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Two Young Hurlers Face Off at Coors Field Tonight

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I have been extremely impressed by Colorado southpaw Tyler Anderson, who began the season on the Disabled List with a right oblique strain. The 20th overall selection in the 2011 draft, Anderson impressed in his Major League debut on June 12 against the Padres at Coors Field, allowing just one extra-base hit and recording 60 strikes among his 92 pitches (6.3 IP; 1 ER; 6/0 K/BB).

The talented lefty followed up that performance with another solid against the Marlins, limited Miami to two runs over 5 2/3 innings of work. Overall, Anderson owns a 2.25 ERA and 0.91 WHIP this season, and boasts a 10/1 K/BB ratio in 12 innings pitched.

Anderson’s surface statistics are fully supported by his underlying metrics: 1.70 FIP, 2.67 xFIP and 2.88 SIERA. The 26-year-old also owns a 58.8% GB%, which will certainly help him in Colorado’s thin air. Indeed, the youngster has now allowed a home run in his first two career starts.

Anderson now faces an injury-riddled Arizona lineup missing outfielders David Peralta (lower back sprain), Chris Owings (plantar fasciitis) and A.J. Pollack (elbow surgery). The Diamondbacks are ranked 17th in MLB in runs scored on the road and have struggled to plate runs in June.

Specifically, Arizona is currently ranked 21st this month in both runs scored and OPS (.715), while also ranking 26th in OBP (.302). Meanwhile, Arizona right-hander Archie Bradley toes the rubber with a 4.83 ERA and 1.31 WHIP this season, including posting a 7.87 ERA and 1.75 WHIP at night, a 6.56 ERA and 1.41 WHIP versus division foes and a 4.67 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over his last three starts. The 23-year-old also owns a 6.14 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in two career starts against the Rockies.

The blue-chip prospect has always struggled with his command, walking nearly five batters per nine innings in the minors (12% walk rate). This season, Bradley owns a 4.39 BB/9 rate and a corresponding 11.4% BB%. Bradley has also been susceptible to giving up the long ball (1.54 HR/9), which is a certain death sentence at Coors Field where the Rockies are 1st in MLB in OPS (.892), OBP (.365) and SLG (.527).

Equally important, Bradley’s lack of command will be put to the test tonight as the Rockies are 5th in MLB in drawing walks at home, while owning the 4th-fewest strikeouts.  With Colorado standing at 21-12 (+14.7 units) following a one-run loss over the past two seasons, take the Rockies at Coors Field and invest with confidence.

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