German Marquez didn’t make very many mistakes on Saturday night. A hanging curve ball to Matt Wieters cost him a perfect game in the 6th inning, but the rookie still struck out a career high 10 batters over seven outstanding innings to lead the Rockies to a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals.
Marquez was truly dominant in this game, with a lively fastball and devastating breaking pitch that had Washington’s great lineup off balance all night. The buzz for this perfect game was real, as it still only took 99 pitches for Marquez to finish seven innings. He surrendered two runs and issued zero walks.
The beauty of Marquez going seven innings, among other things, is that the Rockies got to skip to the good part of their bullpen. Newly acquired Pat Neshek worked a clean 8th inning, helped by a would-be home run that sailed foul. Greg Holland was in fine form in the 9th, toying with the Nationals by throwing a bunch of his own curve balls and retiring the side in order.
We love to talk about upside, whether we’re talking about prospects and pretending to know something or actually talking about players worth the team’s investment. What’s clear at this point is that the 22-year-old Marquez offers real upside, right now, for a rotation that has some shakiness in its other spots. We probably knew that already, but Marquez declared it with emphasis by taking a perfect game into the 6th inning against the freaking Nationals.
If the great showing from the pitching staff wasn’t enough good news from you, then you will be happy to know that a particularly happy development came on the offensive side of things for the Rockies. Not only did Trevor Story bang a two-run home run, he hit it to the opposite field.
The good signs from the Rockies’ shortstop have been real lately, and as the team weighs their areas for improvement at the trade deadline, he very well may have done enough to put their mind at ease and their trade focus elsewhere.
The other two runs for the Rockies came on RBI doubles from their veterans. Gerardo Parra doubled over the unfortunate situation that is Adam Lind in left field to score DJ LeMahieu, and Mark Reynolds lined one off the wall to score Parra.
Let’s pause here, for a moment, to enjoy the play of Gerardo Parra. It’s OK, you can admit he’s like, your favorite player now. The 2016 season is behind us. Eyes forward. We can all love Parra together, even if we were making fun of the Rockies for loving him before the season started.
As for Washington’s offense, they were finally able to scratch out some runs against Marquez thanks to a mini-rally in that same 6th inning after the rookie lost his perfect game. Wilmer Defo ultimately drove in Howie Kendrick and Wieters to put a couple runs on the board for Washington.
Tanner Roark started for the Nationals, and he was unsteady over five innings. He gave up all four runs and issued four walks, but he also struck out eight batters. It might have been ugly for the Washington bullpen, especially with a doubleheader tomorrow, but they kept things clean for the rest of this game. Those efforts were highlighted by two shutout innings from Matt Albers.
This win is a boost for the Rockies in any number of ways. They are trying to right things after some brutal play on the road lately. They got an exceptional start from Marquez that they needed to take advantage of. They were able to immediately reap the benefits of the trade that landed them Neshek earlier this week.
Put those things together, and this was a big win. They will try to keep things going tomorrow in a doubleheader in Washington on Sunday, with Kyle Freeland starting opposite Erick Fedde.