In a season where the Colorado Rockies seem more weary to leave home than I was in fifth grade when it was time for summer camp, it’s refreshing to see one of the best pitchers in franchise history going to work at Coors. (For context, all I did at summer camp was cry and wear a T-shirt at the pool.)
While very little about this season has been remotely good, let’s take a moment to celebrate the bright spots. Here, we’ll be highlighting Germán Márquez before his start on Tuesday (June 1) against the Texas Rangers.
Germán Márquez and his place in Colorado Rockies pitching history
While Márquez’s numbers aren’t much to write home about this season, (3-5 with a 4.47 ERA), he has turned it around as of late. To start the season, he struggled with his fastball command and got roughed up against the Reds a couple of weeks ago but ever since then he has a 0.69 ERA in his last two starts.
He has a good chance to replicate that success against the Rangers. It helps that they’re the worst team in the AL West and that Márquez pitched really well against them, only giving up three runs in two games against them last year.
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The more important context though is what Márquez did in his last game against the New York Mets. He struck out Cameron Maybin for his 700th career strikeout. He became the fastest Rockie ever to accomplish that feat. He’s really not that far out for the most strikeouts in franchise history. Jorge De La Rosa, widely considered the best Rockies pitcher ever, has 985. De La Rosa has 86 wins compared to Marquez’s 45 wins. Ubaldo Jimenez has 773 strikeouts, Pedro Astacio has 749, Jeff Francis has 742 and Jon Gray has 740. Even if the Gray Wolf gets traded before the end of the season, it seems reasonable that he could be second all-time in Rockies strikeouts.
Hopefully Márquez is with the Rockies long enough to become the all time leader in strikeouts. He already has the lowest ERA among those starters at 4.26. De La Rosa is not far behind him though with a 4.35 ERA with nearly double the amount of innings pitched.
Whatever happens, Márquez is already one of the best pitchers ever in Denver.
Maybe those numbers won’t impress many outside of Rockies fandom but Márquez is standing toe-to-toe with some of the game’s forever greats. Márquez has the most strikeouts ever in their first 120 games by any Venezuelan-born pitcher with 702. That includes King Felix Hernandez, who is one of Marquez’s favorite pitchers. Maybe behind Ian Stewart for DJ LeMahieu, Corey Dickerson and Kevin Padlo for Jake McGee and Márquez from the Tampa Bay Rays was one of the best trades the Rockies have ever made.
It’s too bad that when the Rockies finally put together a competent pitching staff for the first time ever, they somehow now can’t hit. That was summed up well in when Márquez set those records against the Mets, all to lose that game 1-0.
If the last year has taught us anything though, it’s to look for the silver linings. Whatever happens next, it’s been a pleasure watching Germán Márquez pitch in purple.