Can Colorado Rockies starting pitcher José Ureña keep the ball down in the strike zone on Friday night against the San Francisco Giants? The answer to that question could well determine how the opening game of a three-game series at Coors Field between the two National League West rivals will go.
Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants: Jose Ureña is the player to watch on Friday night
In his last two starts for the Colorado Rockies, the 30-year-old Ureña has pitched a total of 12.0 innings and given up five home runs in the process. The rise in home runs has come along with a rise in pitches high in the strike zone, and that’s a problem for the Rockies and the right-hander.
“The ball-strike ratio can be better — the walks have crept in there,” Colorado manager Bud Black said after Ureña’s last start on August 13 in Arizona. “He must keep the ball down the way he did initially.”
Ureña showed promising signs for the Rockies early in his tenure with the team, allowing just one homer in his first 18.2 innings as he posted a 1.45 ERA in his first three starts. Two of those starts came in Denver, where keeping the ball low in the strike zone is of the utmost importance.
However, in those first three starts, Ureña was also able to work around eight walks, a troubling sign early as his FIP during that same span stood at 4.14, proving that there was some good fortune involved in his first three outings.
That fortune, however, quickly turned as he gave up 12 runs over his next two starts, walking five in the process. Since then, in three August starts totaling 16.0 innings, opponents are hitting .293 against him and he’s given up 17 hits, including those five homers.
Entering his ninth start for Colorado, the ERA (5.02) and FIP (5.59) have more closely aligned as Ureña prepares for his first outing of the season against San Francisco.
What we’re watching: Can Urena keep the walks to a minimum and keep the ball down in the zone against the Giants? WynnBet currently has the over/under for the game in the first five innings at 6.5 runs, so the oddsmakers are expecting some early fireworks (as can usually happen in Denver).
Colorado needs Ureña to be crisp as they look to snap out of a five-game losing skid.