The biggest hit to the Rockies’ bullpen was losing potential closer Scott Oberg to a reoccurrence of blood clots in his right arm before the season began. Another big blow has been the poor performance of right-hander Yency Almonte.
He appeared to have turned the corner last year when he led the Rockies with 27 2/3 innings pitched in the shortened season, posted a 2.93 ERA and walked only 2.0 batters per nine innings.
But the first half of Almonte’s 2021 season has been ugly. After he gave up five earned runs, including a grand slam, in the Cardinals’ six-run 10th inning Friday night at Coors Field, Almonte was left with an 11.52 ERA. Perhaps even more disconcerting, Almonte is walking 7.6 batters per nine and has served up seven home runs in just 25 innings.
“The thing that sticks out to me is the walk rate for Yency,” manager Bud Black said prior to Saturday night’s game vs. the Cardinals. “With the increased traffic, you have a tendency to maybe be a little bit too fine and try to make too good a pitch. That leads you down a bad path.
“And he’s been pitching behind in the count too much, and he’s not been on the attack early. He’s been in hitters’ counts and he’s had to throw strikes and I think hitters have feasted on that, to a certain extent.”
Black said Almonte’s arm is fine, adding that the fastball velocity (94.3 mph) is good. But Almonte is not locating his pitches and he’s failing to pitch in the bottom of the zone.
Rolison’s rough ride. Lefty prospect Ryan Rolison, who had a legitimate chance of making his big-league debut later this season, has run into a buzzsaw of bad luck. Rolison, 23, was pitching for Triple-A Albuquerque when he went on the injured list on June 14 after surgery to remove his ruptured appendix.
Then he recently suffered a fracture to the third knuckle of his left hand during batting practice while he was shagging flyballs. Black said the hope is that Rolison will begin throwing again in about 10 days. Rolison could begin a throwing program by the end of July.
All-Star Game tickets. MLB All-Star Game tickets are still being sold in limited quantities at allstargame.com.
Tickets also may be purchased for next Saturday’s MLB All-Star 5K at Civic Center Park, and next Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Celebrity Softball Game at Coors Field. Plus, tickets may also be purchased for the All-Star Workout Day on July 12 and the Home Run Derby on July 12.
Play Ball Park, scheduled to open Friday at the Colorado Convention Center, is free but requires a reservation to enter the facility.
For more information on all of the events, visit mlb.com/all-star.
Cardinals RHP Carlos Martínez (4-9, 6.38 ERA) at Rockies RHP Germán Márquez (7-6, 3.62)
1:10 p.m. Sunday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM
Márquez has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last six weeks and he’s coming off a one-hit gem vs. the Pirates in which he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. He became the first pitcher in franchise history to toss a one-hit complete-game shutout at Coors Field. He is 3-0 with one run and four hits allowed over his last three starts (23 innings). The right-hander is 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts at Coors Field, including 4-0 with a 0.51 ERA in his last five home starts. Márquez is 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five career starts against the Cardinals, including a 1.53 ERA in five starts against them in Denver. Martinez is making his first start at Coors Field since 2017. He’s 5-1 with a 5.49 ERA in seven career starts against the Rockies, with 44 strikeouts. It’s not been a good season for the veteran right-hander, who snapped a five-game losing streak on Tuesday by beating the woeful Diamondbacks, allowing one run on four hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings.
Trending: Entering Saturday night’s game, Rockies starters had allowed just 12 runs (11 earned) over their last 10 games for a 1.57 ERA.
At issue: Right fielder Charlie Blackmon’s subpar season has hit another dip. He was batting .175 (10-for-57) with no home runs, seven walks and 11 strikeouts over his last 15 games, entering Saturday’s play.
Tuesday: Rockies RHP Jon Gray (5-6, 3.89) at Diamondbacks RHP Riley Smith (1-4, 6.02), 7:40 p.m., ATTRM
Wednesday: Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-7, 4.58) at Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly (5-7, 4.67), 7:40 p.m., ATTRM