When Jon Gray walked off the mound on June 4, the Colorado Rockies feared the worst for their right-hander. Gray has pitched well this season and a tight forearm oftentimes is a precursor to Tommy John surgery.
Gray’s injury wasn’t as severe as first feared and he should be back soon. But while he works his way back, right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez has stepped into the rotation for Colorado. The journeyman will make his second start since Gray’s injury when the Rockies host the San Diego Padres Tuesday night in Denver.
Colorado won the first game of the series, 3-2, on Monday night behind eight strong innings from Austin Gomber.
The Padres will send right-hander Yu Darvish (6-2, 2.28 ERA) to the mound Tuesday night. San Diego has struggled to score runs, tallying just nine runs in their past seven losses with two shutouts. They have lost 11 of their past 15 and have slipped to third place in the National League West, four games behind the San Francisco Giants.
“We’re definitely a frustrated group,” manager Jayce Tingler said after Monday night’s loss.
Gonzalez (2-4, 5.74) struggled in his most recent start in Miami last Thursday, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in five innings. He was tagged for three home runs, and despite striking out six, he struggled with his location. The Marlins won 11-4.
“He just missed spots,” manager Bud Black said. “A lot of pitchers in this league cannot miss spots, and Chi Chi is one of them.”
Gonzalez has been a different pitcher at home, where he is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in five games. Tuesday will be his second start of the season against San Diego, with the first one coming on the road. He took a hard-luck 3-0 loss at Petco Park on May 19 when he allowed just two runs over six innings.
He is still looking for his first victory against the Padres. He is 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against them.
Darvish is making his 14th start of the year, which is two more than he made in the truncated 2020 season. He has pitched seven innings three times this season, and one of those came against the Rockies in a 7-0 win on May 17.
Darvish threw just 81 pitches in that win and could have easily gone out for the eighth but his night ended after seven.
“I have no problem with it,” Darvish said at the time. “I actually thought I was going back out in the eighth inning, but obviously Jayce has his ideas, and I don’t have any problem with that.”
His other start against Colorado was during a doubleheader on May 12 when he went four innings but didn’t figure into the decision. He has yet to allow an earned run to the Rockies this season and has given up just six hits in 11 overall innings.
The win on May 17 was his first ever against Colorado. Overall, he is 1-3 with a 5.30 in seven career starts against the Rockies. Three of those outings have come at Coors Field, where he is 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA.
–Field Level Media