The first inning continues to be German Marquez’s kryptonite.
In Tuesday’s 4-0 loss in San Diego, he gave up a two-run homer in the opening frame to Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer. Then the Rockies right-hander settled in after that, allowing just four more hits and no runs before being pinch-hit for in the fifth.
The trend of rocky starts to outings is seen most clearly in Marquez’s inning splits. In his nine first innings this season, he has a 13.00 ERA while allowing four homers, issuing eight walks and being hit at a .380 clip.
But in Marquez’s 34 ⅔ innings pitched after the first, he boasts a 3.12 ERA, has walked 12 and only given up one long ball.
So what to do about Marquez’s shakiness to open ballgames? Even manager Bud Black isn’t sure.
“It’s been one of those questions that I don’t know whether you can ever answer,” Black said. “It’s been that way for hundreds of years about first-inning struggles for some pitchers.
“When you’re warming up, you make your 35 warm-up throws in the bullpen, you come in — and a lot of guys really mentally change. They try to throw harder, what’s inside their body changes. That might be happening with him.”
Whatever the case may be, the sooner Marquez figures out how to harness his feel on the mound from the first pitch, the better for a Colorado team that — with mounting strikeouts and low run production — is putting increased pressure on its starting staff so far in 2018.
Five takeaways from the Rockies’ loss on Tuesday:
No. 1 — Thanks to Trevor Story’s eighth-inning single, the Padres remain the lone MLB team to have never thrown a no-hitter. San Diego has had 30 one-hitters, including Tuesday’s combined effort from Jordan Lyles (7 ⅓ innings), Kirby Yates (⅓) and closer Brad Hand (1⅓).
No. 2 — By maintaining a perfect game until Story’s single, Lyles tossed the second-longest perfect game in Padres history behind righty Chris Young (7 ⅔ perfect innings on Sept. 7, 2008 against the Brewers).
No. 3 — Franmil Reyes, called up on Sunday from Triple-A El Paso, recorded his first major league hit with a single to center off Chris Rusin in the sixth. Don’t look now, but the ginormous outfielder (6-foot-5, 275-pounds) who led the minors with 14 homers before being recalled could be just starting to develop into one of the Rockies’ longtime individual divisional foes.
No. 4 — After a rough April in which Rockies reliever Mike Dunn posted a 9.45 ERA in 6 ⅔ innings pitched, the southpaw has been straightening things out in May. Dunn allowed one walk in a scoreless ninth for his third straight scoreless appearance, and his overall WHIP is currently a more respectable 2.03.
No. 5 — Tuesday was the 22nd time in franchise history the Rockies have been one-hit, with the most recent occurrence coming in Miami on June 17, 2016, against Marlins right-hander Nick Wittgren.
Quotable — Lyles, on the pitch to Story that broke up the perfect game with five outs to go: “After we struck out CarGo (to start the 8th), that’s when it kind of got real for me. The crowd started to get loud, and then I made two good pitches to Trevor. The hit on a slider down and away was good pitch — I just saw a replay on TV — it was a good pitch and exactly where I would throw that pitch if I wanted it there again.”