Diamondbacks open four-game series against Rockies

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte (4) rounds third after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh...
Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte (4) rounds third after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)(Gene J. Puskar | AP)
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 10:42 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Arizona Diamondbacks head into Monday’s Memorial Day matchup with the Colorado Rockies with a 30-23 record, good for second place in the NL West behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and a three game lead in the Wild Card chase.

Coming off an extraordinary outing by D-backs pitcher Merrill Kelly on Sunday, where he notched a career high 10 strikeouts in a victory against the Boston Red Sox, the Diamondbacks enter Monday’s matinee confident about their performance thus far into the season.

“... I could tell quickly that even though we weren’t playing our best baseball the first 10, 12 days of the season that there was some team chemistry here and they were riding together,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo told Arizona Sports. “Yeah, I felt like this team could win some baseball games. So, 30 is a nice big number.”

Nearing the end of May, the Diamondbacks have yet to sweep or be swept, against an opponent all season. This proves the team’s determination and spirit, no matter the obstacles the team has endured two months into the season. “I think that just shows that we turn the page pretty well,” Kelly told MLB.com. “I just don’t think we allow the negativity to creep in.”

Starter Zach Davies came off the injured list over the weekend and started on Saturday for the club, striking out three in 3.1 innings in his return. In result of his return, the Diamondbacks optioned starter Brandon Pfaadt and reliever Luis Frias, while also calling up Drey Jameson from Triple-A Reno.

The Colorado Rockies are currently last in the NL West at 24-30. However, the team has won its past two series, taking two of three against the New York Mets and three of four against the Miami Marlins. Their bullpen has quietly been one of the best in the league, attesting to their recent success.

The Rockies currently have the third-best bullpen in baseball, only trailing the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays in fWAR (2.4). The team’s bullpen, primarily consisting of Daniel Bard, Pierce Johnson, Brent Suter, and Brad Hand, has recorded a K/9 of 9.83 and a HR/9 of 0.69, good for ninth and third in the league.

Suter, the team’s best reliever, is currently the fifth-best reliever in baseball measured by fWAR (0.7). Picked up on waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers during the offseason, Suter acknowledged the task given and was prepared to take on the daunting task of pitching in Coors Field.

“As a visiting team going into Coors (Field), it was always like, ‘Wow, it’s really hard to beat the Rockies at Coors,’” Suter told Cronkite News. “So we have to make sure we have that high ground and mentality that, ‘This is our house.’”

Although the team is in last place in the division, the bullpen has certainly done its part. Ryne Nelson will take the mound on Monday for the first of four games against the Rockies this week. The Rockies will have Karl Kaufmann face the Diamondbacks in his third career start.

So far, the latter has begun his career with a 9.35 ERA in his first two starts. However, the division rival tends to give the Diamondbacks a run for their money, and for a team that’s won more games than they’ve lost this month, it should be a hard-fought series for both clubs.