The Colorado Rockies and the notion of trouble pitching at altitude have gone together like peanut butter and jelly for years. After all, pitching in Denver is almost like trying to throw a baseball on the moon (or so many flatlander scribes are apt to write and tweet).
So if Coors Field is such a tough place to pitch, isn’t it time that Rockies starting pitcher Germán Márquez is getting more credit for the roll he continued on during Tuesday night’s outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates?
You know, the outing where he threw eight no-hit innings and led the Rockies to an 8-0 victory? You will hear a lot about the near no-no, but there’s a lot more to Márquez right now than his flirt with history on a random Tuesday night in June in LoDo.
Take a look at the pitching numbers put up at Coors Field by Colorado Rockies pitcher Germán Márquez.
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Heading into Tuesday night, the 26-year-old right-hander had a 0.69 ERA in his four previous starts at Coors Field. If you don’t want to do the math, that’s two earned runs allowed in his last 26 innings. That’s also the fourth-lowest ERA in MLB home starts this season and the second-lowest ERA in any four starts in franchise history (only topped by Jason Hammel’s 0.64 run).
Add in no earned runs in nine innings on Tuesday and that’s now two earned runs in 35 frames for an 0.51 ERA … in Denver … at altitude.
So, again, if Denver is such a tough place for a pitcher to effectively hone his craft, why aren’t we talking more about what Márquez is doing right now?
Oh, and let’s make sure we’re not overlooking what Márquez has done in his last three combined starts (two home and one in Seattle). After a harmless groundout to second to end the eighth inning on Tuesday, Márquez had allowed just three hits over 22 innings. That includes no hits through those eight innings on Tuesday.
And, with Tuesday’s start, Márquez became the third pitcher in Major League Baseball history to pitch at least 23 innings while surrendering just one or fewer runs and four or fewer hits over a three-start span, joining Johnny Vander Meer (1938) and Rube Marquard (1911).
It doesn’t matter what altitude your home ballpark sits at, those numbers are good in any era … and not a fluke.
Of course, plenty will point to the eight earned runs Márquez gave up on May 4 against San Francisco and the same number surrendered on June 12 in Cincinnati. In between those starts, however, Márquez logged a 1.89 ERA through six starts.
Yes, the occasional blown tire has occurred on Márquez’s Highway 2021. However, when struggles have hit, he’s been quick to adjust and rebound. Much like when Ka’ai Tom led off the ninth inning on Tuesday with a single to spoil the no-hit bid, Márquez regrouped and got Michael Perez to ground into a double play.
Absolutely, let’s revel in the brush with history on Tuesday night and what could have been, but let’s also make sure that we’re taking a step back and acknowledging what Márquez has been doing for some time now.