The Colorado Rockies are getting used to a sudden shift in their schedule — especially on Friday nights.
Last week Colorado had a game postponed against the New York Mets because of snow in Denver. On Friday, the Rockies’ scheduled road game against the Washington Nationals was rained out. And, like last week, the Rockies will play a split doubleheader on a Saturday.
Colorado will send Friday’s scheduled starter, Austin Gomber (2-4, 4.11 ERA), to the mound for the first game, and the nightcap will feature Chad Kuhl (3-2, 3.67). The Nationals will have Aaron Sanchez (3-3, 7.16) start the first game, keeping Friday’s matchup in place, and Joan Adon (1-8, 6.97) will start the second game.
Sanchez is slated to make his sixth career start against the Rockies. In the previous five, he went 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA. Gomber is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two career starts against Washington.
Adon has never faced Colorado. Kuhl has made four career appearances, three of them starts, against the Nationals, going 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA.
The Rockies are trying to turn around their fortunes at the end of what has been a tough road trip. They have lost three of the first four games, including a 7-3 defeat in the series opener at Washington, and they have dropped 13 of 19 road games.
The bullpen has been an issue, but the relief corps took a step forward Friday with the return of Robert Stephenson, who was on the COVID-19 list. In seven of his nine appearances in May, Stephenson has not allowed a run.
“It’s a boost,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “I sense he’s on his way to becoming a consistent performer. It’s been interrupted a couple of times … it’s been a little bumpy. But the way he threw the ball last season, and when he’s been out there the last couple times, it’s been indicative of what we saw last year. I think he can continue that and help us.”
To make room for Stephenson on the roster, the Rockies optioned reliever Justin Lawrence to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Washington has won two straight for just the second time in a month, but it is a long way from the team that won the 2019 World Series.
The Nationals, and the rest of the major leagues, got a boost when the league announced Thursday that teams can carry 14 pitchers until June 19, extended from the deadline that was to end Monday. It helps manager Dave Martinez, who was in the process of planning for having just 13 pitchers to work with.
“I think it was a good decision,” he said. “I think they actually took (a look at) what was going on throughout the league and decided some more time definitely will help. So, for us, I thought it was a really good thing.”
The Nationals are awaiting the results of the second MRI on pitcher Joe Ross, who sprained a ligament in his pitching elbow during a rehab start. Ross underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017.
–Field Level Media