DENVER — Facing the possible end of the season, the Colorado Rockies hope a return to Coors Field after some bizarre, extended travel can help ignite their offense Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
German Marquez (14-11, 3.77 ERA) will start against Brewers left-hander Wade Miley (5-2, 2.57). After an eight-game losing streak at Coors Field through June 18, the Rockies went 36-14 in their ballpark to finish with an overall home record of 47-34.
The Rockies lost the first two games of the NLDS at Miller Park — 3-2 in 10 innings and 4-0 — but if they can win Sunday, they will start left-hander Kyle Freeland, who has been their best starter this year, in Game 4.
“We’d like to think that because we’re back home, we have an off day, things can shift,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “And if we win tomorrow, things shift a little bit more. So that’s what we’re hoping for.”
After last playing at home on Sunday, the Rockies lost 5-2 on Monday in Los Angeles to the Dodgers in Game No. 163, won the wild-card game 2-1 in Chicago over the Cubs in 13 innings on Tuesday, and dropped the two games of the NLDS on Thursday and Friday in Milwaukee.
In the four games, the Rockies went 2-for-26 (.077) with runners in scoring position, including 1-for-12 (.083) in the two losses to the Brewers. Overall in the NLDS, the Rockies are hitting .154 (10-for-65) with nine singles, one triple and 22 strikeouts.
“There’s something to facing good pitching,” Black said. “There’s something to that. But in general, the quality of our at-bats have not been great.”
The Brewers’ vaunted bullpen has allowed two runs in 11 innings with 16 strikeouts, one walk and seven hits allowed in the first two games. And three of those hits and both runs came in the ninth inning of Game 1 off Jeremy Jeffress, who returned to pitch two scoreless innings in a 31-pitch outing and pick up the victory in Game 2.
“Our bullpen has been our backbone all year,” Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “And when you can learn on those guys when you get a lead going into the later innings, you feel really confident.”
Marquez started and lost Monday at Dodger Stadium, giving up five hits and four runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. But in his past 13 starts, Marquez is 6-3 with a 2.25 ERA, 17 walks and 118 strikeouts in 88 innings while limiting opponents to a .204 average and .580 OPS.
Marquez gave up a career-high 12 hits and five runs in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers on May 10 and had a no-decision against them on Aug. 3 at Miller Park when he gave up three hits and two runs in seven innings in the Rockies’ 5-3 loss. In four career starts against the Brewers, Marquez is 1-1 with a 5.01 ERA.
The Brewers are 12-4 in games started by Miley, who is 7-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) against the Rockies and 3-1 with a 4.76 ERA in four starts at Coors Field.
Miley, 31, has changed his style of pitching, relying much more on a cutter and altering the approach.
“It was different, for sure, because I always had more of like an attack mentality,” Miley said. “Here it is, hit it, throw as hard as you can. And now it’s kind of back off and try to (play) cat and mouse more, I guess you could say.
“It was a little bit of a transition, but in the end, you’re still going out there to compete. You’re still going out there to try to get three outs per inning. And that’s kind of my mindset.”