Rockies look to top Giants in series behind Marquez

DENVER — German Marquez, a 23-year-old right-hander who has been dominant in recent starts, will take the mound Tuesday for the Colorado Rockies against the San Francisco Giants.

After coming back to win 9-8 on Monday, the Rockies will be trying to clinch the three-game series behind Marquez, who will face the Giants for the first time this year.

Dereck Rodriguez, 26, who made his major league debut May 29 at Coors Field in a relief appearance, will make his first start there and first start against the Rockies.

Marquez is 11-9, 4.11, and Rodriguez is 6-2, 2.47. In three starts against the Giants, Marquez is 0-2, 8.79,

Marquez is coming off a no-decision Thursday at San Diego that included a career-high 13 strikeouts in eight innings, while allowing two hits, two runs and one walk before the Rockies lost 3-2 in 13 innings.

He has pitched at least seven innings in six of his past seven starts. During that stretch, Marquez is 3-1, 2.17 with 10 walks and 61 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. He allowed 31 hits, including just three home runs, while holding opposing hitters to a .177 average and a .514 OPS.

“I think pitch-to-pitch adjustments, that’s the biggest thing,” said Rockies catcher Tony Wolters, who has been behind the plate recently with Marquez. “He’ll like not feel good on one of them and he’ll know exactly what it is. He’s not going to have four, five, six pitches in a row where it’s, ‘What the heck is going on?’ He needs to stay with his routine, keep knowing his major keys — stay tall, his direction and tempo — knowing how to get out of the bad feelings and just (continue) executing.”

Marquez now throws a two-seam fastball with movement in addition to a four-seam fastball that touches 98 mph. He has improved his slider, which recently has been the pitch he has thrown best for strikes and has a dependable changeup in addition to a curveball that he has thrown effectively since his days in the minors.

“He feels confident with throwing all of his pitches in different counts,” Wolters said. “So, he can really mess with a lineup. The second go-around, the third go-around, he brings his changeup more. We’ll mix and match pitches with our game plans. We can mess with people, because he has all four pitches.”

The Giants are 9-5 in starts by Rodriguez, whose father is Hall of Fame catcher Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez. He has allowed 69 hits and just five home runs in 91 innings. In his last start Wednesday at Arizona, Rodriguez gave up three runs on five hits and four walks in five innings with three strikeouts and took the loss as the Giants fell 3-1. That start snapped a streak of nine straight starts in which Rodriguez allowed two or fewer runs.

He leads major league rookie pitchers with a 2.47 ERA and is tied for fourth among NL rookies with six wins and ranks second with an opponent’s batting average of .207.

“It’s a little different mindset,” Rodriguez said, harkening back to late May, when he joined the Giants here. “You’ve been around for three months already, so you kind of have an idea of what to expect.”

Rodriguez has been a godsend for the Giants, who have lost pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to injuries and were without ace Madison Bumragner until June.

Rodriguez began his career in the Minnesota organization and left the Twins to sign with the Giants as a minor league free agent last winter; hence what he has done for the Giants comes as a surprise, at least to those outside the organization.

“I guess so,” Rodriguez said. “I wasn’t on nobody’s radar. I was stuck in Double-A with the Twins. But that’s the good thing about this game is that every year’s different. Every day’s different.

“My mentality going into the offseason was just to weigh my options and see what happens, whatever team decides to pick me up and see what opportunity they want to give me. It worked out really well here.”