Editor’s Note: With the Colorado Rockies making their home debut on Friday against the San Diego Padres, we asked our editorial team for what could be some of their personal Coors Field highlights of the 2020 season. Here is the first in that installment.
It’s weird to write about baseball when baseball is actually back. I’m never taking that for granted again. With everything that is happening with Marlins and Phillies, any part of this season feels like a gift. So as we look ahead in this article, we acknowledge everything that it took to get here, and continue to wish the best health for everyone involved moving forward.
Every game is a blessing and once it was announced that Sundays, in this shortened season, will be Shohei Ohtani days on the mound, it feels extra special. As a Colorado Rockies fan who cheers for a club that plays the Los Angeles Angels on a Sunday, this has us chomping at the bit.
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Now that the Rockies play exclusively against the AL and NL West, the club has a meeting with the Angels on Sunday, September 13 at Coors Field. So far, there has only been one Sunday game this season and Ohtani’s return came along with it.
The Angels faced the Oakland A’s and they didn’t give the right-hander any mercy in his return to the mound since September 2, 2018. That season he had damage to his UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery after the season. He didn’t pitch at all in 2019.
In that Sunday afternoon game against the A’s, Ohtani gave up five runs and did not record an out in a game where the Angels lost 6-4. Only 15 of his 30 pitches were strikes and he topped out at 94.7 mph, which is far off from his average of 96.7 during his rookie season in 2018. Ohtani also started slow at the plate, going 3-19 in his first four games, but he does have one home run.
Certainly the rust of a year-plus layoff has affected Ohtani and he should have many more opportunities to get to his Rookie of the Year status before the matchup with the Rockies. The Rockies bats are starting to come alive after a slow start against the Rangers, but the pitching staff, especially German Marquez, has elevated this club early in the season to bring them to a 4-1 record before they play their first game at Coors Field on Friday.
The momentum this pitching staff had early in this shortened season should make an excellent matchup against one of the most exciting players in a generation in Ohtani. Hopefully the Rockies are at full strength and Ohtani’s first outing a Coors Field is much like his one starting the season in Oakland. Getting to that mid-September game will be so special for many reasons in this crazy season. We can’t wait.