At the onset of the 2019 season, the Colorado Rockies remain on a 162-0 pace.
While that record will undoubtedly change, the team has followed the lead of their pair of young aces in Kyle Freeland and most recently, German Marquez.
Backing the efforts of a pair of quality starts from the top of their rotation has been a solid offense. After tallying six runs on Opening Day, the Rockies were forced to grind out their runs against Trevor Richards, choosing to instead pile onto the Marlins bullpen in a 6-1 win.
Ahead are a handful of takeaways from yet another victorious meeting for the visitors.
Marquez returns the favor after early aid
Last season, the biggest area of weakness for German Marquez was the opening inning. Still trying to find his offspeed pitches, his earned run average was 8.45, with each subsequent inning yielding better results than his inaugural frame.
Against the Marlins, the trend continued early, with a walk of Curtis Granderson to lead off the game. To his aid, Tony Wolters tossed out Granderson trying to steal after a strikeout of Brian Anderson, clearing the basepaths.
Paying it forward, Marquez struck out four of the next seven hitters, led by the resurgence of his breaking ball. Each one of the quartet of punchouts was via Marquez’ curveball.
When the Marlins did put the ball in play, it was on the ground. Of the eight hitters that put the ball in play, outside of two hits, all were retired by groundout.
A thorn in the side of Marquez once again was Granderson. Coming into the game, the veteran outfielder was 3-6 in his career against Marquez, a mark that moved to 4-6 after a one-hit, two-walk day in their latest bout.
The one-run outing further continued Marquez’ ascendance among the league’s elite young flamethrowers, a welcome sight for the Rockies’ future.
Trevor Richards has the Rockies’ number
If Marlins Stadium is a house of horrors for the Rockies, Trevor Richards has a premium seat in their nightmares.
Last season, starting at Coors Field, Richards had one of his best outings of the year. In his six innings, he only allowed one earned run, three hits and struck out eight. Against the Rockies, this time at home, Richards locked down their battery once again.
Through 5.2 innings, Richards had only allowed three hits and sat down nine-consecutive hitters before Trevor Story walked in a lengthy eight-pitch at-bat.
The sixth frame proved to be his last, with 14 of his 18 final pitches being offspeed, a key to his success against the visitors, though three of their four hits against him came on a non-fastball offering.
In two starts following his latest outing, Richards now sits at 12 innings with only a pair of earned runs and 12 strikeouts.
In other words, the Rockies are glad they don’t have to face him again anytime soon.
Murphy drawing the short straw still
Peruse the box score and there remains only a lone hit through 10 at-bats for the Rockies’ prized offseason acquisition.
Looking further down the chart, Daniel Murphy still has yet to strikeout for his new club. Each ball has been put in play, with a handful of line drives to boot, but no base hits.
Already hitless in four at-bats, Murphy stepped to the plate looking to avoid another 0-for-5 performance. Appearing to clinch his fate was an error by Brian Anderson after Murphy popped a ball up to shallow left field, a mishap that was later changed to Murphy’s first hit of the year.
In his career, Murphy has gotten on base at a .344 percentage, a mark that rises to .375 in his last three seasons.
The defense provided by Murphy has been excellent thus far, with a sliding play in his second game adding to his highlight reel this year.
The dividends of the bat of Murphy are on their way. Patience, in the face of an unlucky spree, is warranted.
The burden of South Beach may be a thing of the past
Whether it’s the Marlins ineptitude in the midst of their rebuild or a motivated Rockies team, the latter has now won two consecutive games at Marlins Park.
The spree marks the first multiple-game win streak in a single season for the Rockies since the venue’s 2012 inception. In that span, the team had an 18-30 record overall.
Through two games, the Rockies have tallied 12 runs, led by multiple four-run innings. While hitting has been a struggle early, even after the demolition of the vibrant home run statue in centerfield, the wins are beginning to come behind late hitting sprees.
For the series’ final two games, the Rockies hold the starting pitching advantage, with Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray toeing the rubber against Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara respectively.
Pending a miscue, a sweep is well within the sights of the visitors.
As discussed after yesterday’s game, Ian Desmond is looking like an upgrade in centerfield thus far, headlined by his latest grab:
HR Robbery? Who but Ian Desmond. pic.twitter.com/GDA8UkWBay
— MLB (@MLB) March 30, 2019