Newly aggressive Rockies pursue sweep of Padres

Field Level Media

May 15, 2024 at 11:25 am.

The team that won just eight of 36 games to start the season has suddenly ripped off six straight victories.

So what’s different about the Colorado Rockies, who will aim for a series sweep on Wednesday afternoon when they finish a three-game set against the host San Diego Padres?

According to Colorado manager Bud Black, it’s the realization that this team can’t sit back and wait for three-run homers.

“With our group, we’ve got to push it a little bit,” he said. “We’re having trouble scoring runs, so any opportunity in a game that calls for aggressiveness, we’re going to do it.”

Colorado has pushed the envelope and then some in 5-4 and 6-3 wins to open the current series. On Monday night, the Rockies had three stolen bases, and the first two led to runs. They went first to third repeatedly on Tuesday during a four-run sixth inning.

That sort of derring-do could be seen as long overdue. Colorado entered the week ranking 29th in the majors in taking extra bases on singles or doubles (for example: first to third on a single, first to home on a double).

Or the aggressiveness also could be seen as a product of a team finally getting good pitching that allows it to stay close or play from a lead, therefore enabling it to take chances and play more freely than it has been able to most of the year.

“I think we have a really, really talented team,” Colorado right fielder Jake Cave said after the Monday win. “These last five games show it. We’ve beaten some good teams.”

The Rockies will try to make it seven straight wins behind Austin Gomber (0-2, 3.43 ERA), who will look for his first win in nine starts this year. The left-hander lasted 6 2/3 innings Friday night in Colorado’s 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers, allowing five hits and two runs, one earned. He walked two and fanned five.

Gomber is 2-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 13 career games (nine starts) against the Padres. He gave up one run in five innings during a no-decision vs. them on April 22.

The Padres saw a streak of four straight series wins end on Tuesday, and now they must hope right-hander Michael King (3-3, 3.67 ERA) can replicate the form from his past two starts in order to avoid getting swept at home.

King dominated the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night, firing seven scoreless innings and fanning 11 in the Padres’ 2-1 win. King left with a 1-0 lead but didn’t get the victory as Los Angeles scored the tying run in the eighth.

“The big thing for me was I was throwing strikes with my off-speed,” King said. “You can easily flip the lineup if you have good fastball command. But the second and third time, it’s hard to do if you only have the fastball, so it’s an emphasis of throwing my off-speed for strikes.”

In his previous outing, King tossed six shutout innings in a 13-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 4.

King will look to avenge a 7-4 loss in Colorado on April 23 that saw him give up six runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings. In his only prior outing against the Rockies, he yielded two runs in a two-inning relief appearance for the New York Yankees on July 14, 2023.

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