At the start of the 2013 MLB season, no one could have reasonably predicted that the Colorado Rockies would have a better record than the Washington Nationals when the two teams meet for a three game series starting tomorrow.
The two teams were quite literally on opposite ends of the spectrum in 2012; the Nationals were 98-64, the Rockies were 64-98. The Nationals made a number of offseason moves and came into the season as a World Series favorite. The Rockies, on the other hand, were expected to be at the bottom of the National League West once again.
However, it’s the Rockies (34-30) and not the Nationals (31-31) with a record above .500 heading into their mid-week series. On paper, the Rockies appear to be favorites to take game one of the series as well.
Dan Haren takes the mound for the Nationals tomorrow evening after giving up five runs on seven hits in five innings against the New York Mets in his last start. The Nationals were no doubt thinking that Haren would rebound after a rough 2012 when they signed him this offseason. So far, however, he has been even worse than he was in 2012. In 2011, Haren posted an ERA of 3.17. In 2012, it rose to 4.33. So far in 2013, it’s up to 5.45.
As most baseball fans already know, Coors Field is notorious for turning routine fly-outs into home runs. No matter where they play though, the Rockies lineup is full of hitters who can hit the long ball. The Rockies are third amongst MLB teams with 83 home runs so far this year, led by Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, who are second and third respectively in the National League home run race.
Haren comes into the game with 15 homers allowed so far in 2013, tied for second-most of any pitcher in the majors, and there is a good chance that number will climb by the end of the night on Tuesday.
Opposing him will be Jhoulys Chacin, who has received a no decision in each of his last four starts. Chacin started the year with three wins in his first four starts, but hasn’t won since April 19th. However, the Nationals lineup is the worst (in terms of runs scored) that Chacin has faced in 2013.