Rockies road-warrior Marquez opens series at Mariners

It’s not uncommon for Colorado Rockies pitchers to have better statistics on the road than at mile-high Coors Field.

But right-hander German Marquez, who is scheduled to start his team’s series opener Friday night in Seattle, is taking it to the extreme.

Marquez (6-8, 5.14 ERA) is 4-3 with a 2.76 ERA on the road, which ranks fourth in the National League. Opponents are batting .194 against him on the road, with a .600 on-base plus slugging percentage.

At home? Marquez is 2-5 with a 7.93 ERA, a .345 batting average against and a .991 OPS.

In his last start, the 23-year-old Venezuelan pitched a career-high-tying eight innings in a 3-1 road victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed two hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine.

Marquez threw a 99.9 mph fastball in his final inning, the hardest by a starter in the eighth inning or later this season.

“I work hard between starts, and my goal is to maintain my stamina throughout the game, deep in games,” Marquez told MLB.com after that game.

Rockies manager Bud Black, a former major league pitcher, certainly seemed impressed with Marquez’s four-pitch mix, that includes the fastball, curve, slider and changeup.

“He’s capable because we’ve seen moments and innings and certain stretches of games where he’s pitched like that through three, four, five innings,” Black said. “But to do it eight innings on the road against a good team, it’s not surprising, but it’s a big step for a young pitcher.”

Marquez, who was born in San Felix, will likely get a chance to face King Felix as he takes on the Mariners for the first time.

Fellow Venezuelan Felix Hernandez (8-6, 5.11 ERA) has struggled this season, but has won his past two starts. He’s 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in one career start against the Rockies.

Hernandez allowed three first-inning runs against Kansas City in his last start while dealing with a stiff back, but followed that with four scoreless frames in a 6-4 Seattle victory.

Hernandez hurt his back lifting weights in Baltimore on the Mariners’ last road trip. He threw a short bullpen session Tuesday.

“I’m better,” Hernandez told MLB.com before playing catch in the outfield Thursday. “(Wednesday) was much better and I’m more loose today, so I’ll be fine.”

Said Mariners manager Scott Servais: “I think he’ll be OK. He’s getting treatment on it and trying to get it loosened up. I don’t think it’s anything structurally wrong, it’s just tight. We need him to go. Hopefully he’ll give us a good effort.”

The Mariners placed catcher Mike Zunino on the 10-day disabled list (bruised left ankle) Thursday and recalled David Freitas from Triple-A Tacoma.

Chris Herrmann, who has made six starts since being called up May 27, will likely get the bulk of the time behind the plate. Herrmann has mostly caught Mike Leake, but also caught Hernandez’s June 25 start in Baltimore.

Hermann homered Thursday in Seattle’s 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

“Thankfully with all the video and information we have here, it makes it a lot easier to get to know the pitchers a lot better,” Herrmann told MLB.com. “And I sit in here and talk with these guys and get an idea of how they want to get hitters out.”