Sun, 20 Sep 2020

Rockies, Blackmon set to welcome D-backs

Field Level Media
10 Aug 2020, 17:55 GMT+10

The Colorado Rockies are heading home after a loss, but hardly hanging their heads.

Despite Sunday's 5-3 loss at the Seattle Mariners, Colorado is 11-4 and off to its best 15-game start since 2013. The club has won all five series it has played this season.

The Rockies will try for a half-dozen series wins when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks, beginning Monday night in the first of a three-game set.

Jon Gray (0-1, 3.31) will make his fourth start for Colorado, facing Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray (1-2, 9.45).

Arizona is coming off a 9-5 loss at San Diego on Sunday and sits in last place in the NL West, 5 1/2 games back of the Rockies. Ray will make his 18th career start against Colorado and ninth at Coors Field.

Ray has fared better in Denver than at home against the Rockies. In those 17 starts he is 5-5 with a 5.20 ERA, but at Coors Field his ERA is just 4.23 to go along with a 2-2 record.

Ray has struggled this year as he gets used to a tweaked delivery that is designed to enable him to throw more strikes. He allowed six runs against Houston on Wednesday, but thanks to his offense, he earned his first win of the season.

Ray said he is still getting used to his delivery, which now includes a glove tap he added before the start against the Astros.

"I think my timing was way better, and I think the glove tap allowed me to get my timing down," Ray said after the win.

Gray hasn't struggled, but he has been victimized by lack of run support. In his three starts, the offense has scored just two runs while he has been in the game, while opposing hitters are batting .194 against him. He will try for his first win against a team that has given him some trouble. In 10 career starts, he is 3-4 with a 4.77 ERA against Arizona.

Colorado's offense may have been struggling with Gray on the mound, but overall it has been one of the best in the league. Before Sunday the Rockies had scored four or more runs in 12 straight games, led by the hot-hitting Charlie Blackmon.

Blackmon had two hits and scored a run in the loss on Sunday, extending his hitting streak to 13 games.

"I'm just trying to focus in the zone and not do too much; you don't have to take some incredible swing to hit a pitch if it's right down the middle," Blackmon, who is hitting .458, said recently.

After five straight seasons in which he struck out more than 100 times, Blackmon has fanned just eight times in 15 games, which projected over a full season would be his lowest strikeout rate.

"We've talked about our team goal of decreasing our chase rate. Charlie's done a really good job of that," Colorado manager Bud Black said. "He's one of the better players right now who is controlling the strike zone. And he combines it with power and average, which is a great advantage for us to have a player like that."

--Field Level Media

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