Rockies seek to shake free from road woes in Houston

MLB

In search of something to get Jake Odorizzi back on track. Houston manager Dusty Baker informed the veteran right-hander that his batterymate would be different on Tuesday.

After pitching to the combination of catchers Jason Castro (10 times) and Garrett Stubbs (four) in his previous 14 starts this season, Odorizzi had Martin Maldonado as his backstop for the opener of a two-game interleague series against the Colorado Rockies. The results were favorable as Odorizzi twirled five innings of three-hit ball in the Astros’ 5-0 home victory.

“He seemed more relaxed and he was just throwing it,” Baker said of Odorizzi, who threw 49 of 81 pitches for strikes. “Sometimes a change of scenery is good for the moment.”

Odorizzi took responsibility for his recent struggles and opted not to read too much into the personnel change behind the plate. Odorizzi was 1-2 with an 8.82 ERA in his last four starts.

“It was good,” Odorizzi said. “I’m cool with whoever wants to catch me. I don’t want to say I do better with one guy because each game is unique. Maldy and I worked well. It’s all execution.

“Whoever the catcher is, it all falls on me to execute well. I like throwing to both of our catchers. Between (Castro) and Maldy you can’t go wrong.”

Left-hander Framber Valdez (7-3, 3.22 ERA) will start the finale of the two-game interleague series for the Astros Wednesday. He allowed four runs on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins in his previous start on Thursday. Since his return from the injured list on May 28, Valdez ranks tied for first in the American League in wins and innings (78 1/3) and is seventh in ERA. He has faced the Rockies once previously, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings in a 13-6 road win on Aug. 19, 2020.

Right-hander Antonio Senzatela (2-8, 4.73 ERA) will start for the Rockies on Wednesday. He was reinstated from the COVID-IL and made his first start since July 7, allowing four runs on seven hits and one walk with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. He is 0-5 with a 6.03 ERA on the road this season, and the Rockies are winless in his seven road starts.

Senzatela has made one career start against the Astros, tossing eight scoreless innings while allowing three hits with six strikeouts in the Rockies’ 2-1 road loss on Aug. 18, 2020.

The Rockies have continued their extreme struggles on the road, following a 5-1 homestand during which they slugged 17 home runs by mustering only five hits — four of them singles — in the opener against the Astros. Colorado suffered its 14th shutout loss this season, all on the road.

The Rockies had won 6 of 13 on the road since July 9, yet arrived in Houston with the largest differential between home and road winning percentage in major league history for a full season.

“It’s not something we strive for, obviously,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “On the road, we’ve been better lately, but we weren’t (Tuesday).”

–Field Level Media

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