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View from the other side: Rockies questions for Eric Garcia McKinley of Purple Row

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Oakland Athletics v Colorado Rockies Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Blue Jays start a 3-game series in Denver against the Rockies tonight. Coors Field is a nice place to watch a baseball game, and the downtown area around it is fun to explore (even if there was an “active shooter” incident, while I was there).

The Rockies are 28-27, sitting in 3rd in the NL West. They are second in the NL in runs scored per game at 5.36. And worst in the NL in runs allowed per game (but they haven’t faced us yet).

I sent off some questions to Eric Garcia McKinley of Purple Row and he answered them.

I have to ask about our old friend Jeff Hoffman. I thought when we traded him you were getting a top of the rotation starter. What’s happened with him?

I thought the same thing! Hoffman’s issues have been pretty straightforward over the past couple of seasons: He can’t get major leaguers out, but he’s good at walking them. That said, Hoffman has shown some more advancements in his major league starts this season, and now that Tyler Anderson is on the 60-day IL (and may be out for the season), Hoffman will get his longest rotation audition to date.

Speaking of old friends, I see that Seung-Hwan Oh’s ERA is up over 9. He was very good last year. What’s he doing different?

Relievers, man. Oh’s been extremely hittable, and his HR/FB% is a cool 25%. Couple that with a ten percentage point drop in his K-rate, and you have a reliever who’s more likely to be used for mop up duty than high leverage situations.

Can you give us a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see?

Friday night, the Rockies will send their best pitcher, German Márquez, to the mound. You’ll get 95 mph heat from him along with a hard to hit curveball and a slider. He’s throwing the slider more this year than in 2018. Jon Gray, who starts Saturday, has a similar repertoire, though he throws his slider a bit more. He has the stuff to be lights out, but he’s never put it all together (at least he’s put it together more than Hoffman though). Antonio Senzatela starts on Sunday. He’s almost a two pitch pitcher: fastball and slider. Late last season he developed his curveball a little bit, but he hasn’t been using it as much so far in 2019.

I was kind of surprised to see that Mark Reynolds is still playing in the MLB. Are the Rockies happy with him and Daniel Murphy sharing first? Could we interest you in a slightly used Justin Smoak?

I have no idea if they’re happy with them. I do know that neither has been very good. I wouldn’t say no to a used Smoak.

Who is your favorite Rockies’ player to watch and why?

It has to be Nolan Arenado. He’s a pleasure to watch on defense, and he’s been on fire at the plate lately. Trevor Story is a close second, mostly because of his power. He hit a 505 foot home run last year (which was one of three he hit in a single game). Story’s not bad on defense either.

Bud Black has had a long career managerial career, what do Rockies’ fans think of him. What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Rockies fans like Black. His strength is with the pitching staff. Sometimes he’ll trot to the mound to settle a pitcher down rather than pitching coach Steve Foster.

Is there anything us we should know about the Rockies?

Top prospect Brendan Rodgers is a player to watch. Also, the Rockies just called up Jesus Tinoco, the third prospect in the Tulo trade. It’ll be his first time in the big leagues. Maybe he’ll overshadow Hoffman in the end.

Thanks Eric.