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Colorado Rockies game no. 134 thread: Touki Toussaint vs. Chi Chi González

With just four innings in August and a soon-ending contract, Chi Chi González could be pitching for his career tonight.

The Rockies just capped off one of their most successful road trips of the year. 3-3 isn’t exceptional, but it’s a far different story when looking at the Rockies’ home/road split. They return home to play spoiler against the NL East-leading Braves, currently atop the Phillies by just 1.5 games.

Jon Gray was originally scheduled to start this evening but was placed on the injured list Wednesday (forearm). Chi Chi González will instead take the mound for his first start in 15 days.

González has appeared just twice on a big league mound since he was placed on the COVID IL in late July. Three of his four innings in August came against the Padres on August 18 where he threw just 42 pitches. After being DFA’d last winter, the right-hander is pitching for career longevity in the waning days of the 2021 season.

González may need to eat up a big chunk of innings after the Rockies bullpen threw eight innings on Wednesday, but the club also brought on three additional relievers with their September call-ups (Antonio Santos, Justin Lawrence, Julian Fernández).

Tonight could be a build-up outing for González either way, as the Rockies are currently without Gray and potentially Kyle Freeland with hip discomfort. Starting pitchers could come at a premium for the Rockies if both are sidelined for the final month of the year.

González holds a 6.08 ERA/5.30 FIP on the year and has posted a 6.15/5.46 as a starter. His cutter use spiked to a season-high 30.8% in his last appearance, a one-inning outing as a reliever, but he often throws a steady amount of four-seam fastballs as a starter.

Touki Toussaint will make his eighth start of the season tonight, equipped with a 3.60 ERA. The right-hander has been named a sixth starter in the Braves’ rotation at this point in the season and has thrown just one inning in the last 11 days.

Toussaint has posted a career-low walk percentage (9.0%) after being previously tabbed an “inefficient strike thrower” on his FanGraphs profile description. The right-hander has ditched his four-seamer in favor of a cutter this year and will show a three pitch mix with a splitter and curveball.

His curve is his most-used pitch while ahead in the count, but it is averaging its lowest spin in four years—which could play to the Rockies’ favor in Denver elevation.

Colorado reliever Julian Fernández is on MLB debut watch tonight; the Rockies tossed six different relievers on Wednesday so he could find himself near the top of the bullpen card.

First Pitch: 12:05 P.M. MDT

TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain;

Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM; KNRV 1150 (Spanish)