The Colorado Rockies have outscored the St. Louis Cardinals 20-14 in the first two games of a current three-game set. A win this afternoon can secure the Rockies’ first series victory since the All-Star Break, but it will have to come against a Cardinals squad that has won eight of their last nine games.
It will also have to come against an opposing Nolan Arenado, fresh off a 3-for-5 showing on Wednesday night with a double and home run. The Cardinals’ third baseman has posted a .932 OPS this month, and with a series on the line, today could be a statement game for the former Colorado infielder.
St. Louis will send Dakota Hudson to the mound for his 21st start of the season. The right-hander made just nine starts (10 appearances) over the past two seasons; he underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2020 but was able to return in under one year, making two appearances (8 2⁄3 IP) with the Cardinals in 2021. Hudson eclipsed the 100-inning mark this season in late July, suggesting he truly was recovered enough for an early return.
His last start came on Friday against the tough-hitting Yankees, a four-inning start where he allowed seven hits and three earned runs. Hudson’s month-by-month performance has featured a gradually-worsening ERA since his 2.75 ERA in August, and his current 4.20 season figure is the highest of his five-year career.
Hudson does feature the 16th-highest ground-ball percentage in baseball (among qualified pitchers), likely from an often-used sinker with a good amount of horizontal break. This could play a strong role at Denver elevation, perhaps combatting his swinging strike percentage (7.4%) that is well beneath league average.
Germán Márquez will first take the ball in the top half of the first, looking to ride some momentum from a six-inning, two-run performance last Friday in Phoenix. Like Hudson, Márquez also featured a ground-ball percentage in the low 50’s, but with an average fastball velocity of 95.4, Márquez has garnered more swinging strikes. Colorado’s right-hander has also worked slightly deeper in games this year on average, but a 5.18 ERA is a stark contrast from his All-Star selection a year ago.
Márquez will take on a Cardinals lineup that has posted 26 runs over their last three games, so it will be interesting to monitor 1. the swings on his often-used heaters and sinkers, and 2. how well he can get ahead in counts with those pitches.
Colorado has retained an extremely rested bullpen today, thanks to some extended work by Jake Bird, Dinelson Lamet and Austin Gomber in the series thus far. Daniel Bard, Alex Colomé, Lucas Gilbreath and Carlos Estévez have not yet pitched in this series with St. Louis.
First Pitch: 1:10 p.m. MDT
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain (COL), Bally Sports Midwest (STL), MLB.TV
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM; KNRV 1150 (Spanish)
An afternoon rubber match! pic.twitter.com/J0gBaanZzv— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 11, 2022