they currently sit 16 games out of the NL West lead and a distant 12.5 games back from the Reds for the 2nd Wild Card spot. Much of the goodwill that new manager Walt Weiss earned from the team's rapid start has now turned to speculation on whether he'll return for 2014 (since he's not signed past this season), and the once raucous Coors Field crowds have become sparse.

That's not to say that the Rockies have mailed things in for the season. Far from it, actually, and they'll enter Friday's game having won 4 of their last 6 games overall and 9 of their last 12 at home. They swept the then-first-place Pittsburgh Pirates in a 3 game series in Coors less than 3 weeks ago, and their lineup still features plenty of pop despite CarGo's absence. The Rockies are 10 games over .500 at home for the season (38-28), 14-10 vs. NL Central teams this year, and they'll luck out by not having to face any of the top 4 Reds pitchers over the last two seasons (Latos, Bailey, Cingrani, Cueto). Considering the penchant that Arroyo, Leake, and Reynolds have shown for allowing the longball, this could be a series full of doinks and wangers.

The Reds will thankfully miss out on facing Jhoulys Chacin, the Rockies' de facto ace, and Saturday's game sets up well from a storyline perspective. The Rockies will send Jorge De La Rosa to the mound, who has had a rather remarkable comeback season following nearly two seasons on the shelf via injury. De La Rosa's 14-6 record and 3.28 ERA look, and are, solid, but he's struggled terribly against the Reds in his career to the tune of an ERA of 9.87 (his second worst against any opponent) and a .979 OPS and 5 HR allowed in just 17.1 career innings. His counterpart on the evening will be Greg Reynolds, who will get a chance to face the franchise that drafted him, developed him, and gave him his first shot in the major leagues. I know that kind of Disney-esque storyline has BK excited.

But yeah, there's not much that should trouble the Reds, and it would be thoroughly disappointing to come away with any fewer than two wins from this series. Jeff Manship and Juan Nicasio, who bookend the series, shouldn't do much to stand in the way of even the most lifeless of Reds' offenses, and if the bats can carry over even a bit of the momentum they found on Wednesday in St. Louis, there could be some serious fireworks.

Throw offspeed pitches to Wilin Rosario, don't pitch to Tulowitzki, hit bad pitching...profit!