No staff in baseball has received better pitching than the Colorado Rockies this season. And Wednesday afternoon brought the best outing yet.
German Marquez mowed through Oakland for six innings, the bullpen was again unblemished, and the Rockies won 5-1 to capture their fourth straight, finish a two-game sweep of the Athletics and complete a season-opening road trip 4-1.
“I see a little cockiness. I see a little confidence,” catcher Tony Wolters said of a Rockies pitching staff that has given up an MLB-low nine runs through nine games. “I see guys that have been really working hard, trying to get better, trying to get wins for the team.”
Marquez, the team’s opening day starter and burgeoning ace, struck out eight in six innings with one walk. He had two of those strikeouts through his first six pitches. The only run he allowed came on a full-count high fastball to Matt Chapman.
“I think he can look to the big boys around our league and around baseball and truly believe that he can match up with any of those guys,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “So there’s a true conviction in his belief in his ability, and I love that about him.”
Marquez (1-1) picked up his first victory after suffering a tough-luck 1-0 loss in the season opener at Texas on Friday. A balance offense supported him in this one, though he left with a slim 2-1 lead. Six Rockies players scored or drove in a run on Wednesday, none more stunningly than Trevor Story scoring from second base on a hustle play when Oakland mishandled a Charlie Blackmon comebacker to the mound.
Colorado is now five-for-five in receiving strong performances from starting pitchers. The group – Marquez in two starts; Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela in one apiece – have a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 25 strikeouts.
Wednesday's performance set a season-high in strikeouts (11) with a season-low in walks (2) and it matched the season low in runs allowed.
Marquez said the competition within the rotation has helped the success become contagious.
“It’s a big help to me to compete with us,” he told The Gazette after the start. “I’m so happy those guys are good. It’s good.”
Colorado’s pitching success includes the bullpen. Carlos Estevez, Jairo Diaz and Yency Almonte each threw scoreless innings on Wednesday, dropping the ERA for Colorado relievers to 1.08 in 16 2/3 innings.
The Rockies come home on Friday, opening the home schedule in this 60-game season when San Diego visits.