Colorado Rockies fans, don’t look too close at the statistics from your team’s quick two-game stopover against the Houston Astros in Denver over the last couple of days.
Say what you will about Houston, but the Astros came into Coors Field with bats blazing, racking up double-digit run and hit totals in both games against Colorado Rockies pitching to pull off a short sweep with a big statement.
That included on Thursday when a pair of five-run innings hung 10 runs on Rockies starter German Marquez as Houston went on to hold off a Colorado rally and post a 10-8 decision. This stunningly came after Marquez had allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his first five starts of the season. That tied Shawn Chacon (April of 2003) for the second-longest streak to begin a season in franchise history.
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However, Coors Field continues to be an issue for Marquez. He entered Thursday with a 4.92 ERA in 45 career starts at 20th and Blake. Mix that with a history that isn’t great against Houston (he faced them twice in 2019, both Rockies losses, posting a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings and maybe Thursday shouldn’t have been a complete shock.
But this isn’t an article about all that is wrong with the Rockies (and yes, there is plenty to discuss there after losing their seventh game in their last eight outings and dropping nine of their last 11). Let’s instead focus on something that we said needed to happen for Colorado’s offense to receive a needed boost.
Ryan McMahon blasted a pair of two-run homers in Thursday’s loss and is showing signs that things are coming back together for him at the plate. His average now stands at .225. While that is by no means what was expected of him this season, he certainly doesn’t look “lost” at the plate as he described himself just over a week ago.
“It looks as though Mac is seeing the ball well,” Colorado manager Bud Black said after the game.
And it isn’t just the long ball where McMahon is improving. Including Thursday, RyMac has posted five strikeouts over his past seven games (with no strikeouts in four of those contests). That comes after striking out in 15 of previous 16 games to start the season.
Case in point on a 3-2 sixth-inning pitch from Houston reliever Josh James that was a 97.9 mph fastball right at the top of the zone. McMahon held off and drew a walk and then worked the count for another walk in the eighth inning, part of a 2-for-3, 4 RBI day for him.
With the Rockies needing production from the bottom of the order, McMahon putting together not only good swings but a good eye at the plate is critical as Colorado heads out on a seven-game road trip through Los Angeles and Arizona.