Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: Colorado Rockies (48-77) at Tampa Bay Rays (76-51)

COLORADO ROCKIES NOTES:

GO EAST

  • The Colorado Rockies continue their six-game road trip to Tampa Bay and Baltimore tonight with the second game of a three-game series vs. the Rays.
  • The Rockies are coming off of a 3-3 homestand, dropping two of three to Arizona before taking two of three against the Chicago White Sox.
  • Each of the Rockies’ next seven opponents, and nine of their 10 opponents remaining on the schedule, are above .500.

CRAZY EIGHTS

  • The Rockies dropped last night’s series opener 12-4, allowing nine runs in the bottom of the eighth inning after entering the frame with a 4-3 lead … it was the club’s second-straight game blowing a lead in the eighth inning or later after allowing seven runs in the eighth inning to the White Sox on Sunday after entering The inning with a 5-3 lead.
  • Per Elias Sports Bureau, only one other team in MLB history has lost two consecutive games in which they led in the eighth inning or later and allowed seven-plus runs in the eighth inning or later: the Boston Beaneaters (current Braves franchise), July 6-7, 1893 against the Cleveland Spiders.

STEP RIGHT UP

  • The Rockies have used a franchise record 32 total pitchers this season, one more than the 2019 club’s 31 hurlers … the Rockies have also tied the franchise record by using 15 different starting pitchers this season, tied with the 1993 and 2014 clubs for the most starters used in franchise history.
  • The Rockies have used 53 total players, tied for the ninth-most in the Majors and the most players used for the club since setting a franchise record with 55 players in 2011.

GET THE DEVIL OUT

  • The Rockies face the Rays for the first time since 2019 when they dropped two of three at Tropicana April 1-3 … this is just the third series all-time between the two teams in Saint Petersburg, with the Rockies losing three games here in 2004 … Colorado is 10-12 all-time against Tampa Bay, having gone 9-6 against the Rays at Coors Field.
  • The Rockies are in a stretch of three straight and four of five series against American League ballclubs, having gone 15-20 in Interleague play this season … 12 of the Rockies’ 34 games so far after the All-Star Break have come against AL clubs, with the Rockies going 6-6.

GOLDEN

  • Ryan McMahon’s 17 defensive runs saved are tied for the third-most in the Majors and tied with the Pirates’ Ke’Bryan Hayes for the most among all third basemen.
  • Rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar’s eight DRS are tied for fifth among all shortstops, tied for third in the NL … his .986 fielding percentage currently stands as the second-best fielding percentage by a rookie shortstop in Major League history (min. 100 games) trailing Troy Tulowitzki (.987, 2007) (via. STATS PERFORM).
  • Rookie center fielder Brenton Doyle’s 11 defensive runs saved on the season lead all National League center fielders … his 95.5 MPH average arm strength ranks seventh among all outfielders … Doyle’s active 86-game errorless streak is the second-longest by a rookie in Rockies history behind Matt Reynold’s 94 games from 2010-11, and is the second-longest active streak in the NL.
  • Rookie outfielder Nolan Jones has totaled five DRS in the outfield while starting 31 games in right field and 22 in left … his average arm strength of 98.9 MPH is the best among all position players.
  • Jones’ 10 outfield assists are the sixth-most in baseball and the most among all rookies … tied for the most by a Rockies rookie outfielder in franchise history with Brad Hawpe (2005) and tied for the 12th most in a season by any Rockies outfielder.

FEEL THE FLOW

  • Charlie Blackmon has hit safely in each of his first seven games since being reinstated from the injured list on Aug. 14, going 10-for-24 (.417) with one double, two triples, two home runs, five RBI, five walks and two strikeouts.
  • Blackmon is five RBI shy of tying Vinny Castilla (745 RBI) for the sixth-most in franchise history, and nine shy of tying Carlos González for fifth.

NEW BLOOD

  • 22-year-old Ezequiel Tovar ranks in the top 10 among all rookies in franchise history in home runs (14, T-5th), doubles (27, 8th), RBI (57, T-6th) and hits (114, 9th).
  • Nolan Jones is tied for 10th among rookies in franchise history with 12 home runs … his 19.42 at-bats per home run rate ranks fifth among rookies in franchise history (min. 175 PA), trailing Trevor Story (13.78, 2016), Pat Valaika (14.00), Wilin Rosario (14.14, 2012) and Jose Ortiz (15.69, 2001).
  • Tovar and Jones are the third pair of rookies in franchise history to each hit at least 10 home runs in a season, joining Luis Gonzalez/Matt Holliday (2004) and Garrett Atkins/Clint Barmes (2005).

KEEP AN EYE

  • The Rockies placed five Minor League players in the recently updated MLB Pipeline Top 100 prospects: SS Adael Amador (#21), OF Yanquiel Fernandez (#53), RHP Chase Dollander (#63), OF Jordan Beck (#88) and OF Zac Veen (#99).

ROCKIES STARTING PITCHER – #26 AUSTIN GOMBER LHP
GO, GO GOMBER

  • Winter Garden, Fla., native is in his 10th professional season, his fifth in the Majors and his third with the Rockies.
  • Acquired by Colorado, along with four other players including INF Elehuris Montero, in exchange for 3B Nolan Arenado on Feb. 1, 2021.
  • Originally selected by St. Louis in the fourth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Atlantic University.

A FEW CAREER THINGS

  • Has set a career high in starts this season, making his 25th tonight (previous: 23 starts in 2021) … marks his 66th start overall as a Rockie, passing Danny Neagle (65 starts) for the sixth-most starts by a southpaw in franchise history … his 370.1 innings are tied with Neagle for the eighth-most for a lefty.
  • Picked up his ninth win of the season on Aug. 6 in St. Louis, tying his careerhigh set in 2021 during his inaugural Rockies season.
  • Tossed five innings with eight hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
  • Pitched at least six innings in a career-best seven consecutive starts from June 30 to Aug. 6, going 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA (43.0 IP, 12 ER), six walks and 26 strikeouts … since June 30, holds a 3.38 ERA (53.1 IP, 20 ER).

WALK THIS WAY

  • In his outing on July 31 vs. San Diego, had his franchise-record walk-less streak snapped at 29.2 innings after walking Ha-Seong Kim with two outs in the third inning, his first walk since June 30 vs.Detroit … has nine walks over four starts since snapping the streak. • Dating back to June 14, Gomber has walked 12 batters through 12 starts (69.2 IP), a 1.55 BB/9 that is the sixth-lowest in the Majors across that span.
  • His two walks in July were tied for the second-fewest in baseball in the month of July behind Ross Stripling’s one walk (min. five games started).
  • Since May 6, his 2.18 BB/9 is the eighth-best in the National League.

HOARDER

  • Was the only Rockies starting pitcher to earn a win from May 23-July 21 … his win on June 25 at Washington snapped a 30-game stretch without a starting pitcher earning a win, the longest streak in franchise history and the seventh-longest in Major League history.

FLORIDA MAN

  • Making his first career appearance vs.Tampa Bay, one of five Major League teams he has yet to face (also: Baltimore, Toronto, Oakland, Chicago-AL).
  • Born in Winter Garden, Fla., a suburb of Orlando approximately 100 miles from Tropicana Field.

ON YOUR LEFT

  • Left-handed hitters are batting .371 (39-for-105) with seven home runs off Gomber this season after holding opposing lefties to a .221 average in 2022 (30-for-136), the ninth-lowest in a single season in franchise history (min. 140 batters faced.).
  • Opponent’s .371 average, .417 OBP, .657 slugging and 1.075 OPS are all the highest marks in the Majors for left-handed batters against a left-handed pitcher.

STREAKS

  • Began his season with four straight losses through April 19, the eighth time a Rockies starter has started 0-4 through their first four starts of a season … first since Roy Oswalt (five straight, June 20-Sept. 14) and Jeff Manship (four straight, Aug. 8-24) in 2013.
  • Went 4-0 across his next six starts, April 24-May 23, posting a 3.74 ERA (33.2 IP, 14 ER) with three quality starts … Rockies went 7-1 over an eight-start Gomber stretch from April 24-June 3 (4-0, 4.91 ERA).
  • Lost three of his next five starts, May 28-June 19, with a 9.00 ERA in 22 innings with 23 runs (22 earned) … opponents hit .364 off of him over this stretch.
  • Won his next four starts from June 25 to July 14 … three quality starts and a 0.75 BB/9 … the only Rockies starter with two streaks of four winning decisions this season.
  • Put together an 11-start streak of at least five innings pitched and four or fewer earned runs allowed from June 14-Aug. 11, tied for the ninth-longest streak in the NL this season … longest such streak for a Rockie since Kyle Freeland’s 12-game span in 2021.

TAMPA BAY RAYS NOTES:

RAY REPORT — Tampa Bay opened its six-day, six-game homestand last night with a 12-4 victory over Colorado…the Rays are 14-8 in their last 22 games, including 7-3 In their last 10, following an MLB-worst 5-15 (.250) stretch from 7/1-26…they currently occupy the first Wild Card spot, leading Houston by 4.0 games and Seattle by 4.5 games…Tampa Bay sits 2.0 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East after spending 111 consecutive days atop the division from 3/30-7/19…the Rays are 6-1-1 in their last eight series on the heels of a 2-7-1 performance in series play from 6/12-7/23.

SS Osleivis Basabe (2-for-5, HR, 4RBI, 2R) became the third player in club history to hit a grand slam for his first career home run, joining Wil Myers (6/22/13 at NYY) and Jorge Velandia (9/25/07 vs. NYY)…Basabe became the third major leaguer to turn the trick this season, joining MIL Blake Perkins (6/3 at CIN) and MIL Brice Turang (4/3 vs. NYM).

The Rays recorded nine runs in the eighth inning, their most in any frame since a 10-run seventh inning on 4/29 at Chicago-AL…it marks the 12th time in club history the Rays have scored 9+ runs in an inning.

Tampa Bay improved to an MLB-best 16-5 (.762) in home series openers, including four straight victories, while moving to an MLB-leading 29-12 (.707) in series openers overall.

Tampa Bay became the second team in the majors this season to score 30+ runs in a two-game period, joining Chicago-NL (36R on 8/1-2)…the Rays are one of five teams (6 instances) to record 36+ hits in a two-game span, joining the Angels (2x, 39 and 36), Blue Jays (38), Cubs (37) and Phillies (37).

THE YANDY MAN CAN — Yandy Díaz has reached base safely in 19 of his last 20 games since 7/30, producing a .386/.438/.534 (34-for-88) line with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBI…this includes a .422 (27-for-64) mark over his last 14 games.

He has recorded multiple hits in a career-high five straight games, surpassing a previous streak of four such games from 4/18-22, 2023…it is tied with Harold Ramírez (4/16-22) for the longest such streak by a Ray this season…the last Ray to have a streak of six such games was Asdrúbal Cabrera from 8/2-8, 2015.

His 43 multi-hit games this season are tied for second in the AL with TOR Bo Bichette, TEX Marcus Semien and BOS Masataka Yoshida…this includes an AL-best 16 games with 3+ hits, ahead of Bichette (14G).

NO JOSHING AROUND — Josh Lowe has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games dating back to 7/30, batting .333 (20-for-60) with four doubles, one triple, 3 HR and 14 RBI…he recorded 3 RBI in consecutive games from 8/18-19 (G1), becoming the only Ray to have multiple streaks of 3+ RBI (also 5/11-12)…Brandon Lowe (4/8-9) and Isaac Paredes (4/7-8) are the only other Rays to record 3+ RBI in two straight games this year.

Lowe is batting .465 (20-for-43) with runners in scoring position and two outs, the second-best mark in the majors (min. 40AB) behind only TEX Jonah Heim (.475).

HAROLD HEATING UP — Harold Ramírez has recorded a hit in 15 of his last 19 games since 7/26, batting an MLB-leading .419 (26-for-62) in that span (min. 50AB), outpacing LAD Mookie Betts (.419) and SEA Julio Rodríguez (.398).

He has hit safely in each of his last six starts since 8/13, going 14-for-28 (.500) with two doubles, one triple, 8 RBI and six runs during that stretch.

RED HOT RANDY — Randy Arozarena has a hit in 12 of his last 14 games, batting .321 (18-for-56)… he has recorded multiple RBI in consecutive games for the second time this year (also 6/21-22)…he is batting .286 (20-for-70) with 10 RBI in 18 games this month after concluding July going 2-for-35 (.057) in 10 games from 7/19-31.

He has scored a run in five straight games, tied with BAL Adley Rutschman for the longest active run in the AL…it is tied for his longest streak of the season (3x, last: 6/6-10).

ON THE OFFENSIVE — The Rays have pushed across 6+ runs in eight of their last 10 games, averaging 7.80 runs per game in those contests despite being shut out on 8/15 at San Francisco.

Tampa Bay has plated 30 runs over its last two games, its most over any two-game span in club history (prev. 27R, 3x, last: 7/13-14, 2018).

They have totaled 36 hits in their last two contests, tying their most in a two-game span in franchise history (also 5/30-31, 2002).

Collectively, Tampa Bay is batting .424 (36-for-85) with seven doubles, 4 HR and 30 RBI over the last two contests.

In 18 games this month, the Rays are batting .354 with runners in scoring position, the best mark in the majors, ahead of the Brewers (.326) and Dodgers (.324)…this
comes after hitting .197 with RISP in 24 games in July, the second-lowest mark in the AL behind New York-AL (.193).

LEFT SIDE, STRONG SIDE — Tampa Bay is an MLB-best 17-7 (.708) against left-handed starting pitchers this season.

Harold Ramírez is batting .379 (33-for-87) against southpaws, the second-best mark in the majors (min. 75AB) behind ATL Ozzie Albies (.389)…this includes a .435 (10-for-23) clip against lefties in August.

MILE HIGH MATCHUP — The Rays and Rockies continue a three-game set tonight at Tropicana Field…the clubs last met in 2019, with the Rays taking two of three from the Rockies at Tropicana Field from 4/1-3.

It marks the third time the Rays have hosted the Rockies…Colorado swept a three-game set in its first trip to Tampa Bay from 6/11-13, 2004…nearly 15 years passed before Colorado’s second trip to Tampa Bay, as the next 12 matchups between the clubs were at Coors Field from 6/15/07-7/20/16.

After spending the 2022 season in Cleveland’s farm system, RHP Kevin Kelly was selected by the Rockies with the No. 8 pick in the major league phase of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft and traded to Tampa Bay for cash considerations on 12/7/22.

Rockies RHP Germán Márquez, who is currently on the 60-day injured list, signed with the Rays in 2011 and was traded to Colorado, along with Jake McGee, on 1/28/16 in exchange for OF Corey Dickerson and INF Kevin Padlo.

Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder was named to the 2007 Red Sox World Series roster, but did not pitch in Boston’s four-game sweep of Colorado in the Fall Classic.

Triple-A Durham manager Michael Johns, a former infielder, was selected by the Rockies in the 19th round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft and played two years for their Class-A Affiliates, the Portland Rockies and Asheville Tourists.

Colorado’s Director of Pitching Operations, Steve Foster, was a scout for Tampa Bay (1999-2000)…Rockies advanced scout, Joe Little, was drafted by the Rays in the 26th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft and spent parts of three years in the organization.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: RHP AARON CIVALE (6-3, 2.44)
Rays after being acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline on 7/31… marks his 17th start of the season, including his eighth at home and second at Tropicana Field…has posted a 2.93 ERA (15.1IP, 5ER) in his first three starts with Tampa Bay…leads the majors with a 1.88 ERA (52.2IP, 11ER) since the beginning of July…has allowed just one home run in his last 58.2 innings, including 35.2 straight homerless frames…tonight marks his first career appearance opposite Colorado.

LAST TIME OUT — Earned his first victory as a Ray after authoring 6.0 shutout innings on just 89 pitches in Tampa Bay’s 6-1 victory at San Francisco’s Oracle Park on 8/16 (W, 6.0IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 5SO)…permitted at least one baserunner in five of the six frames, but held the Giants hitless with runners in scoring position (0-for-3) and induced double plays in the fourth and sixth innings…Civale registered a 30.0 pct. whiff rate on his curveball in the win after failing to record a swing-and-miss on the pitch in his previous outing on 8/11 vs. Cleveland.

ROX RUNDOWN — Civale will be making his first career appearance against Colorado…has gone 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA (27.0IP, 9ER) in five Interleague starts this season, holding opponents to a .238 (24-for-101) average…this includes a 1.56 ERA (17.1IP, 3ER) and 0.92 WHIP over his last three such outings, all of which came on the road (7/2 at CHC, 7/19 at PIT, 8/16 at SF).

The right-hander is 3-6 with a 4.03 ERA (87.0IP, 39ER) over 16 career starts against NL opponents…he has turned in a 2.95 ERA (18.1IP, 6ER) in four career starts against NL West clubs, holding opponents to a .154 (2-for-13) clip with runners in scoring position.

READY TO RUMBLE — Civale’s 0.56 ERA (32.0IP, 2ER) in the first two innings is the lowest mark in the majors (min. 15GS), outpacing SEA Bryce Miller (1.50)…opponents are slashing .161/.253/.223 (18-for-112) against him in innings 1-2 compared to .262/.297/.382 (61-for-233) from the third inning on.

Nineteen of the 25 runs he’s allowed have come in innings 3-5…he has posted a 3.72 ERA (46.0IP, 19ER) and .288 (53-for-184) opponent average in those frames compared to a 1.17 ERA (46.1IP, 5ER) and .161 average (26-for-161) in all other innings.

Opposing hitters are slashing .172/.259/.223 (22-for-128) against Civale the first time through the lineup vs. .301/.333/.404 (41-for136) the second time through.

BIT BY BAD LUCK — Civale has limited opponents to an average exit velocity of 84.9 mph in his last two starts since 8/11, the fifth-lowest mark in the AL over that span (min. 25 batted balls)…however, opponents are batting .279 (12-for-43) against him in those games, well above his expected opponent batting average of .233, per Baseball Savant…Civale has been tagged for six hits with an exit velocity below 80 mph over his last two starts, tied with MIL Wade Miley for the most in the majors during that timeframe… he has held opponents to a 10.8 pct. hard hit rate in those outings.

3 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER — For his career, Civale is 28-1 with a 2.95 ERA (271.1IP, 87ER) in games when he receives three or more runs of support… he has a 2-23 record with a 4.97 ERA (174.0IP, 96ER) in games receiving two or fewer runs of support…Civale has received 5.87 runs of support per 9.0 IP in his first three starts with the Rays compared to 4.56 over 13 starts with Cleveland to begin the season.

THIS AND THAT — Civale owns a 1.35 ERA (20.0IP, 3ER) over his last three home starts…he has held the 1-7 spots in the opposing order to a .207 (58- for-280) average, but 8-9 hitters are batting .323 (21-for-65) against him…he ranks in the 96th percentile in the majors in curveball spin rate, registering an average of 2,967 rpm on the pitch…among AL pitchers, only HOU Ryan Pressly (3,213), TEX Chris Stratton (3,189) and HOU Phil Maton (3,151) have produced higher marks on their curveballs (min. 100 curveballs thrown).

SUMMER HEAT WAVE — Civale was one of the AL’s top pitchers in July, going 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA (27.IP, 6ER) in six starts…he ranked among MLB leaders during the month (min. 30.0IP) in ERA (2nd), opp. OPS (2nd, .458), opp. batting average (3rd, .176) and WHIP (3rd, 0.80)…it marked his lowest ERA in any month of his career (min. 2GS), ahead of August 2019 (2.35)… allowed two or fewer runs in each start and yielded only one home run.

SEASON RECAP — Civale went 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA (12.2IP, 4ER) over his first two starts with Cleveland from 4/1-7, but suffered a left oblique injury on 4/7 at Seattle that landed him on the 15-day injured list from 4/10-6/2… made three rehab appearances with Triple-A Columbus from 5/18-28…was activated from the injured list on 6/2 and tossed 5.0 scoreless innings at Minnesota the same day…went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA (22.0IP, 10ER) over his next four starts from 6/8-25, but has since recorded an MLB-leading 1.88 ERA (52.2IP, 11ER) across his last eight starts since 7/2.

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