Chances are Austin Gomber won’t soon forget his first appearance on the mound as a member of the Colorado Rockies.
Gomber, who was obtained by the Colorado Rockies in the offseason trade that sent Nolan Arenado to St. Louis, allowed just one hit in a three-inning stint in his inaugural start for the Rockies.
Unfortunately, the left-hander issued a career-high seven walks in those three innings, including four in the first inning alone.
Interestingly enough, four walks had been his previous career high for a game.
Those four walks on Sunday, when coupled with a fielding error by Gomber, led to three first-inning runs (only one earned) and were instrumental as the Los Angeles Dodgers captured a 4-2 victory before a crowd of 20,368 at Coors Field in the finale of a season-opening four-game series between the National League West rivals.
With the loss, Colorado suffered its third straight setback after taking the series opener with an 8-5 win on Thursday.
The Rockies have now dropped five consecutive home series at the hands of the defending world champions, going 6-14 over that period.
So what does Sunday’s outing mean for Austin Gomber of the Colorado Rockies?
Gomber’s control struggles were out of line, based on his previous numbers with the Cardinals as well as during spring training with the Rox. He had 15 walks in 29 innings pitched a year ago while compiling a 1.86 earned run average in 14 games (four starts) with the Cardinals and just 47 walks in 104 innings for his Major League career.
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This spring, Gomber permitted just two walks in 19.1 innings pitched in six starts in Cactus League action. But the native of Winter Garden, Fla., struggled from the opening pitch on Sunday permitting walks to four of the first six Los Angeles batters he faced.
In his postgame comments Sunday to the media, including Rox Pile, Colorado manager Bud Black noted Gomber’s wildness was uncharacteristic for the southpaw.
"“Obviously, a pitcher that was out of whack today, something that we didn’t see in spring training,” Black said about the pitching performance.“(A) lack of command with all pitches,” the manager added. “He battled, though. He was frustrated. That probably added to the problem of not being able to throw consistent strikes.“Here is a guy that probably wanted, on his very first day in a new uniform in front of the home crowd, to really perform well and it went the other direction.”"
Gomber added two more walks in the second inning but escaped without any further damage, thanks in part to catcher Elias Diaz throwing out the speedy Mookie Betts, who was trying to steal second base after drawing a walk.
Gomber was even at a loss for words about his being unable to find the strike zone consistently in his Rox debut.
"“It’s very frustrating. It’s just not who I am,” Gomber said about his 73-pitch outing, which included just 37 strikes. “I never really have been a guy that is a high walk guy. We’ll learn from it and move on.”"
While his performance was not what he had hoped, Gomber is ready to turn the page and make the necessary adjustments while looking forward to his next start.
"“I am pretty confident it will be something that I will be able to find,” he said about any changes he might need to make. “Like I said, it’s not an issue I typically have so I think it will be pretty clear whether it was delivery or what it was. We’ll fix it.”"
All was not lost for Gomber on Sunday. At the plate, he recorded Colorado’s first hit of the day with a third-inning single, his first base hit since Sept. 13, 2018, also against the Dodgers.
The hit was one of only four on the day that the Rockies managed against Los Angeles pitching. Dodgers starter Julio Urias handcuffed Colorado batters surrendering just three hits in seven shutout innings.
Trailing 4-0 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the Rockies plated their only runs on a two-out, two-run double by Garrett Hampson off Dodgers reliever Jimmy Nelson.
With Hampson aboard, the tying run came to the plate in the form of Trevor Story. But Story struck out to end the threat.
Hampson ended the Los Angeles series with doubles in back-to-back contests.
"“I took some good at bats,” he said in evaluating his play in the series with the Dodgers. “I missed a couple of pitches that I could have put in play and done some damage on but I thought my at bats were okay this series. That’s something that I am taking a lot of pride in this year. I want to take good at bats and get on base for my teammates.”"
Rockies pitchers limited Los Angeles to just four hits in the series finale, but the Dodgers reached base nine times via walks.
Chi Chi Gonzalez followed Gomber with three scoreless innings, allowing no hits, while Carlos Estevez and Mychal Givens each tossed an inning of scoreless relief.
After a day off from action Monday, the Rockies open a three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks at 6:40 p.m. (Mountain time) Tuesday at Coors Field. German Marquez is slated for his second start of the season on Tuesday.