Peter Lambert’s path through professional baseball has not been a straight one.
He began as the Colorado Rockies’ second-round draft pick in 2015 and debuted on June 6, 2019, by striking out nine Chicago Cubs in seven innings. That was a good day. Actually, here he is striking out Willson Contreras.
Now fast forward to the “Before Times,” March 2020, when Spring Training was balanced on the cusp of a pandemic that would disrupt baseball and most everything else.
In a strange twist, Lambert pitched the Rockies’ last Spring Training game on March 10, 2020. After that, MLB would suspend its season. Lambert would undergo Tommy John surgery in late July.
Since then, he has been trying to find his way back to the Rockies rotation while working his way through a series of setbacks and minor-league stints.
Now fast forward to 2023. Lambert started the season by making five starts for the Isotopes. When the Rockies called him up in early May, they lacked a spot in the rotation and needed a long reliever.
Lamber was the logical fit — and for him, that’s okay.
“I’ve enjoyed it, to be honest,” he said of the move.
For him, the biggest change was the uncertainty.
“Starting, you’re just on a set schedule,” he said. “So you go about the week, planning and preparing for that day.”
Clearly, being a reliever is much less predictable.
“Working out of the bullpen and in long relief, you don’t really have as much of a feel for when you’re going to pitch,” he said. “You’re just going to come to the park ready to pitch every day. You’ve got to come prepared.”
He did not find the change difficult, however.
“Honestly, the transition period didn’t take long,” he said. “I was I was able to get a feel for it quickly, and I’ve kind of enjoyed it. It’s a little different.”
Lambert also found that being in the bullpen agrees with him.
“It’s a blast,” he said. “I mean, the group of guys we have done there — it’s a lot of fun. And obviously every game is different. Some games, we have to get ready earlier, which changes some things, but usually we try to keep it light down there.”
Lambert explained how relievers must balance the stress of staying ready to enter a game in any situation.
“We’re always joking around and messing around with each other,” he said, “but at the same time, we’re preparing ourselves for what we might have to do for the rest that game.”
Although Lambert may enjoy the change, his numbers suggest the transition remains ongoing.
He has pitched 34.1 innings, earning an ERA of 6.29 with a 23.5 K%, a 9.8% BB%, and a 43.6% GB%. His FIP is 9.55, and he has an ERA- of 126 (100 is average).
That said, his start in a Saturday bullpen game against the Tigers was solid. In three innings, he gave up two hits, walked one, and struck out two. He did this on 45 pitches with 27 Ks.
As it turns out, Lambert’s opener role was a sign of things to come.
On Sunday, the Rockies announced that he would be sent to Triple-A Albuquerque, ostensibly to return to the starting rotation with hopes of finishing the season at Coors Field.
A now-healthy Peter Lambert said his arm is ready after his time spent rehabbing.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’m in a good spot, my mechanics feel good. and my arm feels good. Everything feels perfect.”
For the first time, a catcher will represent the Rockies at the All-Star Game.
All-Star catcher Elias Díaz has a nice ring to it pic.twitter.com/B1BUcta92f— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 2, 2023
This is a well deserved honor for Díaz.
Coors Field Attendance
According to ESPN, 1,358,821 have attended games at Coors Field in 2023 (the end of the Tigers’ series and the Rockies’ 44th home game). That number ranks 13th in baseball. (Last week, the average Coors Field game attendance was 30,882.)
As a benchmark, in 2022, the average game attendance at Coors Field was 32,467.
In his weekly newsletter, Thomas Harding provided an update on Ryan Feltner, who continues to recover from a skull fracture. Feltner’s prognosis is positive, and he is now playing catch and doing some light training. He will continue working with specialists to chart the best path back to the Rockies. Harding also checked in with Lucas Gilbreath.
Bill Felber worked with a formula to evaluate Schmidt’s performance thus far, relying heavily on WAA (“Wins Above Average”). He considered players traded for and away, free agency signings and extensions, free agency losses, and farm system promotions. Ultimately, Felber gave Schmidt an “F.”
★ ★ ★
On the Farm
- Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 20, El Paso Chihuahuas 2
- Double-A: Binghamton Rumble Ponies 4, Hartford Yard Goats 1
- High-A: Spokane Indians 8, Vancouver Canadians 6
- Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 10, Stockton Ports 2
Look for Kenneth Weber to be back tomorrow with this week’s Pebble Report.
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