If you’re like me, pitching is far more interesting than hitting. There’s something special about the fact that the hurler is the one who dominates the action and starts it whenever he pleases and how he’s the only one standing higher than every other player on the field, all by himself in the middle of the diamond. Anyway, enough waxing poetic about pitching: we’re going to take a look back at the ten best pitching performances of the 2021 season by any Rockies starter, and for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to do this sorting by regular Game Score, which is explained here (if you need a guide). On we go!
- Germán Márquez, 29/6 vs PIT (9.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR), 89 GSc
Ah yes, the near no-no. This is, no joke, the most intense baseball game I’ve ever watched. Anyone who knows me will be aware that Germán is my favorite pitcher, and from the fifth inning onwards my heart was pounding so hard I thought I was about to to pass out at some points. Game Score considers it the best performance by a Rockies pitcher this year, and I agree. Vehemently. Get used to seeing Germán on this list, by the way.
- Germán Márquez, 23/6 @ SEA (8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR), 81 GSc
I wanted Germán to come out for the ninth so badly in this one, but it was still an incredible outing where Márquez went 5.2 innings before allowing the first Mariner hit. Also, let’s appreciate the fact that these two utterly dominant starts came back to back.
- Austin Gomber, 14/6 vs SDP (8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR), 80 GSc
95 pitches through eight shutout innings is a pretty good day at the office. Daniel Bard managed to make this game closer than it actually was, as the final score was a 3-2 victory for the good guys, but Gomber was in a total groove here, in a game that lasted just over two and a half hours.
- Germán Márquez, 10/7 @ SDP (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0 HR), 79 GSc
This was Márquez’s final start before the All-Star Game, and what an outing it was. The Venezuelan firmly outdueled Joe Musgrove and probably could’ve pitched deeper into the ballgame (he was only at 86 pitches through 7 IP), but this was a phenomenal start regardless. Oh and as a bonus, the Padres went 26-44 after this game.
- Antonio Senzatela, 29/8 @ LAD (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR), 77 GSc
Purely from a stuff standpoint, I’d confidently say this is one of the three best starts of Senza’s career, and it was even sweeter considering how much trouble he’d had against the Dodgers up to that point.
- Antonio Senzatela, 7/4 vs ARI (8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 HR), 75 GSc
Back to back appearances on the list for Mr. Senzatela. This was his second start of the year, and Senza was in peak Senza form, inducing a whopping 16 grounders through his eight innings of work. A great confidence builder after getting shelled by the Dodgers in his first outing.
- Germán Márquez, 21/5 vs ARI (7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 0 HR), 74 GSc
Usually, when Germán Márquez walks three or more hitters, he tends to have rough outings, but that wasn’t the case here, with Marquee blanking the D-Backs through seven. Also, he gets extra credit from me for this performance snapping a five-game losing streak.
- Austin Gomber, 24/5 @ NYM (8.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 2 HR), 74 GSc
I remember this one well. Gomber got through eight shutout innings at Queens on a reasonable pitch count, me and everyone following the game on Twitter got our wish to see him get a shot at a complete game... and then Gomber allowed a homer and a single, getting pulled before recording an out. It was a terrific outing nonetheless, but this one could’ve been top two had Austin managed to get three more outs.
- Germán Márquez, 1/6 vs TEX (7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR), 74 GSc
Just pure domination here once again. To allow just two hits in seven innings at Coors Field is no mean feat, and Germán made it look easy. This was in the middle of a four-start run where he allowed just 13 hits in 26 innings to go along with a 1.04 ERA. Pretty good, folks.
- Germán Márquez, 6/8 vs MIA (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR), 74 GSc
And make it six outings in the top 10 for Márquez. Germán had trouble in the second half, often looking gassed in the final two months in particular, but this was an escape from that, as he dominated the Fish in Denver. only being pulled from the game because the Rockies had an 11-0 lead after six innings.
You’re probably thinking “what about Gray and Freeland?” and well, Freeland maxed out at a nice 69 (24/6 @ LAD), and Gray at 67 (8/4 vs ARI). They did have eight and nine games respectively with Game Scores of 60+, but not as many gems as the others. And here’s my favorite thing about this whole piece: Chi Chi González had a better start by Game Score (70 GSc for seven shutout frames against CIN on 13/5) than Freeland OR Gray. Thanks for coming, and have a nice day.
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Did you know that the Atlanta Braves have three former Rockies? Can you name them? (Hint: two of them are former infielders turned coaches!)
Not related to the Rockies, but an interesting piece to read on how the deader baseball affected MLB’s run environment. Spoiler: those low launch angle home runs from 2019 were the most affected by the new ball. Does MLB keep going with this or do they put the brakes on and bring the 2019 ball back (please no).
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