Right-hander Pablo Lopez, looking to regain the form he showed in April and May, will start for the Miami Marlins on Wednesday evening in the middle game of a three-game series against the visiting Colorado Rockies.
Miami won the opener 9-8 on Tuesday as the Rockies made three errors that led to two unearned runs. The Marlins earned just their second victory in six games while Colorado saw its three-game winning streak end.
On Wednesday, Colorado will counter Lopez (4-3, 2.85 ERA) with right-hander Chad Kuhl (4-4, 3.69).
Lopez went 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in four April starts, then 1-2 with a 2.78 ERA in six May starts. In three June starts, he is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA.
One of Lopez’s issues was an injury to his right wrist that caused him to be pushed back in the rotation earlier this month. He returned on Friday and lost to the New York Mets, allowing eight hits, one walk and seven runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five.
On the plus side, Lopez said, “I didn’t think about the wrist one bit. That’s good, not having it on my mind. Just let me go out there and compete.”
Lopez is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in three starts against Colorado. He got a no-decision vs. the Rockies on May 30 after throwing six shutout innings in Denver.
In 40 career home starts, Lopez is 12-11 with a 2.96 ERA. In contrast, he is 10-13 with a 4.95 ERA in 35 road starts.
Kuhl, a 29-year-old former member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Marlins.
He is 19-15 with a 4.05 ERA in 56 home games (47 starts). He also has pitched on the road 56 times (49 starts), going 10-19 with a 4.63 ERA.
This season — his first with the Rockies — Kuhl was pitching well toward the end of May and the start of June, allowing just three runs in 16 2/3 innings.
However, in his two most recent starts, he allowed eight runs, seven earned, in 9 1/3 innings.
Kuhl will hope for offensive support from Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron, who is tied for fourth in the majors with 52 RBIs and is tied for 10th with 17 homers. Cron went 3-for-5 with three runs on Tuesday.
“He’s shown the ability to hit to all fields,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He’s got power. He’s doing his part. In some ways, he has carried us.”
Miami’s offense got a boost Tuesday when first baseman Jesus Aguilar and center fielder Jesus Sanchez returned from undisclosed injuries/illnesses. They missed four games each but performed well on Tuesday, with both going 2-for-4 with two runs. Sanchez hit a homer and drove in two runs.
The Rockies hope they get a bullpen boost from Tuesday’s announcement that Austin Gomber has been removed from the rotation.
Gomber (3-7, 6.43 ERA) could give Colorado some length among the relief corps. He has averaged more than five innings per start this year.
“He has been going hard since spring training,” Black said of Gomber. “This gives him a little breather. But he’ll bounce back at some point and get back into our rotation.
“We’ll see how this goes the next week, 10 days, two weeks.”
–Field Level Media