Weather could impact Rockies’ home opener vs. Braves
DENVER — After the Colorado Rockies launched their season with a successful road trip, they’re scheduled to play their home opener Friday against the Atlanta Braves, but snow is forecast along with temperature in the 30s.
Both teams will be seeking a third consecutive victory.
German Marquez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will start for the Rockies in his first career appearance against the Braves. Atlanta will go with Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 3.38 ERA), a native of nearby Colorado Springs.
Colorado went 4-3 on a season-opening trip that began at Arizona and finished with three wins in four games in San Diego.
The Rockies and Padres were scoreless going into the ninth inning Thursday. Rookie Ryan McMahon drew a bases-loaded walk from closer Brad Hand, his third walk of the inning, and DJ LeMahieu singled home two runs with two outs.
Rockies closer Wade Davis gave up his first run with his new team when Manuel Margot homered in the ninth, but Davis posted his fourth save in as many appearances.
McMahon, who made his first Opening Day roster, entered the game on a double switch in the seventh. He grounded out on his first at-bat and was 0-for-9 with five strikeouts when he came up in the ninth with one out and the bases loaded against the left-handed Hand.
McMahon, a left-handed hitter, drew a four-pitch walk for his first RBI of the season and the second of his young career.
“Honestly, I was just looking for something over the plate,” McMahon said. “I wanted to be really aggressive and swing at something, just put it in play. He just didn’t put anything in the zone I was looking for, and the umpire called balls and I walked to first.”
Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon, a potential free agent after this season before he signed a six-year, $108 million contract Wednesday, had his fourth multi-hit game Thursday and is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with two doubles, four homers, six RBIs and a 1.234 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
Marquez allowed one unearned run in five innings in his 2018 debut Saturday at Arizona. He gave up four hits and four walks and had four strikeouts in his 89-pitch outing and received a no-decision in the Rockies’ 2-1 win.
Marquez is 7-3 with a 4.29 ERA in 16 career games, including 15 starts, at Coors Field.
The Braves are 4-2 and playing on the road for the first time after starting the season at home. They were off Thursday and will begin a challenging nine-game road trip against the Rockies that includes visits to the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs.
Winning the rubber games of their first two series against the Philadelphia Phillies and Nationals pushed the Braves two games above .500 for the first time since April 22, 2015, when they were 8-6.
The Rockies are 15-10 in home openers but have never played the Braves in one. Seven of Colorado’s past eight home openers and 13 of its past 15 have been against National League West opponents.
In McCarthy’s first start of the season, he held the Phillies to six hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings Saturday with three walks and five strikeouts in a 97-pitch outing. The Braves won 15-2.
McCarthy is 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) against the Rockies and 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in four games (three starts) at Coors Field, where he has yielded 23 hits, including four home runs, and seven walks in 17 innings with nine strikeouts.
The Braves have outscored their opponents 48-27. They entered Thursday leading the majors in runs and batting average (.297) and leading the National League in OPS (.857).
One of their key contributors has been left fielder Preston Tucker.
The Braves are expected to promote highly touted outfield prospect Ronald Acuna, possibly on this road trip, after having him start the season at Triple-A to delay his free agency by one year.
Meanwhile, Tucker has seized the opportunity to play. In six games, he is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with two homers, eight RBIs and a 1.264 OPS.
Tucker spent the entire 2017 season at Houston’s Triple-A Fresno affiliate, and after six seasons in the Astros’ organization, he was dealt to Atlanta on Dec. 20 for cash considerations.
“The guy has been great,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters. “He has done everything and more coming out of a big spring. You never know. Guys can sometimes come out of a hot spring like he had, and it’s a different story. But he keeps on keeping on.”