The Milwaukee Brewers don’t really have much of an offense. Playing at Coors Field is supposed to cure that, but we thought the same thing about the San Diego Padres earlier this week and that didn’t really happen. The Colorado Rockies have certainly enjoyed home cooking this season, as it has been a tale of two different teams between home and the road.
We’ll take a deep dive into the evening first pitch in Denver, where Adrian Houser will start for the guys that used to play in Miller Park and Austin Gomber will pitch for the guys that still have a beer sponsorship on the name of their ballpark. The Brewers opened a short road favorite here at Jazz Sportsbook, but we should expect Colorado money throughout the day and they should close a favorite based on my analysis of the line. The total opened at 11 and that seems like a fair number.
The Brewers still aren’t a very good offense on the road, but certainly fare better outside of Milwaukee than they do at home. Entering play on Friday, the Brewers ranked 20th in wOBA at .298. They have struck out a lot and have walked a lot more on the road, but still don’t hit for power and haven’t made a lot of quality contact.
Milwaukee’s .267 BABIP on the road ranks in the bottom five in baseball. Usually we see BABIP as a measure of either luck or contact quality. In the case of the Brewers, who have struck out or walked in 37% of their plate appearances on the road, hitting in a lot of deep counts will take a toll on contact quality. It is harder to make solid contact swinging with two strikes.
Still, the road numbers are better than what we’ve seen at home, where Milwaukee has a pathetic .286 wOBA. Only the Mariners are worse, but when adjusted for park factor, the Brewers are easily the worst home offense in baseball. Their contact quality at home is even worse than what we’ve seen on the road. It has really been a sad state of affairs for this offense all season long.
That means the pressure is on Adrian Houser to keep doing what he’s been doing. Houser has a 3.62 ERA on the season over 64.2 innings of work. Houser has a 4.76 FIP, so there are some regression signs in the profile, but it is worth noting that a lot of the advanced metrics do not view extreme batted ball splits favorably.
What I mean by that is Houser is more of a pitch-to-contact guy with a 57.4% GB%. He’s allowed 10 homers in 64.2 innings, so his FIP has a point there, but Houser is able to work around walks and a low strikeout rate because he induces so many ground balls. That seems like a really good idea at Coors Field as well, so there is a path to success.
The path to success for the Brewers often means having Josh Hader and Devin Williams available. Because Hader and Williams have had a little bit of a lighter workload lately, so they should both be available if the Brewers have a lead late.
Austin Gomber has been a really pleasant surprise for the Rockies this season. Gomber has worked 76.1 innings with a 3.54 ERA and a 3.68 FIP since being acquired by Colorado in the Nolan Arenado trade with the Cardinals. Many laughed at the return for the Rockies and it still hasn’t been as good as it could have been, but Gomber has been a really strong piece for this Rockies rotation.
He, too, induces a lot of ground balls, but does have more strikeouts than Houser and a better walk rate as well. Gomber even has a 3.54 ERA with a really low LOB% at 65.8% on the season. His .240 BABIP looks unsustainably low, so there should be some give and take with his profile as we go forward. One thing to watch about Gomber is that he has a 0.95 ERA in 28.1 innings at home, which is astonishing. He’s pitched 48 innings on the road and has a 5.06 ERA. Usually we’d see something different from a Colorado pitcher.
The Rockies offense at home ranked third in wOBA at .347 going into Friday’s action. Certainly it is a great hitting environment and that plays a huge role. Not only does the ball carry well, but the outfield is rather spacious also. It has been very warm in Denver lately and the Rockies offense has very much enjoyed those conditions as well.
Entering play on Friday, the Rockies were 24-14 at home with 5.8 runs scored per game. On the road, the Rockies were 5-27 with 2.6 runs scored per game. Like I said, it’s been a tale of two different seasons for the Rockies this year whether they’ve been at home or on the road. It has apparently been a tale of two seasons for their opponents in those splits as well.
Brewers vs. Rockies Free Pick
The Rockies seem to have spent a lot of time and attention on pitching at home. Not only has the offense been significantly better, but the Rockies have allowed 4.8 runs per game at home and 5.6 runs per game on the road. This isn’t just an offensive fluke for the Rockies. Their pitching staff has been decidedly stronger at Coors Field. I’m not sure if that trend continues, but we have no reason to argue with it in this game, as the offensively-challenged Brewers face a tough pitcher.
Pick: Colorado Rockies