MLB Series Expert Betting Predictions: Colorado Rockies vs Milwaukee Brewers
"Rocktober" is back in full force, and all feels right in the world again.
Last night, the Colorado Rockies went into Wrigley Field and beat the Chicago Cubs in the NL Wild-Card Game. They did so after losing the NL West Crown to the LA Dodgers and then flying across the country overnight. The Rockies gutted out a hard-fought 2-1 win, and their reward for doing so is a trip to Milwaukee for Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday. The Brewers are rested, and that's thanks to a tie-breaking win on Monday that saw them capture the NL Central title away from the Cubs. This series has the makings to be the most exciting NLDS of them all.
As of writing this, the Rockies are +450 to win the NL Pennant , while the Brewers check in at +220, second-favorite behind the Dodgers. Before we get into the complete breakdown of the pitching and hitting lineups, let's take a look at what each team brings into this postseason. For starters, this will be the first postseason meeting between these two franchises, so the narrative of the series has yet to be written.
As a franchise, the Rockies have yet to win a World Series. In 2007, the Rockies made it to the Fall Classic but were swept away by the Red Sox. And up until last night they had not won a playoff game since.
On the other hand, the Brewers only trip to the World Series ended in defeat in 1982. This year will be their first playoff round since 2011, a year in which they beat Arizona in the NLDS but ultimately fell short in the NLCS, losing to the Cardinals 4-2.
The Rockies rotation is somewhat underrated, and that's partly because it features no household names or guys that people consider good enough to start on the elite teams. But let me tell you - that is far from the case. For starters, pitching at Coors Field is a major disadvantage when it comes to stats. Coors Field is a hitter-haven, so for guys like Kyle Freeland and German Marquez to post winning records (17-7 and 14-11) and have ERAs less than four, that's impressive. Freeland was the starter against the Cubs, and he performed extremely well under the bright lights. The Game 1 starter, Antonio Senzatela, started 13 games this season and posted a 6-6 record with a 4.38 ERA. From just a name perspective, many would think the Brewers have the edge in pitching, but I really like what this Rockies rotation looks like. Not to mention the bullpen, which, since Sept. 1, has the third-best ERA in the Majors at 2.97.
The Brewers pitching rotation is another unit that has been undervalued all year long. Based on stats alone, the ace of the rotation is Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin posted a very respectable 15-8 record with a 3.50 ERA in 192.2 innings of work. He had the most wins on the team and the lowest ERA, so it's no surprise that the Brewers entrusted him on Monday to win them the division crown. Beyond Chacin, guys like Chase Anderson and Gio Gonzalez both had solid years, with the latter coming over in a trade from Washington at the deadline. The Brewers bullpen is amongst the best in the Majors. And since Sept. 1, the Brewers have the best bullpen ERA at 1.98.
The Rockies lineup has some serious power littered throughout the lineup, and they are led by the trio of Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado. Blackmon had a solid year this year, posting 29 home runs and driving in 70 while scoring 119 runs of his own. He led the team in runs scored, but it was Arenado who led the team in home runs with 38 and RBIs with 110, one and two more than Story had, respectively. If the series goes the way I expect it will go - higher scoring - the Rockies are going to be a tough out given the fact they already know how to win higher-scoring games (playing half their games at Coors Field) and given the fact that they have more support beyond trio mentioned above.
On the other hand, the Brewers lineup is chock full of experience with guys like Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas and Curtis Granderson. However, it will be up to Christian Yelich to lead the way offensively this series. Yelich has been somewhat of a revelation this season, posting ridiculous numbers including a .326 average, .402 OBP, .598 SLG, 187 hits, 36 home runs, 118 runs and 110 RBIs. He fell just short of winning the MLB Triple Crown, coming in one home run and one RBI short of the leaders. Beyond Yelich, guys like Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw have hit 35 and 32 home runs, respectively, so there is power scattered throughout the lineup.
Who Has the Edge
This series has the potential to be the most exciting NLDS series. It features two teams with loaded lineups and solid bullpens. It'll be interesting to see if the bullpens hold up or the lineups get the better of them, but I'm banking on the lineups, especially at Coors Field, which is good for a few runs extra per game. Look, at the end of the day, the Rockies have played in LA, Chicago and now Milwaukee in the span of about 72 hours. I wouldn't be shocked if Milwaukee got the better of them in the opening game and held on for the series win.
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