|10:10 AM PT11:10 AM MT12:10 PM CT1:10 PM ET13:10 ET17:10 GMT1:10 10:10 AM MST12:10 PM EST12:40 PM VEN21:10 UAE12:10 PM CT, March 31, 2019
Marlins Park, Miami, Florida Attendance: 7,559
Absent Murphy, Rockies seek series win vs. Marlins
Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins
- This will be the eighth consecutive season that the Colorado Rockies open the season on the road. The Rockies have won three of the last four openers, losing in 2018 at Arizona, 8-2, but winning the three years prior -- 2017 at Milwaukee, 7-5, 2016 at Arizona, 10-5 and 2015 at Milwaukee, 10-0.
- The Marlins have lost four consecutive season-opening games. The last time Miami won a season opener was 2014 at home against the Rockies. The Marlins won that game 10-1, and of the 18 starting players only two remain on their respective teams -- Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado with Colorado.
- Nolan Arenado homered off Patrick Corbin in the 2018 season opener, and over his last four Opening Days, Arenado is 9-for-16 (.563) with three home runs, eight RBI and seven runs scored.
- Don Mattingly was 5-0 in Opening Day games with the Dodgers from 2011-15, but is 0-3 in his first three tries with the Marlins.
- Kyle Freeland will be Colorado's seventh different Opening Day starting pitcher in the last nine seasons: Jon Gary 2017-18, Jorge De La Rosa 2014 and 2016, Kyle Kendrick 2015, Jhoulys Chacin 2013, Jeremy Guthrie 2012 and Ubaldo Jimenez 2011.
- On August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Jose Urena hit Ronald Acuna Jr. with the first pitch of the game and was ejected. From his next start to the end of the regular season, Urena was 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts. Opponents hit .176 against him during that stretch, and he allowed more than one run only once.
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- A's rout Mariners for ninth straight win
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- BoSox top Astros' Verlander, avoid sweep
- Odorizzi helps hot Twins sweep White Sox
The Colorado Rockies, who have won two of the first three games in their season-opening series against the host Miami Marlins, didn't enjoy a hot start last season.
Colorado sat four games under .500 last June 27, but the Rockies turned things around with a 17-6 July, broke even in August and made the playoffs for the second straight year with a strong September (19-9).
The Rockies looked good in their first two games this season before Miami broke out with 16 hits during a 7-3 win on Saturday.
On Saturday, the Rockies were without first baseman Daniel Murphy, for whom X-rays revealed a broken left index finger after he jammed it while making a diving fielding play on Friday.
Defense is a point of emphasis this season for the Rockies. Case in point was the homer-saving catch made on Friday by center fielder Ian Desmond, who jumped to grab a smash hit by Miami's Lewis Brinson.
"I got fish-tanked again," Brinson said in a reference to the deep dimensions of Marlins Park. "I thought I got (a homer), but Ian made a great play."
Rockies reliever DJ Johnson was trying to hold a 2-1 Colorado lead when Brinson hit his shot to right-center in the eighth inning. When Johnson saw Desmond make his catch, the pitcher clapped and pointed toward his teammate, who had fallen after colliding with the wall.
Later, in the dugout, Johnson gave Desmond a hug.
"A big thank you," Johnson said. "It was a big moment."
Moving Desmond -- who was the Washington Nationals' starting shortstop for seven years -- to center field was a big decision for Colorado.
Desmond first played center field on a regular basis in 2016, when he was acquired by the Texas Rangers. The Rockies acquired Desmond in 2017, when he mostly played left field, and he was used primarily at first base last year.
This season, Desmond, 33, is the oldest starting center fielder in the majors, and his availability convinced the Rockies to move 2017 batting champ Charlie Blackmon, 32, to right field. Blackmon had been Colorado's full-time center fielder the past four years, enjoying tremendous success.
But the Rockies feel that this configuration -- with the righty-hitting Desmond in center flanked by lefty swingers Blackmon and David Dahl -- gives them the best chance at success, and, so far, the plan is working.
Miami, which won the season series against Colorado 4-2 last year, is projected to finish in last place after earning just 63 victories in 2018. Last year, Miami went 10-18 in March/April and 10-18 in May. The rest of the season followed those same lines, with no winning months.
On Sunday, in the series finale, the Rockies will send right-hander Jon Gray to the mound against Marlins righty Sandy Alcantara.
Gray, 27, has double-figure wins in each of his three major league seasons. A former Oklahoma Sooners pitcher, Gray had made Colorado's Opening Day start in each of the past two seasons and is already second in franchise history with 12 double-figure strikeout games.
Still, he slumped to a career-worst 5.12 ERA last year, which is why he is now No. 3 in the Colorado rotation.
Gray's history against Miami is mixed -- 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts.
Alcantara, a 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, broke into the majors in 2017, pitching eight games, all in relief, for the St. Louis Cardinals with a 4.32 ERA.
Last season, he made his Marlins debut and was strictly a starter, sporting a 2-3 record and a 3.44 ERA in six games. He went 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three Marlins Park starts.
Alcantara, who has never faced Colorado, has a fastball that averaged 95.5 mph last season and can tick up to 100.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 31, 2019