On June 10, 1991, Major League Baseball announced that Denver and Miami would be awarded expansion franchises.
On Thursday, exactly 30 years later, the Colorado Rockies and the Miami Marlins will play the finale of their three-game series. The Marlins posted a 6-2 win in the opener on Tuesday, while the Rockies recorded a 4-3 victory the following night.
That win was a rare one for the Rockies away from Coors Field. They are 5-23 away from home — by far the worst road record in the major leagues.
Thursday’s pitching matchup will feature Colorado right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-3, 4.84 ERA) and Miami left-hander Trevor Rogers (6-3, 1.97 ERA).
Gonzalez is from South Florida — Boca Raton Community High to be precise — and this will be his first time facing his hometown team, the Marlins.
Gonzalez, 29, was the Texas Rangers’ first-round pick in 2013 out of Oral Roberts. He traditionally has struggled as a starter in his career, going 5-16 with a 5.18 ERA. As a reliever, he is 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA.
This year, though, Gonzalez has a 6.17 ERA in four relief appearances and a 4.42 ERA in seven starts.
On Thursday, Gonzalez will be making a spot start in place of Jon Gray, who has an injured right elbow.
Rogers, who was named the National League’s Rookie of the Month in April and again in May, will be making his first career appearance against Colorado.
So far, Rogers has a 3.00 ERA in one June start. Prior to that, he had a 1.29 ERA in five April outings and a 2.34 ERA in six May starts.
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story could make his return to the lineup from an elbow injury on Thursday.
“He’s really close. He’s closer than you think,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Story, who was thought to be ready to play on Wednesday but was pushed back at least one more day.
Miami has its own shortstop issue as Miguel Rojas has been out due to a finger injury.
However, Rojas said Wednesday that his return is approaching.
“My finger is feeling so much better,” Rojas said. “Hopefully I can go back and play as soon as early next week.”
In other news, Miami put first baseman Garrett Cooper on the injury list on Wednesday due to a strained back. Rookie first baseman Lewin Diaz, who was recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville, could get a shot in Thursday’s lineup.
Miami will look avenge a tough game on the base paths and in the field. The Marlins had one runner picked off at first and another caught trying to steal second on Wednesday.
Also in Miami’s loss on Wednesday, the Marlins gave up a run on a passed ball and allowed two infield singles in innings that led to runs.
In addition, while the Marlins were playing the infield in to try to cut down a runner at the plate, Miami shortstop Jazz Chisholm Jr. backed up on a ground ball, leading to a run.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly, though, remained positive in his postgame comments.
“I liked our energy,” Mattingly said. “We’re still making mistakes that our hurting us, but I thought our at-bats were good.”
–Field Level Media