Colorado Rockies: Will German Marquez or Jon Gray get the Opening Day nod?

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 24: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field on April 24, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 24: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field on April 24, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Rockies have yet to name their Opening Day starter yet but there are two likely candidates: German Marquez and Jon Gray.

The Colorado Rockies have two main candidates to start on Opening Day for them in just over two and a half weeks on Thursday, March 26 in San Diego. Those candidates are German Marquez and Jon Gray.

Gray started for the Rockies on Opening Day in both 2017 and 2018 but, after his excellent 2018 season, the Rockies gave the ball to Kyle Freeland on Opening Day in 2019.

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After his disastrous 2019 campaign, though, Rockies manager Bud Black will likely turn back to Gray or German Marquez.

Gray, 28, had a nice rebound 2019 season as he went 11-8 with an ERA of 3.84 (135 ERA+) after he struggled to 5.12 ERA (93 ERA+) in 2018. However, his 2019 season was cut short due to a fractured leg that was sustained in August. Thus far in spring training, he has only made one start and he pitched two innings while allowing a run.

Marquez, 25, regressed a bit in 2019 as his ERA went up nearly a full run (3.77 to 4.76) and his FIP rose from 3.40 to 4.06. His walk rate improved but his strikeout rate decreased slightly from 10.6 K/9 to 9.1 K/9.

However, Marquez has made two starts in the spring thus far and in six innings, he has only allowed four hits and two runs.

Who will get the Opening Day start?

Personally, I think that Marquez will end up getting the nod for a few reasons. First off, he has had a little bit more work thus far in spring training than Gray and he has pitched well.

Secondly, at least in 2019, Marquez pitched much better in away games and day games, both of which will happen on Opening Day.

Game Conditions
SplitGPAABRH2B3BHRBBSOSO/WBAOBPSLGOPSBAbiptOPS+sOPS+
Night174354076011413218201055.25.280.318.455.773.334110102
Day1128626436601421115704.67.227.270.420.691.2668682
Home or Away
SplitGPAABRH2BHRBBSOSO/WBAOBPSLGOPSBAbiptOPS+sOPS+
Home133303035296151318844.67.317.354.495.849.397131126
Away153913684478121617915.35.212.254.397.651.2377568
Home or Away — Game-Level
SplitWLERAGGSIPHRERHRBBSOBFWHIPSO9SO/W
Home526.26131373.19652511318843301.55510.34.67
Away733.671515100.27844411617913910.9448.15.35

The Rockies also gave Marquez a contract extension at the beginning of last season. Jon Gray and Kyle Freeland have not received one yet so the extension would seem to indicate that the Rockies are more confident in.

For Gray, he actually pitched better at Coors Field in 2019 and he was about even between day and night games but he was slightly worse in day games (albeit, in a much smaller sample size).

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Bud Black will have a few tough decisions to make in the coming weeks regarding roster construction and, perhaps, this could be the toughest decision that he will have to make but in the end, I think that he will end up deciding to go with German Marquez.

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