Cardinals’ Gonzales set to debut in familiar park
Marco Gonzales grew up rooting for the Colorado Rockies, even pitched at Coors Field a few times in his high school career.
Perhaps it’s only fitting the St. Louis Cardinals left-hander will make his major-league debut in familiar surroundings.
As the injuries continue to mount for both pitching staffs, Gonzales is set to oppose fellow first-time big leaguer Yohan Flande on Wednesday when the Cardinals look to take two of three from the Rockies.
"I couldn’t have written it any better than this," Gonzales told the MLB’s official website. "It came a lot faster than I thought it was going to come, but I believe that I’m ready and the organization believes in me."
Gonzales was promoted from Double-A Springfield out of necessity with Michael Wacha (right shoulder stress reaction) and Jaime Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) going on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.
Making matters worse, Shelby Miller was forced to leave in the third inning Tuesday due to back tightness in a 10-5 loss that ended the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.
Gonzales, 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA at Springfield, has a deceptive fastball and a wicked changeup — pitches that served him well at elevation when he was a kid in nearby Fort Collins and led Rocky Mountain High School to four straight state titles.
"A lot of guys come in here (to Colorado) not knowing what to expect," manager Mike Matheny said of the 2013 first-round pick. "But this is something he grew up with."
Gonzales, whose dad is a pitching coach in the Rockies’ minor-league system, is expected to have Yadier Molina back behind the plate after the All-Star catcher got a scheduled day off Tuesday. The battery mates will try to help get the Cardinals (42-36) back on track after they had compiled a 1.88 ERA while winning 11 of their previous 15.
Justin Morneau went 3 for 5 with a home run and six RBI — his most since 2009 — and Charlie Blackmon added three hits Tuesday as the Rockies ended a seven-game slide.
Morneau is hitting .413 over his last 12 games and Blackmon is batting .388 in his past 11, while Corey Dickerson is 12 for 21 with two homers and five RBI in his last five.
Colorado (35-42) hopes to continue that production to make things a little easier on Flande, who is expected to be called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs to make his major-league debut. Christian Bergman was originally scheduled to start before suffering a broken left hand when he was struck by a line drive Friday against Milwaukee.
The 28-year-old Flande will be the 12th pitcher to start a game for the Rockies — most in the big leagues. He struggled while at Colorado Springs, posting a 2-9 record with a 4.42 ERA in 14 appearances.
"I got to see him this spring," manager Walt Weiss said. "I got a small glimpse of him, really. He’s a left-handed pitcher who has shown the ability to get ground balls, and we’ll see what he has."
Flande might have to cool off former Colorado outfielder Matt Holliday at Coors, where he’s 12 for 22 with four doubles and six RBI in his last five games. Matt Adams, who has six hits in his last three games, is 11 for 27 with two homers and nine RBI in eight career meetings with the Rockies.