ROCKIES (57-69) AT DIAMONDBACKS (64-63)
3:40 p.m. ET; YouTube
Colorado entered Tuesday night’s game against Arizona with the third-worst bullpen ERA in the majors.
Then it went from 5.21 to worse.
Arizona scored three runs off reliever Bryan Shaw in the sixth inning en route to an 8-7 victory Tuesday night, a day after scoring three runs in the eighth off Wade Davis in a 5-3 victory.
The teams wrap up their season series Wednesday afternoon in Phoenix, with 2019 bragging rights on the line. The Rockies won eight in a row this season against the Diamondbacks, who turned it around to win seven of the past eight meetings — including five in a row at Chase Field.
The Rockies have one fewer place to turn in the bullpen after losing recently installed closer Scott Oberg for the season due to a blood clot in his right arm. That means ex-closer Davis still figures to get high-leverage innings, as he did Monday.
“I’m not getting the ball up when I want to get it up, and then I’m not getting the pitches down when I need to. It’s a bad combination,” he told the Denver Post. “I’m trying to wrap my head around it and analyze some of the mistakes that I’ve made.”
Manager Bud Black said, “There is not much more to add. Any pitcher’s performance comes down to the question, ‘Are they truly making pitches?'”
Colorado will hope righty Jon Gray (11-8, 3.84 ERA) can make pitches and bypass much of the bullpen, as he did in a dominant performance against the Miami Marlins (+1.5) on Friday, when he gave up five hits in eight scoreless innings. Gray has 150 strikeouts in 150 innings.
Gray will be making his 11th career start against Arizona, coming in with a 3-4 record and 4.77 ERA. This season, he is 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA in three outings vs. the D-backs.
Right-hander Mike Leake (9-9, 4.64 ERA) will make his fourth start for the Diamondbacks, looking for his first win since coming over from the Seattle Mariners (+1.5) at the July 31 trade deadline. Leake has a 7.71 ERA in his three starts for Arizona, giving up 29 hits in 16 1/3 innings.
He is 2-2 with a 4.86 ERA in six career starts against the Rockies.
Arizona has won three consecutive games to get back over .500. The Diamondbacks trail the second wild-card spot in the National League by four games.
The D-backs might have to cobble together the back end of the bullpen on Wednesday, too. Closer Archie Bradley is due a day off after working on three consecutive days, four of five and five of the last seven. He saved the first two games of the series, despite allowing a run in each game.
Bradley was demoted from a set-up role earlier this season but pitched well enough to become the closer when Greg Holland was released earlier this month.
“He’s been on a great run,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Bradley, who has five saves this month. “Showed a lot of mental toughness. He’s been down on the mound a few times this year … I’m really proud of him.”
The D-backs have a new bullpen option available as right-hander Taylor Clarke — who started Saturday — has moved to the bullpen in anticipation that lefty Robbie Ray will be able to return from the disabled list (lower back spasms) on Sunday at Milwaukee.
–Field Level Media