A short flight to Phoenix, Arizona has delivered the Rockies to an Arizona Diamondbacks squad that dropped two of three last weekend at Coors Field. The scoring margin in those three games was close — Colorado scored 21 runs to Arizona’s 20 — and the standings remain tight with these evenly-contested foes (albeit at the bottom of the NL West). Two games separate both teams, and the Rockies can climb out of the divisional cellar with a strong weekend.
Arizona bats are currently riding high at Chase Field, however. The Diamondbacks most recently outscored the Giants 21-10 over three games this week, going 2-1.
After a 5 2/3-inning, six-hit, 72-pitch start on July 2, Colorado’s Austin Gomber returns to the mound for a start against the same Arizona squad he saw five days ago. Two of his six hits allowed in that start were home runs, but Gomber allowed the pair of solo shots in timely fashion; damage could have been far worse. Despite allowing four runs, Gomber actually lowered his season ERA to a 6.53 and collected a win after a rough start from Arizona’s side of the pitching matchup.
Two of Gomber’s last three pitching appearances have been out of the bullpen. In lieu of a recent injury to starter Antonio Senzatela, the Rockies have been essentially forced to not only return Gomber to the rotation, but also clear room on the 40-man roster for starter José Ureña. Perhaps Gomber can breathe a little easier tonight, knowing his rotation spot is likely safe for as long as Senzatela remains on the injured list.
Dallas Keuchel started against Gomber last Saturday; the recent Arizona pickup allowed seven runs (six earned) over five innings. A season WHIP north of two has congested the base paths for Keuchel far more than his career figure of 1.304, which was a contributing factor to his Coors Field struggle last weekend. The Chase Field air this evening will play more favorably, but a season ERA of 8.27 suggests he’s far from the Cy Young winner he was back in 2015.
Tonight will be Keuchel’s third start in a Diamondbacks uniform after eight starts for the White Sox earlier this year.
Colorado enters the series with a relatively taxed bullpen; closer Daniel Bard took the Friday loss after throwing 14 pitches, while Jake Bird tossed 10 pitches in a blown save. Alex Colomé has thrown 43 pitches over the Rockies’ past two games, while Lucas Gilbreath tossed 24 pitches on Tuesday. The most rested short-relief options are Carlos Estévez (five pitches in the past five days) and Robert Stephenson (eight in the past five).
First Pitch: 7:40 p.m. MDT
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain (COL), Bally Sports Arizona (ARI), MLB.TV
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM; KNRV 1150 (Spanish)
Time to reset for the rest of the road trip!— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 8, 2022
Down in the desert for 4⃣: pic.twitter.com/P3Bc7WhaeD