The Colorado Rockies open the post-All-Star portion of their schedule with an important three-game series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks on Friday night. With the Rockies just two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and 1.5 games behind Arizona in the National League West standings, there is little question that these three games could be pivotal in the division (and Wild Card) race.
German Marquez (6-3, 3.76 ERA) will take the hill in the series opener against Arizona’s Robbie Ray (3-2, 5.03). Marquez was the winning pitcher in Colorado’s 19-2 victory over the Diamondbacks at Coors Field on July 11. That marked his first career win against Arizona in nine starts.
So what do you need to know heading into Friday’s game? Here are six facts that will make you sound smart with your friends … or on Twitter.
Why does it always have to be snakes?
This will be the fourth time this season Marquez has started against Arizona. In his three previous starts against the Diamondbacks, the 23-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA, allowing seven walks and recording 16 strikeouts.
He’s a winner
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Marquez has won each of his past three starts, allowing four runs across 20 innings pitched. He has allowed 12 hits with just two walks and 22 strikeouts over those 20 innings.
Starters getting it done
Marquez getting it done on the mound ties in with a recent hot streak by Colorado starting pitching. Heading into the second half, Colorado starters have logged a 2.25 ERA over their last 15 starts, spanning 92 innings. During that stretch, they have 10 quality starts, with the starters posting an 8-1 record.
Marquez starting on the road tonight will also hopefully continue a good trend this season. He has a 7.31 home ERA while posting a much, much better 2.62 ERA on the road.
The first and the furious
As Rockies fans well know, be ready for scoring early. Colorado leads Major League Baseball in runs scored in the first inning (80) but also leads the league in runs allowed in the first frame (82).
Going deep early
Much of that early scoring has come in the way of the long ball. Colorado has belted a Major League-leading 29 home runs in the first inning. However, their 24 home runs allowed are tied for the most in Major League Baseball.
As a side note, Nolan Arenado’s 10 first-inning home runs are tied for the most in Major League Baseball and his 26 RBI are the most in the opening frame.