Preview: Stanton 3 home runs away from 60 as Marlins visit Coors Field
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 8 p.m.
DENVER — Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will continue his quest to hit at least 60 home runs Monday when Miami faces the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, where he has a robust history.
Meanwhile, the Rockies hold the upper hand in the chase for the second National League wild card and will be trying to move closer to the postseason when they begin the three-game series with the Marlins.
Odrisamer Despaigne (0-3, 4.37 ERA) will start for the Marlins with Tyler Chatwood (8-13, 4.56) taking the mound for the Rockies.
Stanton hit his 57th home run on Saturday at Arizona. It was his third homer in six games and sixth homer in 20 games this month. That is a decent pace but nothing like his otherworldly August, when Stanton hit 18 home runs in 29 games, including a stretch of six consecutive games with a homer.
The Marlins and Rockies will play night games on Monday and Tuesday before concluding their series with an afternoon game Wednesday. Stanton has thrived at Coors Field, where he has said the hitting background beyond the wall in center field at night is unsurpassed.
In 20 career games at Coors Field, Stanton is hitting .316 (25-for-79) with a 1.211 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 10 homers, 24 RBIs and 12 walks. He went 4-for-12 with a double, home run and six RBIs in three games over the weekend at Arizona.
“I’m locked in,” Stanton said after going deep Saturday. “I’m not worried about (the attention). I embrace it, understand it, and know the better I do, the more it’s going to come. I put that as my hard work. You can’t run from it, and know that it’s there. Don’t let it be a distraction. Have fun with it. It’s a cool thing for baseball, a cool thing for a lot of reasons.”
The Marlins (72-82) swept three games from the Rockies in Miami from Aug. 11-13, winning 6-3, 4-3 and 5-3.
Despaigne is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in six games (two starts) against the Rockies and 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in three games (one start) at Coors Field.
He has pitched in 16 games for Miami this season and made six starts, including five since Aug. 26. In those five starts, Despaigne went 0-2 with a 4.39 ERA, walking 13 walks and striking out 10 in 27 innings.
The Marlins won his last outing 5-4 in 10 innings Tuesday against the New York Mets. Despaigne allowed six hits and three runs in six innings and left the game trailing 3-1.
He has been far more successful this season against right-handed batters, limiting them to a .176 average and .509 OPS in 88 plate appearances. Lefties own a .306 average and .834 OPS against Despaigne in 114 plate appearances.
Chatwood is 0-1 with a 14.29 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins in 2012 and 2016. Since he returned to the Colorado rotation Sept. 5, Chatwood is 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA. He lost his last start Wednesday at San Francisco when he gave up five hits and three runs in six innings as the Rockies fell 4-0.
Colorado (84-72) was shut out in three of four games for the first time in franchise history before beating San Diego 8-4 on Sunday to split a four-game series.
The Sunday win coupled with losses by both Milwaukee (82-74) and St. Louis (81-74) left the Rockies two games ahead of the Brewers and 2 1/2 games in front of the Cardinals in the wild-card chase. The Rockies’ final six games are at home with the Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We’re in a good place,” Colorado center fielder Charlie Blackmon said after the Sunday game. “We just got a really good win, and we’re going home. We don’t have to worry about travel and all that mess. We can just be at home and worry about baseball.”
One concern for the Rockies is the health of third baseman Nolan Arenado, who is tied with Stanton for the major league lead in RBIs and is arguably the best defensive player at his position.
Arenado departed the Sunday game in San Diego with either a sprain or a bruise to his right hand. After the game, Rockies manager Bud Black said Arenado’s right hand “was swelling up during the game.”
Losing the slugger for any time this week could be a severe blow to the playoff hopes of a Rockies team already in a bit of an offensive funk. Arenado is listed as day-to-day, and he said he expects to miss one game.