The days from now to Opening Day as slowly dwindling which means it’s the perfect time of the year to look ahead at what lies ahead for the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds can identify with the problems the Colorado Rockies had when it comes to injuries. While the Reds were without Joey Votto, Devin Mesoraco, Aroldis Chapman, and Mat Latos at different points throughout the season, the Rockies lost Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, Brett Anderson and briefly NL batting champ Justin Mourneau. The Rockies went from a team jockeying for second with the Dodgers in the West at the end of May to the worst team in the NL by the end of July. Colorado would finish 66-96 and 28 games back of the Dodgers and just two games ahead of the last place Diamondbacks.
Manager Walt Weiss enters his third season having posted a 140-184 record, but has still not had a full season with Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. “Tulo” has appeared in just 264 games in the past three seasons which accounts for just 54 percent of the possible games he could have played while “CarGo” has only played in 180 of the 324 possible contests since Weiss took over.
The Rockies have had success against the Reds in the past five seasons going 25-15 including 8-5 the last two seasons to claim the season series each year. While not a surprise, Coors Field has not been kind to Reds pitching the last two years, with the exception of Johnny Cueto. The Reds suffered one of their worst defeats on Aug. 17 when Chapman walked the only four hitters he faced and the Rockies erased a 9-5 deficit and won on two out three-run homer by former Red Drew Stubbs off J.J. Hoover.
With that in mind the Reds will get a chance to start the season series off on the right foot as they will face Colorado at Great American Ballpark from May 25-27 while the trip to Coors comes from July 24-26.
The Rockies lineup should have a familiarity to fans with the exception of Nick Hundley who takes over the catching duties. Kyle Kendrick is the newest face in the Rockies rotation coming over from Philadelphia while the closing duties are expected to fall on the 42-year old LaTroy Hawkins who announced that he will retire after his 20th season. Hawkins broke in with the Minnesota Twins in 1995 and made his 1,000th appearance on Sept. 27 where he faced one hitter in a loss to the Dodgers.
Here’s a look at what the Rockies have been up to this off-season:
Key Additions: Daniel Descalso, Nick Hundley, Kyle Kendrick
Key Departures: Matt Belisle, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Masset, Josh Rutledge, Brett Anderson, Juan Nicasio, Rob Scahill
With those additions and subtractions, here is what the Rockies are projecting their 2015 squad to look like (as of 2/27)
Starting rotation (2014 stats):
1.) Jorge De La Rosa (184.1 innings, 14-11, 4.10 ERA, 139 Ks)
2.) Jhoulys Chacin (63.1 IP, 1-7, 5.40 ERA, 42 Ks)
3.) Kyle Kendrick (199 IP, 10-13, 4.61 ERA, 121 Ks w/Phillies)
4.) Jordan Lyles (126.2 IP, 7-4, 4.33 ERA, 90 Ks)
5.) Tyler Matzek (117.2 IP, 6-11, 4.05 ERA, 91 Ks)
In competition: Christian Bergman, Eddie Butler, Chad Bettis, Tyler Chatwood (recovering from Tommy John surgery)
Closer: LaTroy Hawkins (57 games, 4-3, 3.31 ERA, 23 saves, 32 Ks)
C.) Nick Hundley (83 games, .243 avg, 8 HR, 22 RBI w/Padres&Orioles) competition: Michael McKenry, Wilin Rosario
1B.) Justin Morneau (135 games, .319 avg, 17 HR, 82 RBI, NL Batting Title) competition:Rosario, Ben Paulsen, Kyle Parker
2B.) D.J. LeMahieu (149 games, .267 avg, 5 HR, 42 RBI, Gold Glove) competition: Daniel Descalso, Charlie Culberson
3B.) Nolan Arenado (111 games, .287 avg, 18 HR, 61 RBI, Gold Glove) competition: Descalso, Culberson, Rafael Ynoa
SS.) Troy Tulowitzki (91 games, .340 avg, 21 HR, 52 RBI) competition: Culberson, Descalso
LF.) Corey Dickerson (131 games, .312 avg, 24 HR, 76 RBI) competition: Drew Stubbs, Brandon Barnes
CF.) Charlie Blackmon (154 games, .288 avg, 19 HR, 72 RBI, 28 SB) competition: Stubbs, Barnes
RF.) Carlos Gonzalez (70 games, .238 avg, 11 HR, 38 RBI) competition:Barnes, Stubbs