Marquez, Rockies try to figure out streaking Astros

MLB

German Marquez has elite stuff, which is why he was the Colorado Rockies’ Opening Day starter. The right-hander has since pitched like an ace, but he doesn’t have the record of one.

Despite sporting a 2.25 ERA and having yet to allow more than two earned runs in an outing, Marquez is 2-3 in his five starts. He will look to keep his string of strong outings going Thursday, while at the same time ending another streak.

The Rockies host the Houston Astros for the final game of the teams’ four-game, two-city interleague series. The Astros enter the game having won seven straight games, the longest current winning streak in baseball.

The Astros won both games in Houston by 2-1 scores and then routed Colorado 13-6 on Wednesday night when the series shifted to Denver.

Houston will send rookie right-hander Cristian Javier to the mound to face the Rockies for the first time in his career. Javier (2-1, 2.91) is making his sixth appearance and fifth start. He’s gone at least six innings in two of his last three starts and has a 0.83 WHIP in 21 2/3 innings on the season.

He held Seattle to one hit and no runs over six innings in his last outing to get the win.

“I just have to keep believing in myself and keeping calm on the mound,” Javier said after that 2-1 win. “I got a lot of help from (catcher Martin) Maldonado as well, to keep attacking the strike zone.”

The Astros announced Wednesday that outfielder/designated hitter Yordan Alvarez will have season-ending surgery on his right knee. Adding to that, third baseman Alex Bregman left Wednesday’s game with a leg injury.

Marquez will be making his fourth career start against Houston; he is 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA in the previous three starts. The last time he faced the Astros in Colorado was July 2, 2019, when he allowed five runs — four earned — in six innings but didn’t figure into the decision.

In his last outing he took a hard-luck loss against Texas — his second loss to the Rangers this season despite holding them to three earned runs over 11 2/3 innings.

The Rockies have hit a rough patch that has lasted 10 games. After starting the season 11-3, Colorado has lost eight of its last 10, including the three straight to Houston. Runs have become hard to come by against the Astros, spoiling strong outings from the pitching staff.

In the seven games before Wednesday, Rockies starters had allowed just 15 earned runs and only once allowed more than three in an outing. Ryan Castellani gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings on Wednesday night.

Colorado is also dealing with some injury woes. Reliever Carlos Estevez has not pitched since getting hit on the hand by a line drive on Sunday. He didn’t suffer a fracture or break and could be used this week.

The Rockies did place outfielder David Dahl on the 10-day IL on Wednesday with lower-back stiffness and activated infielder Brendan Rodgers from the taxi squad.

Dahl was scratched from the starting lineup in Houston on Tuesday. Manager Bud Black said the team was still trying to pinpoint the problem.

“Low-back tightness, it’s the oblique. I heard them all (Tuesday),” he said. “We’re still waiting to get a true medical opinion from our doctors. It was an area that was sore that encompassed the whole area.”

–Field Level Media

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