Austin Gomber will forever be known as the player who was traded for Nolan Arenado, but the lefty has done his best to establish his own identity with the Colorado Rockies.
Gomber made a career-high 23 starts in 2021, his first with Colorado, and he is trying to build on that in 2022. He will make his second start of the season when the Rockies host the Chicago Cubs in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday.
Colorado has won the last two games, including Saturday night’s 9-6 victory, and can take the series with a win Sunday afternoon.
Gomber (0-0, 5.79 ERA) allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings in his first start, a 6-4 win over Texas on Monday. He is making his third career start and eighth appearance against the Cubs and is 0-1 with a 6.08 ERA in those games.
He made one start against them last year, in Chicago, and took the loss after allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The Cubs will counter with Drew Smyly (1-0, 0.0) in his second start of the season. He made his debut with Chicago on Tuesday when he threw five scoreless innings at Pittsburgh.
Smyly is making his fourth career appearance — third start — against Colorado and is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA. He has made two starts in Denver where he is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA.
Pitching is always a big topic when it comes to pitching in the altitude, and the Rockies’ bullpen has been much maligned over the years. This season, however, the relievers are doing well. They are allowing traffic on the basepaths but they are working out of situations.
That was the case Friday night when Carlos Estevez struggled in the eighth inning. He gave up a double and a walk, then helped himself with a double play but followed that with two walks to load the bases.
Tyler Kinley bailed him out by getting the last out without allowing a run.
“When guys bend but don’t break, you usually get wins,” manager Bud Black said. “The consistency of performance is what we need for six months.”
The Cubs are far off from the team that won the World Series in 2016. Kris Bryant is with Colorado, Anthony Rizzo is playing for the New York Yankees and Kyle Schwarber is in Philadelphia.
The turnover has given other players a chance to come up, and after some early struggles Patrick Wisdom has found his stroke over the last two games. He had two hits Friday night despite not starting and had three more Saturday night when he was in the lineup from the start.
Wisdom did some extra work before Friday’s game and manager David Ross saw an immediate payoff.
“He was just missing some pitches and sometimes a reset helps,” Ross said. “He did a really nice job of getting out and doing some things well, and his early (batting practice) paid off. Sometimes a different perspective, just turning off your brain makes a difference.”
–Field Level Media