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Rockies hope for clear skies ahead as Braves come to town

Sportsnaut
May 28, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Colorado Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon (19) hits a single against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies have played three weather-induced doubleheaders in 12 days, so they wouldn’t mind some clear skies to welcome the World Series champions to Denver for a four-game series.

Colorado got prepped for Thursday’s opener against the Atlanta Braves with two games against the visiting Miami Marlins on Wednesday. Heavy rains on Tuesday night pushed that game to Wednesday afternoon as part of a doubleheader.

Brendan Rodgers hit three home runs in the second game, including a two-run shot in the bottom of the 10th, to salvage a split, 13-12. The Marlins won the first game 14-1.

With forecasts calling for more seasonable weather over the weekend, the Rockies should be able to play just one game per day. Thursday they will send left-hander Austin Gomber (2-5, 5.51 ERA) to the mound to face right-hander Ian Anderson (3-3, 4.34).

Gomber is coming off his worst outing of the season in a loss at Washington on Saturday, when he allowed eight runs on seven hits and walked three while lasting just 1 1/3 innings.

It can be considered an outlier for Gomber; he had pitched at least six innings in five of his previous six starts before getting shelled by the Nationals, a team he had done well against before last weekend. In three career appearances — one start –against Atlanta, he is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA.

Colorado hasn’t had much to celebrate lately. The Rockies went 2-5 on their most recent road trip but fought back to win two of the three games with the Marlins to open their seven-game homestand.

Rodgers extended his hitting streak to 19 games, which set a club record for a second baseman. And in other good news, Charlie Blackmon continues to dig out of an early hole.

A .298 career hitter, Blackmon is batting just .236. But in the past seven games, he is hitting .310 (9-for-29) with six runs driven in.

“I feel like I have hit some balls really hard recently, and I’ve been having competitive at-bats,” Blackmon said. “Everything feels good, and I’m in every at-bat.”

Atlanta is coming off a 6-0 win at Arizona on Wednesday to end a two-game skid. The Braves have gotten off to a tough start after winning it all last season and haven’t been above .500 since beginning the season 2-1.

The Braves can look back to 2021, when they entered June with a losing record.

Anderson, 24, can keep the momentum going for the Braves with a good start Thursday night. He has faced Colorado just once in his young career, lasting three innings in a 7-6 loss last September at Coors Field. He got a no-decision in that outing after giving up four runs on five hits — including two home runs — and four walks.

Atlanta’s win over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday was fueled by a 439-foot home run by Austin Riley, who has five homers over the past eight games. He credited work with assistant hitting coach Bobby Magallanes for his recent power surge.

“He noticed my posture when I was loading; I was turning my shoulders when I was trying to swing, and they were facing second base,” Riley said after Wednesday’s win. “We cleaned that up back to where I am more square to the plate. It’s allowed me to stay on more balls. Whether I get fooled a little bit, I am still able to put a decent swing on it.”

–Field Level Media