Behind Chi Chi Gonzalez, Rockies go for series win vs. Brewers

MLB

Coors Field has always been an enigma for the Colorado Rockies. The knock on the team is the offense doesn’t travel well, and this season hasn’t done anything to dispute that theory.

The good news for the Rockies is they are playing at home right now, and so far their seven-game homestand has been a good one. The Rockies have a chance to make it a great one as they carry a 5-1 record heading into Sunday’s series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Colorado will send right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-4, 5.76 ERA) to the hill against Milwaukee lefty Eric Lauer (1-3, 5.18) in the last of a four-game series.

The Rockies would be going for a sweep if they had held on to a ninth-inning lead Saturday night. The Brewers got a two-run homer from Willy Adames to pull out a 6-5 win.

Colorado has gotten some strong offense during its winning streak. Raimel Tapia has a 16-game hitting streak and the player hitting behind him, Yonathan Daza, has thrived while batting second in the lineup. He extended his hitting streak to eight games Saturday night.

“He’s taken that challenge of being a guy hitting at the top of the order, which for us, means getting on base,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Daza. “That’s the expectation and he’s run with it.”

Gonzalez will make his second career start against the Brewers. In his only other outing on Sept. 28, 2019, Gonzalez tossed six innings of one-run ball and got a no-decision in a 3-2 win for the Rockies.

Gonzalez has been used out of the bullpen and in the rotation this season, and he is making his third start in place of Jon Gray, who is on the injured list. He has pitched well at home, going 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA in seven games, three of them starts.

Lauer will try to build on Milwaukee’s comeback win Saturday night against a team he has yet to beat in seven career starts. Lauer is 0-4 with a 9.35 ERA in those outings, and the ERA is even worse when he pitches in Denver.

All four of his losses against the Rockies have come at Coors Field, where is ERA is 18.82 ERA in four starts. He has allowed 23 earned runs in just 11 innings pitched there.

If the Brewers have a chance of salvaging a split out of this series, they will need more from their offense, which is hitting a league-low .210. Milwaukee has had a little bit of bad luck, too. Several balls have been hit hard but right at the defense.

The Brewers had just four hits in Thursday’s game but have pounded out a total of 20 in the last two games.

“There are some things we just don’t control,” manager Craig Counsell said after Friday night’s 6-5, 10-inning loss. “It doesn’t help us moving forward, necessarily. It’s not a ‘skill’ we can improve on. We want to have good at-bats and you hope that with a bigger sample over time that it pays off for you.

“We’ve probably struck out on the high end, so that’s something we can improve on.”

–Field Level Media

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