Colorado Rockies rookie Christian Bergman has a tough assignment Sunday as he returns from the disabled list for his first start in two months in search of his first victory.
He’s tasked with slowing down red-hot sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna as well as the rest of a Miami Marlins club that has totaled 28 hits in the first two games of this series at Coors Field.
Bergman (0-2, 7.20 ERA) suffered a broken left thumb when he was hit above his glove by a line drive off the bat of Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez on June 20 in his last outing.
That was his third career start and saw him allow seven runs with three homers over three innings. Before that, the right-hander showed potential by posting a 3.75 ERA in two six-inning efforts.
Bergman made one rehab start at Double-A Tulsa and four at Triple-A Colorado Springs, and is eager to see what he can do in his return to the big leagues. He allowed three earned runs over 13 innings in his last two outings for the Sky Sox.
"My last two starts were pretty good down at Colorado Springs, and I swung the bat in my last game with no problems at all, and I had no problems catching the ball," Bergman told MLB’s official website. "My arm feels loose and efficient."
This will be his first look at Miami, which has come out swinging at Coors with a .311 average in this series. The Marlins (64-64) have just one homer among all of their hits, which may be surprising given the prodigious power usually supplied by Stanton and Ozuna.
Stanton leads the NL with 32 homers, and he’s 5 for 10 with two doubles and four RBI in this series.
Ozuna is also 5 for 10 in the series with a grand slam Friday although his streak of three straight games with a homer ended in Saturday’s 5-4, 13-inning defeat. He is second on the club with 19 homers and has gone 10 for 19 with eight RBI and eight runs scored in his last four games.
Colorado (51-77) has drilled four homers in this series, with two by Corey Dickerson. The red-hot Dickerson is batting .373 with 21 RBI in his last 16 games, going 5 for 11 with four RBI in the first two contests this weekend.
Dickerson starred Saturday by singling in the winning run after he hit a tying homer in the ninth inning into the third deck.
The Marlins could have pulled within three games of the NL’s second wild card.
"We put ourselves in a good position, had a chance to win a ballgame and it didn’t happen," manager Mike Redmond said. "We had it and we just couldn’t lock it up."
Nolan Arenado has gone 6 for 10 with three doubles over the last two nights while teammate Charlie Blackmon is 5 for 9 for the Rockies, who are batting .325 in this series.
Colorado will try to continue that success as it faces Miami left-hander Brad Hand (2-5, 4.52), who is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his last four starts entering his first against the Rockies. Hand pitched two innings of scoreless relief versus them in a 10-1 victory on opening day.