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The Rockies are still struggling and it’s still a trap

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They’re really good and not struggling against the Giants.

MLB: New York Mets at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants lost 2 out of 3 to the Rockies in the final 3 games of May, dropping them to 26-30 and giving the Rockies a 30-26 record and 1.5 game lead in the NL West. Since then, they’ve fallen to 6.5 games back of the division lead, all thanks to their 8-14 record in June. They’re 38-40 and looking up at the Giants (40-39).

They began the month 2-8, which included a 5-game losing streak. There’s a 4-game winning streak mixed in there to make things a little bit better, and how they’re playing at any given moment almost never means anything when it comes to playing the Giants.

Their road record coming into last month’s series was 16-9; it’s now 23-18. Their home struggles have continued (15-23 at Coors Field) but they’re still doing that thing where they hit better at home than the road, and the pitching better on the road (by ERA, they’re two runs better: 4.17 away, 6.16 home). It’s good to hit at Coors.

The record is an odd reverse split, but pitching well on the road is usually how you win road games, so it’s not a mystery, and if they sweep the Giants, it’ll make perfect sense. There’s purple magic when these teams play.

Their .319 team wOBA is 5th in the NL, 11th in MLB, just ahead of the Blue Jays and just behind the Angels’ .320. And in the last 13 games (6 away, 7 home), they’ve hit 19 home runs and have a team OPS of .816, averaging 6.2 runs per game.

Over that same stretch, the pitching has posted a 6.51 ERA, allowed 17 home runs, 4.2 walks per game (on the season, they’re averaging about 3.6 per game) and struck 9.3 a game (averaging 8.58 per game on the season). And, again, now they play the Giants.

The national media has latched onto the narrative that their expensive bullpen has fallen to pieces, and to some extent, that’s true. Their three most expensive relievers are Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee. Davis ($16 milion) has an ERA+ of 108 in 30.2 innings, Shaw ($9 million) is at 63 in 35.2 innings and went on the DL yesterday; and, McGee ($7 million) is at 81 in 29 innings. Chris Rusin is another reliever with more than 25 innings pitched and his ERA+ is 68. For comparison, 4 of the 6 Giants relievers with 25 or more innings pitched have ERA+ over 100 (the exceptions being Cory Gearrin and Pierce Johnson). This would seem to be the most favorable part of the matchup for the Giants.

But. It’s. The. Rockies.

Hitter to watch: Nolan Arenado, always. In 55 plate appearances against the 3 scheduled starters (Holland, Bumgarner, and Stratton) he’s hit 3 homers and 3 doubles in his 13 total hits, walked 6 times and struck out 4 times for a line of .271 / .364 / .521 (.885 OPS).

The only current Giants he has a sub-.700 OPS against are Sam Dyson (.697; 11 PA), Johnny Cueto (.510; 35 PA), Steven Okert (.500; 2 PA), Hunter Strickland (.435; 17 PA), Andrew Suarez (.333; 3 PA), Will Smith (.000 in 2 PA), and Pierce Johnson (.000 in 1 PA). You can see very easily why the Giants are screwed here.

Pitcher to watch: Adam Ottovino is the one pitcher in their bullpen who’s had an outstanding season by any measure and at any altitude. On the season, he’s struck out 54 in 34.1 innings, given up 10 hits (only 2 of which are extra base hits — 1 double, 1 home run) and walked 11. Since returning from the disabled list on June 15, he’s pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 singles, walked a batter, and struck out 9. That walk was in his first game back and he had Jurickson Profar 3-2 in the count.

Expect him to be the one to snuff out Hunter Pence’s next attempt at a game-winning hit.

Prediction: Rockies take 2 out of 3 at AT&T Park to setup more pain next week when the Giants travel to Coors Field for a 3-game series.