Behind Germán Márquez’s solid start and some timely hitting, the Rockies cruised to one of their most complete victories away from Coors this season, besting the Philadelphia Phillies 11-2 on Friday.
Márquez turns a corner
Germán Márquez has struggled in his last few starts and has not been his front-of-the-rotation self in the last few weeks. You’d never know that after watching this start, though, as the Venezuelan righty kept the Phillies in check from the off. While still not quite as sharp with his fastball as he’d like, Márquez utilized his off-speed pitches to perfection, in particular his slider and curveball. All six of his strikeouts came on one of these pitches, and they were integral in shutting out the Phillies offense in his six innings of work. The only moment of potential stress was the fifth inning, which could have swung momentum back in the home team’s favor.
After recording outs of Freddy Galvis and pinch-hitter Ronald Torreyes, Márquez allowed back-to-back singles to Odubel Herrera and Jean Segura. Up stepped the hot bat of Bryce Harper, and with the Rockies up 4-0 he had a solid chance to get the Phillies back in the game. Márquez buckled down, however, and used a combination of fastballs and curveballs to get Harper swinging and end the only real threat to his outing.
Germán Márquez strikes out Bryce Harper to end the 5th inning pic.twitter.com/XY96eERCIM— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) September 11, 2021
Bottom of the order, top of our hearts
The offensive blows came early when the Rockies scored three runs in the top of the second inning, and they were supplied from some potentially surprising spots. It was the likes of Sam Hilliard, Yonathan Daza, and Márquez - the 7, 8, and 9 hitters in the order - who knocked in all three runs in that frame. Colorado’s offense wasn’t exactly explosive, but they chained together hits nicely and did plenty to get the win over the opposing bats. It’s not always grand slams that win games, but next-man-up singles. Though speaking of long balls...
With that said, the back-to-back home runs by Trevor Story and C.J. Cron didn’t hurt.
Back 2️⃣ Back Homers— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) September 11, 2021
Back 2️⃣ Back Nights
As if the two home runs weren’t enough, Elías Díaz decided to really put the game away late, hammering JD Hammer’s 2-0 fastball into the left field seats for a grand slam, his 17th home run of the season, putting the good guys up 11-0 and end all hopes of a comeback.
Grand slam number ✌️ this season for @EliasDiaz32! pic.twitter.com/NDXtNnqmsq— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) September 11, 2021
In all, every Rockies starter reached base at least once, and all either scored a run or knocked one in.
You love web gems, and so do I. In the fourth inning, the Phillies had a man on for the veteran McCutchen, who looped a curveball into center for what would have been a single. Yonathan Daza had other ideas, though, and deftly slid on a knee to rob Cutch of his hit. Daza, recently returned from the IL, has looked great back on the field as he continues to make a strong case for his future with the Rockies as they try to figure out their core for years to come.
Bullpen solid... mostly
It’s not a hot take to say that the Rockies bullpen has struggled mightily at times this season. The last three innings were handled well - only two runs allowed - and went from good, to okay, to well-at-least-they-won.
Jordan Sheffield pitched a clean seventh, allowing a one-out walk to pinch-hitter Matt Vierling but erasing him with a double play by Herrera. Daniel Bard, still trying to find his groove in the second half, allowed back-to-back walks to Harper and J.T. Realmuto with one out, but came back and got a strikeout looking of Brad Miller and a swinging K of Andrew McCutchen to avoid any issues.
The only Philadelphia run came in the ninth by way of a Didi Gregorius leadoff home run off of Ben Bowden, who didn’t have his best outing. He retired the following two batters, but rushed an easy groundout back to him, firing what would have been the final out of the game down the right field line past C.J. Cron, and allowing the hitter Odubel Herrera to reach second on the error. He then walked Jean Segura before allowing a base hit to Bryce Harper, which scored the second run of the game for the Phils. He then walked J.T. Realmuto to load the bases before finally coaxing a flyout of Brad Miller and securing the victory for the Rockies.
Kyle Freeland (5-7, 4.69 ERA) toes the rubber opposite Zack Wheeler (12-9, 2.91 ERA). Wheeler, a potential Cy Young candidate in the National League, will try to eat some innings and rest his bullpen associates, seven of which were used in Friday’s game.
First pitch is at 4:05pm MST.
See you then!